Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Short Guide to Copyright for Educators

Copyright and Creative Commons can be confusing topics. There are many variables that apply to every situation so it is hard to layout hard and fast rules that apply to every scenario. To help educators understand and navigate the landscape of Copyright and Creative Commons, I've put together a short list of helpful resources.

Dr. Wesley Fryer's presentation Copyright for Educators is the absolute best presentation I've seen on the topic. The Slideshare presentation is available with audio from his presentation. It's an hour long, but it is easy to listen to and you'll pick up tons of useful information.


For my Canadian friends the rules of copyright are different than they are for me in the United States. David Wees has a good presentation about Copyright for Canadian educators.

The Copyright Foundation offers a thirteen page guide (link opens PDF) to Copyright for Educators. Included in the guide is a glossary of important terms. At the end of the guide you will also find some lesson plans that are available on the Copyright Foundation's curriculum pages.

For helping students learn about Copyright Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright is a use resource produced by the Library of Congress. Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright is intended to help elementary school students understand the purposes and functions of copyright.

YouTube's Copyright School is a four minute video with a few multiple choice questions at the end. As The New York Times reported last year it's where Google sends their Copyright violators before they can have their accounts reinstated.

Disclosure: Common Craft videos can be viewed for free online but to download them or embed them you do have to be a subscriber to their service. In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that I have an in-kind relationship with Common Craft which means that I have received a subscription in exchange for advising Common Craft on some product offerings.

Dirty Jobs of the Middle Ages

The Worst Jobs in History is a series of three interactive learning experiences developed by Russel Tarr and hosted on his site Active History. In The Worst Jobs in History students learn about the dirtiest, most dangerous, and tiring jobs in three time periods. The time periods are Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern.

In each activity in The Worst Jobs in History students read short descriptions of jobs and rank them according to how dirty, dangerous, or tiring they think that they are. After ranking the jobs students can take a short online quiz about what they read about the jobs. There is also the option to download a worksheet to use with the activities.

Applications for Education
The Worst Jobs in History provides students with some history lessons that are fun and are not found in your typical history textbooks. The worksheets could be handy if you want to have a record of what your students did within each activity.

Two Easy Ways to Send Digital Greeting Cards

I started receiving holiday greeting cards in the mail this week. I'm sure that many of you have started to get them too. I remember when I was in Mrs. Turkington's third grade class we created and sent greeting cards to family members. Fast forward 25 years and creating and sending greeting cards is still a common elementary school project. (Mrs. Turkington doesn't do it anymore because she's retired in Florida and keeping up with me on Facebook). Today, students can create and send digital greeting cards to family and friends. Here are two ways that students can create and send digital greeting cards.

Animoto has video themes for every season. Their holiday themes include "wonderland of snow," "eight days of lights," "pop-up pandemonium," "gifting gifts," "spirit of December," and "wrapping scraps." To send a video greeting card through Animoto just select one of the themes, upload images or choose images from the Animoto gallery, select a soundtrack, title your project, and then let Animoto mix it into a beautiful video greeting. You can share your video greeting through email, Facebook, or by embedding it into a blog.

Its A Message is a neat site for sending digital greetings that I found on Google Maps Mania. Its A Message uses Google Maps Street View as its basis for generating location-based greeting cards. To send a greeting through Its A Message start by specifying any location. Its A Message will then take you to that location in a Street View display that has been enhanced for the holidays. For example, the imagery of Portland, Maine has been drawn with lights and snowflakes. After settling on a location click "share your message" to customize what appears on the screen and to send the greeting to friends.

The Old Man and the Sea - Animated

Open Culture has just published a list of seventeen classic stories that have been turned into animated videos that are now available on the web. A few of the items in the list I had seen before, these Shel Silverstein stories for example, but others were new to me. One of the animations that I particularly like is this animated telling of The Old Man and the Sea.

Applications for Education
These animated videos could be help some students gain a better understanding of the overall themes of some classic works. The videos could also be used as a model for students to create their own animated or claymation videos about stories that they're reading in your classroom. If you're interested in learning how to create claymation and stopmotion movies check out Kevin Hodgson's Making Stopmotion Movies website.

Video - What Did We Search for This Year?

This morning Google released their Zeitgeist 2012. The site allows us to explore the terms that were more frequently searched for in 2012. You can explore Zeitgeist 2012 by location, time, and term. The video featured on the site provides a good year-in-review of some of the biggest events of the year as well as some of the famous people that passed away this year. Watch the video below.

Applications for Education
Have your students watch the video and see how many of the items they can recall and explain. Then have them go to the Zeitgeist 2012 map and try to figure out why some terms were more popular in one part of the world compared with another.