Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thing 9

Probably the only reason why I have noticed the creative commons symbol on websites this year is because I took a class that Caroline taught at the beginning of this year, where she briefly explained what it was. If it were not for that class, I would have never noticed it. I don't think students would notice it, nor do I think they would care once they found out what it meant. I think the new CC rules would definitely effect students more if they were following the old rules. Plagiarism is a big deal, but it is not treated as such. Language Arts teachers teach a lesson on plagiarism every year. When we write papers in my math class, we discuss plagiarism and references. Still, every year we have students that plagiarize in some form or fashion. I have had students "borrow" paragraphs from five different papers and combine them to be their own paper. I have had students print out pictures and paragraphs from the internet and glue them to a poster board and turn it in for a project. I've even had a parent tell a student to glue those pictures and paragraphs to the poster. Students just don't seem to care and I feel it is because there are no consequences and they just don't understand the point.

Though all this complaining, I have come up with an assignment that I think might help students "get it" when it comes to plagiarism. Have students walk around the school with a purpose of taking pictures for a specific "fake" project. The fake project is to help them understand why we have copy write. Have all students take a specific number of pictures, but tell a trusted few students to only take one or two. For this to work, your "trusted students" can't be your high-achievers who always put forth 110%. The trusted students need to be students who you can tell to only take one or two pictures and won't tell the other students that you told them to do it. Download all of the pictures to the same folder and then tell the students to find the pictures to do their assignments. Most students will use their own, but then tell the students who only took one or two to use any pictures and as many as they want. When the projects are turned in, let the students display them, and lead a discussion about what is the same what's different. Ask "How many pictures did you take?" and "Is it fair to use the other students pictures?" To me this would open the door.

I do use digital images, videos, etc. from the web in my classroom. Eventually, I want to lean how to tap my lessons, or a short overview of the lesson, and post that on my wiki for students to view. That's about as far as I would feel comfortable sharing on the web. I'm fine with sharing academic material on the web, but not personal pictures and such. The materials I create I own and I won't care if other teachers edited what I had created. When it comes to personal pictures, I wouldn't want to share those and give people license to edit those. If I can't have the final say over what gets published, then I can't control how those pictures are changed. In fact, even with a copyright, I can't control what happens to that pictures. There will always be rules and laws and there will always be rule breakers and law breakers. Once something is out on the web, I don't think you can ever really delete it. You can't un-ring a bell.


  1. Great scenario for engaging students in a "fair use" discussion. I think it would be great, too if you had another class "steal" some of their pictures for a the same project. Do you mind if I share this around?

    Also, I LOVE the metaphor of the bell and that is SO true. Thanks to website caching, you can't easily delete anything once it's been on the web long.

  2. Excellent idea to discuss copyright. I REALLY love that lesson and would love to use it or some similar version of it.

  3. That would be a good lesson. I have problems getting my students to understand that cutting and pasting from articles on the internet does not a project make!! It happens every year that a parent will help their child cut and is frustrating to help them understand all that plagiarism encompasses.