Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Does adhering to copyright increase student creativity?

I was happy to help out a colleague last week when she asked if I would appear as a guest on a webinar hosted by Michigan State students in the Master's of Arts in Educational Technology program. The topic was "Copyright in Education." Copyright is a topic which constantly needs to be addressed and readdressed both as the digital world changes the implication of copyright and as educators continue to be made aware of their need to adhere to copyright laws. Participating in this webinar ended up being a great opportunity to learn about new resources for teaching about copyright and a thought-provoking conversation about how copyright influences student creativity.

I was joined on the webinar by Jeremy Whiting and Kate McCallum, two awesome journalism and media teachers that really knew their stuff and have daily experiences of working with students to more deeply understand copyright. I loved the ideas they raised about making sure your administrative team understands copyright and how you may even need to educate parents about copyright laws. I admire their ability to stand up to parent pressure over senior videos (but it's always been done like this!) and to administrators that might not understand your expectations for students (but no other teachers require students to do this!).

By Denise Krebs:
Hopefully I had a few good bits to add about educating students about copyright (LOVE Common Sense Media lesson plans on this topic) and resources for copyright free images (Morgue File, Pics4Learning, Creative Commons). I strongly recommended sending students to the advanced search section of Google Images and showing them how to search for images that can be shared, modified and even used commercially.

The turn of the conversation that I thought was most interesting was the idea that getting students to comply with copyright laws actually introduces more creativity into the classroom. We all had experiences where students chose to compose their own music, draw their own pictures or use their own photography instead of searching for copyright free images. I love this idea that the limits of copyright actually increase critical thinking and innovation, especially since that is part of the whole reasoning behind copyright law in the first place, to foster creativity!

If you'd like to view the webinar yourself, below is a YouTube video of the conversation. There is also a TitanPad that would let you follow the conversation. Probably the most helpful thing for most teachers, would be this Google Doc that contains a number of helpful resources about copyright, copyright myths and good resources for copyright-free materials.

I'd love to hear more ideas about how you help your students and teachers understand copyright laws and what impact you feel like it has on learning in your classroom. Leave a comment below!

1 comment:

  1. Were the works that the students ended up creating visibly or audibly similar to a copyrighted work?

    I'm skeptical of there being more than the barest hint of originality without being able to build on the works of the past.