Not so long ago, students’ creative work was mostly set down on paper, and sharing it meant taping it to the family refrigerator. Today, students use digital tools to create music and movies, photos, graphics, slide shows, video games, and more. They then share, re-share, and comment on it all via social media. They are both creators and publishers, to a much larger degree than prior generations.
In many ways, this is empowering. But it also means that kids need to understand the basic ground rules around creative work. For example, when is it okay to reuse or share some or all of someone else’s creative work – like if a student wants to use some music for a soundtrack or an image to illustrate a blog post or presentation? And how should students expect others to treat their own work? These are questions of copyright and fair use – which are now important elements of digital literacy and citizenship.
With that in mind, the folks over at Copyright and Creativity have crafted a series of lessons that cover what copyright means for students. Rather than just emphasizing what copyright prohibits, they aim to offer useful and positive information about what copyright allows and encourages, so that students can successfully navigate and rely on copyright in their own roles as creators.
For educators, there are in-class lesson plans for grades K-12, ready to go and available at C&C’s new website: Copyright and Creativity for Ethical Digital Citizens. There’s also a professional development course for educators, since teachers themselves often don’t have a full grasp of how copyright operates.
For students, meanwhile, there’s an additional series of independent learning videos that walk through many of the key concepts. These videos are intended to supplement and reinforce C&C’s in-class lessons but could serve as a freestanding introduction to the topic as well.
The good news is, it’s all available for free. If you’re looking to create or flesh out the copyright and fair use components of a program on digital citizenship, information literacy, or student creativity, these resources make it easy.
Retired from the Ventura County Office of Education as an Educational Technology Specialist, Dana Greenspan now serves as a consultant specializing in student data privacy, copyright and fair use, and education technology planning. She was instrumental in working with CETPA to bring a statewide data privacy registry, the CA Student Privacy Alliance, to all California schools. Currently, Dana is leading the CA roll-out of curriculum and professional development for CopyrightandCreativity.org.