Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Ethics of Making Copies of "View Only" Google Docs

Last week I published a blog post about how to make copies of Google Documents that are shared as "view only." In that same post I included a video on how to find public Google Documents. That post raised a good question from a reader who asked about the ethics of making copies documents that are shared as "view only." I shared my thoughts on that question in the following short video.



For those who can't watch the video or don't want to, the short version is that I think it's fine to make a copy provided that you don't then try to pass-off the work or a derivative of it as your own. Of course, if the person who published the document has disabled the option to make a copy of the document then copying and pasting the text would be unethical too.

How to Use the Google Dictionary Chrome Extension

The Google Dictionary Chrome extension is a handy little tool that lets you highlight a word on any webpage to quickly find a definition and hear a pronunciation of that word. Google Dictionary isn't the only Chrome extension that has this capability, but it is the only one that Google itself offers. In the following video I demonstrate how easy it is to install and use the Google Dictionary Chrome extension.


Using this extension is different than simply highlighting a word and conducting a Google search in a new tab. The difference is that the extension puts the word's definition on the same page that it appears on. It's a slightly faster process that is less prone to students getting distracted by looking at a search results page in a separate tab.

Applications for Education
The Google Dictionary Chrome extension could be a good tool for students to use when they come across words that are unfamiliar to them. The option to hear the word read aloud can help students recall its meaning and pronunciation more quickly the next time that they see it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

ClassHook Adds Pause Prompts to Personal Clips

ClassHook is one of my favorite alternatives to searching on YouTube for educational videos. A few months ago ClassHook added a feature called Pause Prompts that enables you to add discussion questions to the videos that you find through their site. Then last month ClassHook added a new playlist feature called Personal Clips. As of today, those two features now work together.

Today, ClassHook announced that you can now add Pause Prompts to the videos that you have saved in your Personal Clips playlists. Users of the free ClassHook plan can add up to five Pause Prompts to each of the videos in their Personal Clips playlists. Users of the paid ClassHook plan can add as many Pause Prompts as they like.




For those who haven't tried ClassHook, it hosts and indexes video clips from popular movies and television shows to use to teach short lessons. ClassHook lets you search according to grade level, subject, clip length, standard, and decade of video production.

Three Lessons to Learn from the $9.2M Copyright Ruling Against Houston ISD

Thanks to an email from Jay Schwermer over the weekend I learned about a federal court's ruling against Houston ISD for violating the copyright of a small company called DynaStudy that sells study guides. You can read a good summary of the ruling including the $9.2 million in damages awarded to DynaStudy in this Houston Chronicle article. World IP Review also has a short overview of the case.

The short version of the case is that teachers in the district were photocopying and redistributing copyrighted study guides without permission of DynaStudy and continued to do so even after DynaStudy raised concerns to the school district. According to World IP Review's article, the district tried to make a Fair Use claim regarding use of four of the copyrighted works, but the court ruled against the claims.

Three Lessons to Learn from This Case
1. When you purchase a workbook, a study guide, a video, a webinar, or other creative work you are often purchasing a license for your personal use and not a license to redistribute that work to other people including colleagues. Read the fine print and check with the creator before redistributing a work.

2. Fair Use may not cover as much as you think it does. Simply saying, "I'm making copies for an educational purpose" isn't sufficient for a Fair Use claim. If that was the case we'd just purchase one copy of a textbook then run off photocopies of the pages we needed for our students. There are many factors to consider in determining if reproduction and redistribution of a copyrighted work qualifies for a Fair Use exemption. Stanford University has some excellent resources about Fair Use.

3. Teachers and students need more education about copyright. I shared the Houston Chronicle article on Facebook and Twitter yesterday afternoon. There were quite a few replies from teachers along the lines of "more training is needed about copyright" and "I see this too often in my school." One person even Tweeted me say that in 22 years in the profession no one had talked to her about copyright and copying materials.

An Introduction to Copyright for Teachers
While I am not an attorney, over the last ten years I have spent an inordinate amount of time dealing with websites (including school websites) that have committed various levels of copyright infringement of my work. My friend Dr. Beth Holland has spent a lot of time addressing this topic in school settings. That's why we hosted and recording a free webinar about copyright for teachers. You can view the recording of that webinar in its entirety on my YouTube channel or as embedded below.

Where to Find Public Domain Pictures and Video Clips

In my previous post I shared the news that Canva has acquired Pixabay and Pexels. Both of those sites are popular places to find pictures and video clips that are in the public domain. The libraries of both sites are now accessible through Canva but are also still available to use independently. In the following video I demonstrate how to use Pixabay and Pexels to find public domain pictures and videos clips.