Muddling through the blogosphere

December 28, 2017
by blogwalker

We should choose to teach copyright …

We should choose to teach copyright not because it is easy, but because it is hard, because the goal of understanding copyright will serve to measure the best of student energies, skills, and citizenship.” Tara Woodall

I somehow managed to miss Tara Woodall’s article The Right Stuff – Teaching Kids about Copyright when Common Sense posted it back in July. But thanks to a re-tweet from Common Sense, the article came my way in December. I have read it, bookmarked it, tweeted it, and days later, keep circling back to Tara’s quote.

Tweeting Tara Woodall's post

The challenge to teach copyright and fair use, even though “it’s not easy,” resonates with me on many levels. I started weaving copyright into my workshop agendas about 10 years ago, making sure to remind teachers of legal constraints when adding images found on the Internet to blogs, wikis, VoiceThreads, or whatever program I was teaching.

Initially, I shared Hall Davidson’s chart. Fair use was not part of my agenda. But I let go of Hall’s chart in 2011, after attending an amazing 3-hour  ISTE workshop facilitated by Renee Hobbs. Renee’s Copyright Clarity session provided me with a window into “how fair use supports digital learning.” I left the session with a commitment to develop workshops for my district and region on copyright and fair use and to embed the resources into a digital citizenship toolkit.

As a co-director of my district’s digital citizenship initiative, I’ve had the good fortune to team with Kathleen Watt. Ironically, as we were developing Can I Use That? A Guide to Creative Commons, schools and districts across the country were copying Kathleen’s digital citizenship graphic – without giving credit. Oh, yes, a teachable moment: Oh no they didn’t:

Although we continue to post and add resources to our digital citizenship blog, copyright has taken a bit of a back seat due to a continual abundance of cyberbullying issues and the current rise of fake news. Even Google’s newly released Be Internet Awesome program focuses on confronting fake news, protecting privacy, and combating bullying, and omits teaching students about their intellectual property rights and responsibilities.

Not since the March 2017 CUE Conference have I facilitated a workshop on copyright. I’ve had a lot of things on my plate (mainly the roll out of a new student information system!), but it’s time to start submitting proposals again. Tara Woodall’s post is a call to action and a reminder that, as rapidly as technology changes, digital ethics are timeless. An understanding of copyright “will serve to measure the best of student energies, skills, and citizenship.”


November 29, 2013
by blogwalker

GoldieBlox vs. Beatie Boys – A digital citizenship lesson in the making

If you (like me) believe that implementation of effective digital citizenship plans at school sites should include opportunities for students to put digital citizenship lessons into practice, then I bet you will share my interest in a recent lawsuit filed by the Beastie Boys against the California company GoldieBlox over the now viral Rube Goldberg style “Princess Machine” video.

I really like Eriq Gardner’s post Beastie Boys, ‘Girls’ Viral Video in Copyright Infringement Fight because he includes the four factors a judge would use in evaluating a case for fair use:

Is that “fair use”? To answer the question, a judge will be looking at the four factors of fair use: the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion taken and the effect of the use upon the potential market.”

I would love to hear from teachers who plan to share the article and case with their students as a shared read, or, better yet, as an invitation to discuss, debate and follow the case. To add to the messiness of the case, I recommend adding Sylvia Martinez’s post Need an Inspirational Video? How about one of kids making not selling? for raising some thought-provoking questions about the video.

As school sites in my district head into the second year of implementing  digital citizenship curriculum (to meet CIPA e-rate requirements and, more importantly, to ensure that students are “community ready” as well as “college and career ready”), many teachers have shared with me that while they are comfortable initiating conversations and lessons on cyberbullying, digital footprints, and online privacy, they do not feel prepared to move beyond teaching about plagiarism to addressing copyright and fair use. I think the GoldiBlox vs. Beastie Boys case may change their reluctance as they – and their students – follow the case and come to understand that fair use is an argument – on a case-by-case basis.

Thank you to the ever-inspiring Jim Bentley for tweeting me the link to the GoldBlox article. I bet Jim’s 5th grade filmmakers will also be following the case!


June 28, 2013
by blogwalker

ISTE 2013 Takeaways – Day 2

ISTE 2013 Day 2

Session 1

“Inquiry is the personal path of questioning, investigating, and reasoning that takes us from not knowing to knowing” Suzie Boss

Signposts to Better Projects: How to take thinking deeper in digital age PBLSuzie Boss and Mike Gwaltney’s session was one of the first entries on my conference planner as a “must see” session! Suzie has already posted the session slideshow (below).

