After an entire day of copyright discussion at our COETAIL class last month, I walked away with the same question I usually have: “What does this mean for my students?” When a roomful of teachers needs 8 hours to sort out issues of copyright and “fair use,” how do we expect students in lower elementary to deal with the same questions?
My solution, for now, is to keep things as simple as possible. For imovies my class made recently, we used only “free use” images.
The first step is to explain to students that people own images on the internet, the same way a kid might own a bike.
Next, teach them that going around and taking images from all of the internet would be the same as going around and taking other kids’ bikes. They understand this metaphor pretty well.
Finally, explain that some nice people out there will let you use their bikes, as long as you give them credit (citation is a whole different concept to be handled).
So now your students are hopefully familiar with the idea of copyright and “free use.” The next step is showing them how to search for images with these licenses. Again, this is not easy. It took me 20 minutes to get the above image of a bike, and I’m pretty sure I still didn’t cite it correctly. Google advanced search and flickr are both nice but a little overwhelming.
Luckily, there is an easy way to find free use images within google docs. Simply follow this tutorial I’ve made:
If the embed doesn’t work, please click here:
There are several other technical, copyright, and citation issues to tackle here, but hopefully this will get your students started.