Monday, January 4, 2010

Six Resources for Learning About Fair Use

Earlier today a group of us had a great dialogue about fair-use and copyright. The conversation got started when I posted the question, "is copying and pasting entire posts, formatting included, then just posting a link, fair use?" My belief was that it isn't fair use if the copied text was all that appeared without any commentary. I then added these two pictures (pic a, pic b) to clarify the type of situation I was referring to. Nothing was firmly resolved by the conversation, but it was clear that there are many interpretations of fair use. The conversation also reminded me that over the last couple of years I've watched and read some good information about Copyright, Creative Commons, and Fair Use. The following is gleaned from some of the posts I've shared on the topics of Copyright, Creative Commons, and Fair Use.

Probably the best presentation I've found on copyright and fair use is Copyright for Educators from Wesley Fryer. Of particular interest to me in this presentation is the discussion of fair use practices related to using images in digital presentations. After watching the presentation you should check out Wesley's handouts that go with this presentation.

Rodd Lucier has a very good presentation about Creative Commons called Creative Commons: What Every Educator Needs to Know. In addition to this presentation, Rodd has an excellent podcast series and blog called The Clever Sheep. I encourage you to check out all of Rodd's digital content.

The Classroom Copyright Chart created by and hosted on the California Student Media Festival's website. The Classroom Copyright Chart provides teachers with clear explanations of when it is and when it is not okay to reproduce and reuse copyrighted materials. The chart can be viewed online or downloaded for printing and distribution within a school.

The Media Education Lab at Temple University has created a number of great resources about fair use for teachers and students. Visit the Media Education Lab's website to see videos explaining fair use, lesson plans for media education, and to download a copy of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use. The presentation below gives a brief overview of the purpose of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use.

Another resource from the Temple Media Education Lab is this short music video about fair use.

During our Twitter exchanges this afternoon @jtheiser reminded me of the resources from the Center for Social Media at American University which includes some excellent video explanations of fair use. The video I've embedded below offers an explanation of fair use as it relates to creating remixes. In addition to the video embedded below the Center for Social Media offers documents about best practices for online video. Amongst the documents is this FAQ sheet. The Center for Social Media also offers video examples of best practices.

CNN Student News Overview of Last Two Weeks

Today, CNN Student News aired their first episode of 2010. The episode provides a quick overview the news stories that made headlines over the last two weeks. If you teach current events, today's episode could be useful for getting kids caught up on the news they might have missed during their holiday vacations. The episode is embedded below.

Acer and Intel K-12 School Library Makeover Contest

Acer and Intel are currently accepting nominations for a K-12 school library "makeover." The winning school will receive ten Acer Timeline laptops and two desktops. I'm not sure if twelve computers constitutes a full "makeover," but it's certainly better than no computers. To enter you must submit an essay describing what makes your school great and why your school should be chosen. You can also submit videos and images to supplement your entry. The entry deadline is January 17th. You can read all of the contest details and enter here.

In the interest of disclosure, while I do own an Acer Aspire One (it's great), I do not have any affiliation with Acer or Intel.

Ask Howard Zinn Your Questions

Last week I ran a post about the Zinn Education Project and teaching US History through A People's History of the United States. This morning through an email from the Zinn Education Project I learned of an opportunity for teachers and students to ask questions of Howard Zinn. Professor Zinn will answer selected questions on January 18 during a recording of the HarperCollins Author on Air show. Questions must be submitted by January 8th (this Friday). The recording will be posted on the Zinn Education Project website. You can learn more and submit your questions here.

WordCounter - Identify Frequently Used Words

WordCounter is a simple tool that writers can use to identify the words that they use most frequently in their text. To use WordCounter simply copy and paste text into Wordcounter then select how many words should appear in your "frequently used" list. To improve the utility of your "frequently used words" list you can tell Wordcounter to ignore small words (like it or the) and to use only root words.

Applications for Education
WordCounter could be useful for student writers who fall into the trap of starting all of their sentences or paragraphs with the same word stucture.

Google Docs has a similar function that you can read about here.

3 Ways, Other Than Skype, to Bring Experts Into Class

Bringing experts into your classroom via video conferencing can be an excellent enhancement to your students' learning experiences. Video conferencing can also be used to connect classrooms in a 21st century version of penpal exchanges. Skype is the most common tool for making these connections and for good reason Skype is the most popular video conferencing application. It's easy to use and free for most uses. The only drawback to Skype is that you and the person you want to talk with must have Skype installed on the computers you are using. The following are three other ways to video conference without using Skype. is one of the many excellent services created by the folks at allows users to set up a free webinar or video conference with just two clicks. Just like with there is no registration required to use the service and there is no software to install. To use simply create a drop and share the drop's unique url (and optional password) with whomever you would like to participate in the conference. When you're ready to start your conference click "start presentation." If you create the conference you are the administrator and have full access to show the other participants files, links, photos, and any other media you're using on your computer.

Wetoku is a free service for quickly conducting, recording, and sharing video interviews using your webcam. To conduct an interview just log-in to your account, click "start new interview," and send the invitation link to whomever you want to interview. Wetoku records the videos from both participants in the interview. When you embed the recording, the videos of both participants appear side by side (see a sample from RWW here).

Vokle is a free service for hosting and recording live web conferences. Using Vokle you can host a live conference in which participants can chat with text while you broadcast yourself. You can also broadcast a conversation of yourself and another person who has their webcam enabled. The text chat room can be used to organize a line-up of people who would like to broadcast themselves to the other chat participants.