And my takeaways:

1.Set stage for inquiry – Example: Prior to announcing a new project, place banners and posters outside and inside the school as “grabbers.”

2. Create a culture of collaboration – Example: Make the world safe for thinking – the marshmallow challenge (TED talk) – – will get you thinking about safe environments for learning.

3. Invite feedback – Example: Use class blog to create feedback loop. Consider joining a collaborative blogging community such as Quadblogging.

4. Think about thinking – provide some deliberate ways for kids to think about their thinking, to develop thinking routines. Think/Pair/Share, for example, is a quick way to collect thoughts, put them out, and get some response.   Use Google Docs to promote reflection, using targeted questions (how’s this assignment compare to another project). Have students create videos as formative assessment. For more ideas on helping students develop a “thinking routine,” check out Peter Pappas’ A Taxonomy of Reflection and Project Zero: Thinking Routines.

5. Think as experts do – How do you encourage thinking as experts do? Put kids in the role off experts. Show Thinking like a Historian chart. What are the ways that people think in your discipline. Kids need academic vocabulary of the discipline. “It’s relatively unnatural for a young person to be interested in the past – they haven’t lived long enough.” Use current events. Checkout George Mayo’s Transitions project. His students had to think like illustrators for project; therefore, George brought in a husband and wife team.

6. Watch for spirals (project creates more energy) – what’s the opportunity.  Is it worth taking project further.

Student filmmakers

Student filmmakers

Checkout Ghost Jacket from Lost & Found Films – a project that transitioned from cleaning up a mess at a school site to sending jackets to those who needed them.  And, of course, what better example of a spiral could Suzie use than Jim Bentley’s student film academy’s award-winning documentary (a continuing/spiraling project) on hazardous waste: Recharging Our World (very proud of my inspiring district colleague and his incredible students:-).

Mike Gwaltney's PBL rubric

Mike Gwaltney’s PBL rubric

7. Assessment: Think about assessment throughout the project, formative not just summative. Grading on process across categories vs. a single grade on final project/product …. Oh my, this is brilliant!!! Mike Gwaltney has created PBL skills “hit the bull’s eye” sort of a rubric – for formative and self assessment to “get students thinking about their own learning.”

And a few more books to add to my summer reading list, per Mike Gwaltney’s recommendations: Teaching with Your Mouth Shut (David Finkel) and Understanding by Design (by Grant Wiggins). If you have not already read Suzie’s Reinventing Project-Based Learning,  this is a great starting point for your PBL journey, as well as the Buck Foundation’s PBL website.


Session 2

Design Your Digital Tattoo – Helping Students Design Their Digital ImageAdina Sullivan pointed out what should be obvious to all of us who teach, model, and promote digital citizenship: the term “digital footprint” should be replaced with “digital tattoo.”  Having watched my son, a few years back, go through the process of tattoo removal, I can second Adina’s perspective that it’s a difficult process, requiring numerous (painful) sessions, and that the tattoo is never fully eliminated. Tattoos are a much more accurate symbol of our online personas than footprints – especially the footprints in the sand images.


  • Digital Tattoo – What’s Yours – Although I was familiar with this site, having posted several of their videos to the Digital ID Building Identities page, I hadn’t noticed the resources posted to the home page for tracking your “tattoo.” I really like having additional sites beyond Google:
    • Search yourself. Use to find out what comes up about you. Try spezify for a visual representation of your identity or (more importantly) how the internet sees you.
    • Consider your tattoo. Your Digital Dossier demonstrates how identity is formed online. Be Findable is an example of how your online identity can help you.”

Great job, Adina!

Session 3

Mashup and Remix: Reading, Writing, Research, and Reaching the World – I arrived late to this session (got side tracked walking through the display tables), so I missed Bill Bass’s part of the presentation.  With only a 1/2 hour remaining, I wondered how my NWP/NCTE colleague and friend Sandy Hayes could possibly make a case for fair use in that time limit.  She did! Here’s a link to the PDF with many of the links from the slideshow.  As soon as Sandy posts the link to the slideshow, I add it to this post.  Another great presentation from Sandy!

