As I was reading back-to-back texts, I found two very different topics with similar underlying messages being discussed in each book. Born Digital was more focused on piracy while Grown Up Digital was dealing with the “N-Fluence” and its impact on Net-Gen consumers. When I was reading Born Digital, I couldn’t help brainstorming ways to get a better handle on internet piracy issues. I thought the authors were going to present some dreamlike idea which would solve present-day and futuristic concerns. John Palfrey and Urs Gasser repeatedly mention, “There may be a need for radical changes to the copyright law in response to changes in media forms, but simply piling on more protections to the age-old framework, which is ill-fitting to the digital era, is not the answer” (Palfrey & Gasser, 2010). My “ah-ha” moment finally came when they said, “This also means that all of us Digital Immigrants, parents and teachers alike, will need to familiarize ourselves with copyright issues” (Palfrey & Gasser, 2010). Unfortunately, it appears as though this idea is not at the forefront of current education, at least from my perspective. Even as the digital age is in full-swing, most students, teacher, parents, and consumers appear to know only the minimum when it comes to copyright laws.
While reading the text on piracy, I immediately thought about a particular situation that happened to a teacher at my school this year. Our school has 1,500 middle school students and well over 100 faculty, staff and administration. If you teach or have taught in a large school, you probably know it might be easy to get away with unethical actions because you are one of many in the school. With that being said, a hardworking teacher in my building created many classroom resources and activities from scratch to enrich the curriculum. This teacher worked countless hours inside and out of school dedicated to elevating the educational experience in which she delivered. As a courtesy, she posted every assignment online for easy student access. Midway through the year, this teacher noticed other students in the building, whom were not her students, using the very same worksheets she had created. When investigated further, it turned out another teacher (we’ll name Tammy), was pirating each and every assignment from her website. Not only was “Tammy” distributing these educational documents to all of her students, she too was posting them on her class website. Well, turns out the victim was actually me. Would you consider “Tammy’s” actions unethical? Did “Tammy” simply really like what I was doing in the classroom and want to use my ideas? Should “Tammy” have asked first? What are your thoughts? How would you have handled this situation if you were the victim of a piracy act?
The lesson I chose to share by Jenn Tordel entitled Copyright could work for any age group but would be most meaningful for younger students. I found this lesson on the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security website which hosts many lessons on internet security. The lesson I picked is linked to the very issue I dealt with this past school year. It teaches students, through personal experience and role-playing, about copyright and personal individuality. The lesson starts by introducing copyright laws to students based on historical facts and evolution. Then it leads students into an engaging activity which allows them to get creative. Students are instructed to draw a colorful picture of any sort based on the teacher’s instructions. Students cannot identify their picture in any way or put their name on it. The teacher then collects all art pieces and randomly passes them out to the students. Holding a classmate’s piece of art, the students share it with the class by discussing the piece and telling how and why they made it. Afterward, students are given time to reflect on how they personally felt when somebody took ownership of their artwork and changed the meaning of how and why it was intended to be created. The lesson goes on to discuss copyright further by brainstorming strategies of why laws are important, and when, how and why they could be used by students.
Experiencing an instance in which you have been personally affected by a copyright violation can be a powerful lesson. One of my favorite lines from Grown up Digital in chapter seven was Don Tapscott’s mentioning “With the Net Gen, hearts, not eyeballs, count” (Tapscott, 2008). This message is suitable for the lesson I chose to share. Tapscott also notes in his discussion, “The strongest norm is integrity” (Tapscott, 2008). I think this Net Gen norm is a characteristic many people seek in individuals, friends, and family. Honesty and trustworthiness goes a long way. In the end, the underlying message that resonated with me was the importance of finding the right balance between enabling and constraining our student’s digital use in order to promote productive digital citizens.
CERIAS, Purdue Unversity. (2014). CERIAS – Lesson Plans/Presentation Handouts. Retrieved from http://www.cerias.purdue.edu/site/education/k-12/teaching_resources/lessons_presentations/ on June 17, 2014.
Palfrey, J., & Gasser, U. (2010). Born Digital : Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Tapscott, D. (2008). Grown up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Tordell, J. (2001). Copyright. Retrieve from http://www.cerias.purdue.edu/education/k-12/teaching_resources/lessons_presentations/copyrightjenn_pdf.zip on June 17, 2014.