Promoting Digital Citizenship

Copyright, the dreaded term that most say that they would never do such a thing, chances are, they already have. Copyright is an extensive and complicated law that deals with the protection of peoples creations, ideas, and theories, that span several types of media, including online. The online searching ability we have today makes it very easy to find anything we are looking for, an idea about a book plot, or one of the millions of pictures on google images. The mostly unknown fact is that many of the images or ideas are copyrighted.

The Four Tests for Fair Use are simple common sense like guidelines that are a tool to decide if you are not fair use of someone’s intellectual property. Although these rules apply to most people, teachers actually have some exemptions from the rules. None of these rules cancels a rule of copyright, but is more of an extension, so that teachers can use intellectual property for educational purposes. This includes poems, chapters from books, educational videos; but only to a certain extent. By no means does this mean that a teacher could make 500 copies of a 3 page poem, and give them to his/her students for the rest of their career.

In recent discussions of copyright the controversial issue is whether or not something is being infringed or used educationally. On one hand many think teachers should have free range, so as to further the amount of educational material used in the classroom. on the other hand many are concerned as to whether or not it is a good idea to freely use copyrighted material and not give a good example to their students. In my own opinion I feel that if both were combined it would be a better option. In no way do I think copyrighted material should be used freely, but more extensions on rules for teachers would be welcome. I also think it would be important to incorporate some part of copyright into a digital lesson, students would be able to learn the importance of not stealing images and make smart decisions about using information online.



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