July 1, 2012
by blogwalker
1 Comment

ISTE 2012 – Day 3 Highlights

Personalization of Learning through Digital Content – Each year that I’ve attended ISTE, I check through the program for Cheryl Lemke, knowing that I’ll leave her session with research that will inform my practice and guide me through the next school year. The session write up from her Metiri group stated that she would ” present a framework for understanding the types of digital content pertinent to schools, approaches to lesson design that leverage digital content; how to curate digital collections for and with students; and policy and digital learning environment considerations. ” She delivered.

The good news is that Cheryl’s session was pre-selected as a an “Executive Summary,”  meaning it was recorded and will soon be available on the ISTE website “Cliff Notes style…turning the content from the session into concise, documented, actionable insights” ($.99 for 1; $9.99 for all 15). Cheryl also said she would post the PowerPoint, a great resource for starting district, school, and grade-level discussions on the meaningful integration  of technology. “Technology needs to be ubiquitous and necessary.”

Throughout the presentation she shared examples of sites for differentiating and personalizing learning. Here are a few that were new to me:

    • The W.A.Y Program – Out of the U.K., Student Centric – kids build multi-media products
    • DreamBox Learning – Adaptive learning – Math for primary grades – gathers data on kids and suggests a range
    • OER Commons – Open educational resources = democratization – lays on top of copyright, allowing others to remix and repurpose. Rich collection of lessons with an open invitation to download and use.
    • Gooru Learning – In Beta phase, site is a partnership between Google engineering and the Packard Foundation. Gooru is suggesting that kids become the curators. 
    • Ubiquitous Games – From MIT  – check out Breeders (protein synthesis), Invasion of the Beasties (evolution),  Island Hoppers (food webs), and Chomp! (complex food webs).
I’ll update this post when Cheryl’s presentation resources are available online.

Copyrights? Teaching Fair Use Reasoning to the Remix Generation – I had the pleasure of joining Kristin Hokanson, Ginger Lewman, Sandy Hayes, and Lisa Parisi as part of this panel discussion.

My interest in “strengthening my fair use muscles” started several ISTE Conventions ago, when I traveled to Philadelphia for the all-day Sunday session with Kristin and Renee Hobbs.  I blogged that session, stating that if it were the only session I could attend, I already had my money’s worth.

A year later, I traveled back to Philadelphia to participate in another all day workshop with Renee and Kristin. Having made the switch from the “10% of this; 30 seconds of that” approach to teaching copyright and fair use, I now wanted the background to turn around and help teachers and students in my district make the mind shift to fair use as a case-by-case argument – and a critical component of digital literacy and citizenship.

In the past school year, as I worked on updating my district’s 3-year Technology Plan, I wove Copyright Clarity: How Fair Use Support Digital Learning (Renee’s book) into the plan narration and bibliography. I have also included the book as well as Kristin’s link to Fair Use Reasoning Tools on the Digital ID project.

What a treat to be a part of the ISTE’s Copyrights? Teaching Fair Use Reasoning to the Remix Generation panel! As the hour ended, I left with a renewed commitment to continue teaching this “messy” topic back home in my region and district.

ISTEUnplugged – Digital ID Project

ISTE Unplugged – Digital ID Project – In a couple of weeks, I’ll be joining my project co-curator Natalie Bernasconi on a trip to Redmond, WA, where we will compete in Mirocosoft’s Partners in Learning 2012 US Forum.  We’ll be joining 100 other educators from across the US for what I already know will be an extraordinary experience. As part of the event, Natalie and I will be pitching our Digital ID project to a team of judges – in hopes of taking the project one step and location further: the November International Forum in Athens, Greece.

Given the above, when our NWP friend and mentor Paul Oh suggested we sign up to do an Unplugged session, we decided a 15-minute pitch + 5 minutes of Q&A might be an excellent practice run. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Steve Hargadon, pretty much all we had to do was show up. Steve had a screen, projector, microphone, and wireless already set up for the ISTE Unplugged sessions. Now all we have to figure out is how to condense our pitch into 5 minutes for our US Forum pitch;-)

Google in Education – I entered the Exhibition Hall and wondered into the Google booth in time to hear Elizabeth Calhoun’s presentation on Digital Literacy and Citizenship… just as she was referencing the Digital ID project as a great starting point for teachers looking for resources, strategies, and tools for rolling out digital citizenship programs at their school sites.  Now this was definitely an ISTE highlight for me and my Digital ID co-curator, Natalie Bernasconi:-) 🙂 :-).

