For teachers, the Internet can be an incredible resource. You’re reading this, I’m assuming, because you want some kind of insight into teaching or educational technology. In addition to information, there are tons of images, videos, songs, and other materials that can add so much to student learning. Too many teachers, however, use these materials whose owners have not given permission for others to use or without citing the materials. We should be modeling good digital citizenship for our students so they know how to navigate the scary world wide web responsibly. We don’t want our students stealing digital content, do we? ISTE has outlined nine aspects of digital citizenship if you’d like to know more.
So let’s break this down. If you want to keep your classroom content interesting by adding outside sources, you’ll need to know about a few things. Let’s start with copyrights. Unless otherwise stated, things on the Internet are owned by their creators. You cannot use, manipulate, or copy them without permission from their owners.
Educators, though, have a little more wiggle room when it comes to copyright. Fair use allows educators to use videos or other materials for educational purposes. You should be careful because if you show a movie or song to your class that does relate to your curriculum, you are breaking the law. The image below, taken from Houston Community College, outlines the terms of fair use a little more clearly.
So what can we use?
Look for materials with the Creative Commons symbol!
Creative Commons is a company that offers free licenses for materials you create. The owners of materials with this symbol have given their permission for others to use them under certain guidelines. Some materials may not be altered without violating the law while others can be altered as long as you properly give credit to the creator.
It’s always a good idea (more like required) to attribute images and other materials to their original owners. Make it a habit!
As usual, there are other people out there much more knowledgeable than I. Go visit The EduBlogger for more information about this very important topic.