Handy Resources for Teaching Copyright and Fair Use

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An important part of responsible digital citizenship, according to ISTE Standards for Students, is the respect for "the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property". Students need to learn that accessibility of information online does not necessarily make it copyright free. Unfortunately, I myself have learned this the hard way. I believe, the best and safest way to deal with the issue of copyrights online is to always seek permission from content owners.  

Becoming a digital citizen entails a nuanced understanding of the intricacies surrounding the concepts of copyright, fair use, and creative commons. To help students develop such an understanding, Copyright and Creativity -a site I discovered through AASL- offers this excellent collection of educational resources ready for use in classrooms. "These materials aim to provide accessible and practical information about copyright – its protections, its limitations, and its role in encouraging creativity. Rather than just emphasizing what copyright prohibits, the goal here is to offer useful and positive information about what copyright allows and how students can successfully navigate and rely on copyright in their own roles as creators." One caveat here is that these resources pertain to the United States rules of copyright.

Resources offered by Copyright and Creativity include an elementary curriculum that offers lessons illustrated with short animations covering topics such as fair use, public domain, digital sharing ethics, and more; a middle school curriculum with lessons focusing on topics such as how to create new content using others' work, how to differentiate between legal and ethical sharing and one that infringes copyright law, and more; a high school curriculum containing materials designed to "help you teach essential digital citizenship concepts of copyright and creativity and to get students thinking and talking about how these concepts relate to their own online activities." 

Check out the resources on Copyright and Creativity and share with your colleagues.