Implementing Digital Citizenship: Lessons Learned from the First Year – Common Sense Media’s session, facilitated by Kelly Mendoza, was a great opportunity to hear stories from the trenches from elementary teacher Audrey Stokes and a middle school teacher Jeff Brain.  Like everyone in the crowd, I too was there to let Common Sense Media know how much educators appreciate the phenomenal free content posted to their website – with more on its way, such as the soon-to-be-launched Digital Passport Program (for grades 3-5).

Sadly, in order to catch my flight home, I had to leave before hearing the DeforestACTION closing keynote, so I’m hoping others have blogged the session.

Start to finish, ISTE 2012 was a fabulous experience (and only a direct, non-stop flight away;-).




June 29, 2012
by blogwalker

ISTE 2012 – Day 1 Highlights

My four-day excursion to San Diego for the ISTE 2012 Conference has been jam-packed with awesome sessions, great conversations, and  fun!  Here are some highlights from Monday:

Ignite sessions– “5 minutes and 20 images to tell your story, share your tool, and inspire an audience of your peers!” Such an energizer and a great model to take back to students, teachers, and administrators! The slideshow, unfortunately, does not include the speaker notes, so I’ve included a short description of each:

  • Chris Walsh –  Fast Five for Infinite Thinkers – Loved his 2-minute rule: “If you can find it online in two minutes or less don’t TEST on it!”
  • Mary Ann Domanska –  Publishing Kids’ Creative Podcast Stories Online Using Haiku – Primary grade teachers, you will love this one – a celebration of young writers honing their craft via technology.
  • Traci House – In Record Time: Disruptive Innovation to Say the Least – The August tornadoes that devastated Joplin, MO, could not stop Traci’s determination to open school on time, tapping into local and international aid and fast-forwarding into 21st century learning – textbook free.
  • Rushton Hurley – How Digital Video Changed One Teacher’s Life – Rushton is a master at combining humor and content – and in 5-minutes inspiring the crowds to consider the power of movie making to empower students and teachers.
  • David Jakes – What If? Five minutes was not enough for David Jakes’ message.  I recommend watching his 2011 K12 Online Conference presentation if you are striving to create culture to support change.
  • Vince Leung – The Evolution of Learning: Past, Present, Future – A compelling argument to bring real world examples (e.g., sports and video games) into the classroom – because those are the areas that students are willing to fail – and then continue on until they succeed.
  • Lisa Parisi – Jump Off the Testing Train – “Testing is not teaching.”
  • Justin Reich – Will Free Benefit the Rich? Fighting for Technology Equity – A call to provide ALL students with the same opportunities for challenging and meaningful use of technology within the school day.
  • Will Richardson – 19 Bold Ideas for Change – I’ve heard Will Richardson speak before, but not with this much passion. The 19 bold ideas for change are listed on the slideshow (you’ll have to scroll through), kind of like very compelling thoughts for the day. For example, Idea #11: “Repeat after me …’I want to be found by strangers on the Internet.'”
  • Alfred Solis – What is 1,000,000? – A High Tech High teacher… who has had Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey show up in his classroom to acknowledge his roll out of project-based learning.
  • Selena Ward – Igniting Creativity with Movie Making – “Movie making with kids is not about creating Hollywood films.”

Using Music and Images Ethically in Multimedia WritingNCTE’s Sandy Hayes provided wonderful historical context, resources, and tips for helping students learn to “flex their fair use muscles.”  Sandy’s one-page, double-sided handout lists her resources and includes the chart she uses with her 8th graders to help them development their analytical thinking skills.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills Birds of a Feather Session – I went to this session with a small but burning question: Has P21 considered adding a 5th C to their current list (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity): citizenship……the answer was “yes.” Whoohoo! (Digital) Citizenship will soon be the 5th C…so be on the lookout for a revised P21 poster🙂

Will post highlights from Tuesday and Thursday sessions later today:-)

June 27, 2011
by blogwalker

ISTE Day 2: Sandy Hayes – Using Images and Music Ethically in Multimedia Writing

I’m  joining my NWP/NCTE colleague Sandy Hayes to explore more resources for teaching about copyright. Sandy’s starting with the  Simpson’s Intellectual Personality quiz, followed by Fair Use and Cultural Development – a beautiful look at evolution of art icons.

“Fair Use is not a formula. It’s a matter of interpretation. And you can talk about “fair” and “more fair.”

Sandy’s approach to this messy topic is very user-friendly and a wonderful complement to Renee Hobbs’ Copyright Clarity session. Sandy has already posted her PowerPoint and her handout on the ISTE Workshop Description page. Besides a great collection of teaching resources, her handout also includes a template for an analytical storyboard for a book trailer of PSA.

