Copycats Assemble!

…individuals should initiate digital citizenship education in their own sphere of influence…” – Yuhyun Park on

Confession Time

OK, I admit it. Issues like copyright, fair use and remix culture scare me. It is not that I believe that my online ponderings are going to be stolen, left right and centre. No, that kind of arrogance is really not a part of my DNA. Rather, the fear comes into play because I really do not want to abuse someone else’s craft. Their creativity and vision is theirs and theirs alone. I was brought up to believe that to take something digitally without permission is just as bad as taking something like a bike or a car. I also graduated from an educational system of meticulous citation of quotations, which indeed did often take me as long to complete as the actual bulk of the writing that it was based on.

No doubt that these factors come into play with where I find myself now. Nervy. A little unsure. In fact, I surprisingly had not even thought about the whole issue for a few posts at the start of Course 1, before a colleague that is towards the end of their own COETAIL course said something along the lines of…

“Oh! I remember this – one of my first posts. Ha, to think that I used to set out my pictures like THAT! No captions at all…”

Ah. When realisation dawned, I scurried away to my laptop and not only located images with Creative Commons licenses, but also with their links copied in in the form of a caption. Belt and braces. Watertight (see above). Yet, it is the remix culture which I need to learn more about. To become more confident with. Lawrence Lessig alludes (alongside a surprising take on things politically) to an enticing culture in the following video. A culture of taking work digitally and adding value to it, for to then to teach us more about ourselves. A culture surely to be a part of. As the quotation suggests at the top of my post, as educators we need pay attention to and use Fair Use, and also use our influence to teach others about it as well.

It’s That Time Of Year Again

No, not Christmas. That would be random. No, what I am referring to is that my Year 3 students have their class assembly on the horizon. In my school, our assemblies are often quite something. Sure, they showcase learning, as most assemblies do in schools. But, there is also a culture of putting on quite a show. Imagine well timed jokes continuously hitting the spot, musical numbers that should be in theatres and thought provoking imaginings that make even the most steadfast parent shed a few tears in the audience.

No pressure then. The temptation is to use music videos, downloaded from YouTube, wholesale. There is also a temptation to scour the Internet for the best images and take them without asking. All then uploaded to the Class Blog or Google Classroom afterwards, no questions asked.

Well, for this weary and wary educator, it is time to ask those questions while I create the resources for our latest hit show (!). For a robust starting point, and for my own peace of mind, I will start simple and build from there (see the starting points below). This should also provide clarity for the children in my class, those ‘digital newbies’. As I intend to add it all to a blog, this would be a sensible move.

  • We will produce our own media as much as possible, e.g. video, photographs, voice recordings, etc (definitely more fun this way anyway).
  • If absolutely necessary, we will pay for something that is not ours (it is highly unlikely that we will do this, but a conversation worth having with the students).
  • We will make use of images with Create Commons licenses or with permission given. This will require us to become ‘Search Ninjas’, in the words of Jeff Utecht. This is an incredible resource when considering intelligent searching:
  • Of course, permission will be asked for when using images or videos of children.
  • If reusing, we will make sure that we remix media owned by others, using amazing advice such as that on Langwitches.

As I investigate these ideas, and the last one in particular, it will be a joy to help my students to further explore participatory culture.

Participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from individual expression to community involvement – Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture.

This entry was posted in Blogging, COETAIL, Copyright, Course 2, Creative Commons, Fair Use, Online 9, Remix, Search Ninja and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Copycats Assemble!

  1. Hi Rory,

    Thanks for an insightful post! I too feel a similar angst you are talking about with using other peoples work. I feel that we were brought up in such a different era to our students, where media is available at the tip of their fingers. I didn’t have as much access to this, especially not in elementary school. I like the video you posted of Lessig. One of our fellow COETAILers posted this video – Laws that choke creativity –
    link to – this one I really enjoyed as it talks about the way our students look at media and how they can tell their own story, using pieces of material from the past. Another posted this video – Everything is a remix – link to – this one really helped me understand “Fair Use” which I believe is what I find myself using a lot in my blogs, but also with my students.
    I feel that I am really on the tip of the ice burg here with copyrighted media, but I am looking forward to learning more!

    • Rory Bell says:

      Hey Mistral,

      Thanks for the reply and the videos, and apologies for the delay in my reply – various reasons, too many to mention, limited my COETAILing…but I am delighted to now be back!

      Absolutely. Looking forward to learnjng alongside you. My assembly has now ‘aired’, all with Creative Commons license images or self-created pictures/videos. The children enjoyed having this as part of their project and they did excellently infront of their parents and peers. Yay!



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