Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Copyright and Creativity for Ethical Digital Citizens - free K-12 resources for teaching students about copyright and fair use

Copyright and Creativity for Ethical Digital Citizens, is a nonprofit project that has developed a suite of free K-12 resources for teaching students about copyright and fair use. 

The premise is that students today need to learn the basics of copyright as an element of digital citizenship. That's especially true in the current crisis, as teachers and students shift virtually all of their educational and social activity online. Whether they know it or not, they are doing things that raise copyright questions. For example, when is it OK to use some of someone else’s work in a project or presentation? How should they expect others to treat their own work online? This is an area of modern digital literacy in which both teachers and students often have significant gaps.

C&C offers a full suite of lesson plans, slides, and learning videos for teachers to use with students of all ages -- elementary, middle, and high school. They have an online professional development course for teachers to bolster their own knowledge. And recently posted a resource sheet on copyright issues that arise in distance learning. The aim is to provide positive, practical information about how to navigate copyright successfully, rather than a scolding message focused on anti-piracy.

-- These resources are all free. C&C is a nonprofit project under the Internet Education Foundation, so its goal is simply to promote education in this area by disseminating its materials widely.

-- The materials are intended to be easy for teachers to use on a plug-and-play basis. But they are licensed through Creative Commons so teachers are welcome to build them into their own lessons however they see fit.

-- C&C's materials take a positive approach, focusing on what copyright empowers and enables rather than just what it prohibits. That's important, because students won't be engaged with lessons that focus only on "thou shalt nots." What they need is guidance on how they can do the things they want to do -- access media, share their enthusiasm for media they love, and make their own creative work while sometimes incorporating the work of others. So C&C aims to provide positive and practical advice, focusing especially on kids' own roles as creators.

-- Of particular interest during this pandemic, C&C's resources are all readily usable for distance learning. We have also posted some tips and resources on copyright and distance learning.



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