Saturday, April 21, 2012

Unlocking Copyright

        Photograph by Dianne McKenzie. Taken at Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, Sth Korea.

Over the Easter / Spring break I had an opportunity to visit and work in the Seoul Foreign School to discuss copyright, creative commons & fair use in school. This came about from a presentation I made at the Shanghai Librarians Symposium in November where the library staff from SFS could not attend, so they invited me to their school to have an extended conversation on the topic.

I had the opportunity to learn the Korean copyright laws, visit Seoul and meet some new people which was a great experience. I worked with the five School Librarians, middle school students, some of the teachers and parents conversing and thinking through the tangled mess of copyright issues.

Korea has been very sensible with its copyright laws. They essentially state that all registered schools  are permitted to use anything legal in their classrooms to help with the instruction of the students. The students are permitted to use anything legal and made public in their quest to complete said instructional work. This means that in Korean schools you are permitted to use any public and legal creation (from anywhere around the world) without prior permission in the pursuit of learning. Citation is not mentioned as a requirement, but would be something encouraged. It is a government mandating fair use and creative commons all in one.

Isn't this freeing? Isn't this sensible? Instead of teachers worrying about what rules are being broken, they can focus on teaching and learning.

Korea have pretty tough rules for outside of school use which they have been enforcing with an up to 6 month ban on internet access for infringements. (I think this is a much more sensible punishment than suing or criminalising the home user and infringer - could you live without the internet for 6 months??)

Discussion came up that the students would not learn to discern between in school and out side of school use. This difference in situation is something that would need to be explicitly taught, but I do not think it would be impossible.

While I was working with the students it was very clear that the issues of copyright, ethics and integrity were being covered through the curriculum. They seemed to understand about copyright, creative commons, fair use & citations. My focus for the two days was how to respect the work of the creator which included ethics and integrity which tied in with what they were learning about in chapel. (This was an unexpected surprise). These were students from 10 years - 14 years old.

The teachers were working from the Commonsense Media Curriculum and seemed to be doing a great job about it. The students really knew their stuff much better than many adults do. This was refreshing to me and proves that even primary school students have the ability to be taught and understand these concepts with the right models and teachers.

The Commonsense Media Curriculum is a great place to start to create a scope & sequence for Digital and Information Literacy. It is clearly written and has excellent examples for teaching. Another excellent resource for covering a wider spectrum and to compliment the Commonsense curriculum is the New York Information Fluency Continuum.   If you create your own Digital & Information Literacy curriculum & scope & sequence based on these documents, you will have a very strong programme.

Thank you to the Seoul Foreign School for inviting me, it was a treat to see first hand what students can learn when the entire faculty are behind a programme. Well done.

I have collected a number of resources on copyright and all the elements that accompany it on a netvibes page - Copyright, Creative Commons, Fair Use.  Please use as required to learn more about these issues. Stop press!!! The netvibes page content has been transferred to a new improved weebly page Copyright4teachers, it is the weebly site which will be updated from now on. (Aug 2013).

My position as a Teacher Librarian on copyright in school is to educate respect for the creators time and talents rather than be the copyright police. Put yourself in the shoes of the creator and ask yourself, "would I be happy with my work being used in such a way after all the time and skills I put into it?".  It changes the focus of thinking and personalises the work.

Other posts on this topic -  Important Conversations , Fair Use is really fair.


Michelle said...

Your copyright,creative commons, fair use ... resource is one of the best I have seen. So comprehensive! I am also a teacher librarian from Florida who has the site. I have added your link to my menu along with your name. Hoping this is okay with you. This will be an invaluable resource for both teachers and students alike. Thank you again,

Dianne said...

Thanks Michelle, there are some fabulous resources included in the Netvibes page, I am glad you found it useful and yes, please share it as required. The more people who understand it all, the richer education will be!