Super job,  Sandy!

June 28, 2009
by blogwalker

Live from NECC – Best Practices in Fair Use for 21st Century Educators

I’m in my first workshop for NECC 2009 – Renee HobbsFair Use for Educators session. With copyright being such a huge and complex issue, I’m hoping to get a better handle on all those sticky issues teachers deal with increasingly as they led their students onto online learning and producing of content.

Joining Renee Hobbs are Joyce Valenza, who just shared the wiki for this event –; Mike RobbGrieco, and Kristen Hokanson. There’s even a link to the session handout!

Renee has kicked off the session by assuring us that by end of the three hours all our questions on copyright will be answered:-)

She’s starting by walking us through her slide presentation, which I’m annotating below:

  • What is media literacy? “It’s the sharing of meaning through symbolic forms.”
  • Question: What’s the purpose of copyright? Partner activity
    • owner’s rights
    • ability to make a profit
    • other?
  • Purpose of copyright is to promote creativity, innovation and spread of knowledge – Article 1, Section 8 US Constitution. So where did our misunderstandings come from?
  • Section 110 copyright law – allows teachers to share entire video despite “for home use only” statement. Section 107 1976 – “The right to use copyrighted materials freely without payment or permission for purposes such as ‘criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.”
  • How Teachers Cope:
    • see no evil
    • close the door
    • hyper-comply
  • How does fair use apply to using popular and mass media? We’re watching the Center for Social Media video – -overview – which I watched for the first time last fall – and realized I could no longer use Hall Davidson’ niffy two-page chart. It’s all about “Transformativeness” = adding new meaning and value to an original works.
  • Myth buster: There are no cases of educators being sued for using copyrighted materials for teaching and learning who have actually sued. “Reasonable standard” of fair use – exempts educators liability if you made a reasonable attempt to comply with copyright as pertains to educational purposes.
  • Fair use reasoning in action: “When a user of copyrighted materials adds value to, or re-purposes materials for a use different from that for which it was originally intended, it will likely be considered transformative use; it will also likely be considered fair use” – Joyce Valenza. This is huge piece of the fair use puzzle!

Remix in Eduction – Mike RobbGrieco – also with Renee at Temple University – “Our students are fully immersed in remix culture. Remix is a way to make sense of our culture – but also well-suited for commentary, critique, and democratic exchange.”

  • Questions to ask: (and the video is incorporated into lesson – p 17 of handout).
    • benefit to society vs. cost to copyright older
    • transformativeness (is purpose transformed: is context transformed?
    • What is the effect on potential markets?
    • What is the amount of source text used

Back to Renee – How do you grab clips from DVDs – which are encrypted with the purpose of preventing copying? Renee went to Library of Congress Copyright Office regarding ability to de-encript DVD clips. She’ll know in October if her request will become a reality. And she emphasizes that “If we don’t claim our right, they’ll erode into ‘pay for click.'”

Kristen Hokanson – Oh, my… Watch Kristen’s video on her Upper Merrian Case Study. She’s also created a PDF worksheet to guide teachers. Check out her hands-on Scenarios! We broke into groups to work with the cards, which generated very focused conversations. Great stuff!!

This workshop is the only fee-based one I’ve signed up for. It was worth every penny! I actually feel that I have a handle on fair use for educators – and am looking forward to taking this training and resources back to my district.

January 17, 2009
by blogwalker
1 Comment

Transformativeness – I Get It!

Professor Peter Jaszi, from the Center for Social Media, was one of the speakers on Wednesday evening’s very informative and engaging Teachers Teaching Teachers Skypecast. I’ve printed out a copy of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education, which Jaszi helped produce. It’s actually an easy read – and only 17 pages long, so not too intimidating.  I really like the premise that “educators need to be leaders, not followers, in establishing best practices in fair use” and that we should be exploring the issues with our students.

I’m looking with particular interest at page 13 of the Code: Developing Audiences for Student Work and its use of the term “transformativenss”:

“If student work that incorporates, modifies, and re-presents existing media content meets the transformativeness standard, it can be distributed to wide audiences under the doctrine of fair use.”

Between Jaszi’s Skypcast and reading through the Code, I had a vague idea of what transformativeness might look like, but somewhere on the Center for Social Media site, I found a link to a YouTube video that absolutely made transformativeness visible. Note: Not appropriate for younger audiences

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