Category Archives: Creative Commons

Finding Photos is Easy. Crediting them is Hard(er)

Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.

-GUY KAWASAKI

The above quote found at the bottom of the article, The State of Storytelling in the Internet Age. This sums up my efforts at putting together a blog post for this week.  

I did a lot of reading and note-taking and summarising before actually looking at this week’s assignment: use a CC image in class and describe how I plan on using it. Hmmm. Scratch most of what I have been working on.   

My “Digital Design” after school club comes to mind. Last week I challenged them to “make their mark” as part of  International Dot Day. We all worked “collaboratively” on a Google Slideshow (big learning curve here, as many slides were accidentally deleted by students, brand new to the Google Environment).

I initially asked them to explore the possibilities within Google Slides, by using shapes, text and animations. Immediately, some of the older, more experienced students asked if they could create their mark in a different program and import it into the slideshow. I told them this was fine–I was curious to see what they came up with.  

Our final product:

I was excited to see how some had created animations on the ipad using ABCYa! Animate; others created a simple animation Hopscotch. Most followed my guidelines and played about with animations within Slides.

I did notice that some students had searched in images for “dot” animations/gifs and inserted them into their slides. I wondered how many of these images were CC, and wasn’t entirely sure how Google Slides image search engines operated.  

So, after a little digging and clicking, I noticed this:

I thought inserting images into Google Slides was too easy...

I thought inserting images into Google Slides was too easy…

Hmmm. So, it seems the kids were freely using pictures–Slides makes this very easy!– but they were missing the attribution part. I used a few of the gifs the kids had selected and tracked down their attributions.

I’ve come up with a new quote to complement the first:

Finding/Inserting Photos in Google Slides is easy.  Properly Crediting them is hard(er). 

I decided to create a short presentation for my club about CC images and how to attribute them. I included this useful Edugraphic: You can use a picture if…

When creating the slides, I kept in mind the CARP elements of Design:

  • Contrast –bright background, red circling/arrows and dark text
  • Alignment — bullets lower left, titles in the center
  • Repetition –background colour, font
  • Proximity –again, same kind of info/directions in the same place (mostly lower left corner)
Great Repetition. I love you Unsplash.

Great Repetition. I love you Unsplash.

Options to further jazz up this or (more realistically) my next presentation:

  1. I could add some free CC youtube musica super great find in my readings this week.
  2. I could save myself the trouble and utilise the beautiful pre-made slides from SlidesCarnival  –I will have to find a way to use the Halloween Themed Deck at some point…too cute!
  3. I could look into the art of combining fonts –an art form I wasn’t even aware of before viewing Kerri Lee Beasley’s Google Slide Design Secrets.  
  4. Pay closer attention to the Rule of the Thirds, when designing my slides, as well as include more “insanely great visuals” — any of the links from “stock photos that don’t suck” will do.  
Alignment. Cool Photos that don't suck. I love you Unsplash!

Alignment. Cool Photos that don’t suck. I love you Unsplash!

I am not sure how this presentation will go over with my grade 3-5 students –I hope it doesn’t kill their enthusiasm. I will simply repeat my made up mantra, “If we use it, don’t abuse it, we must credit it.”

 

 

** I am experimenting with images from unsplash.com .  Here is their Attribution policy:

All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.

Copying Conundrum

Working with young children in Early Years over the last few years, I hadn’t felt much need to warn of the pitfalls of copying, copyright, and plagiarism.  I myself make every effort to use CC images and  properly credit my sources for this blog…but I must say I haven’t really broached the topic with my 4 year olds. 

For one, we don’t do tests, so no hands over papers required.  Even so, when we do an assessment, often a recorded discussion with specific questions about our topic of study, I am often torn about whether we do it alone, or in a group.  In groups or pairs, the students will often say the same things.  One student will copy or repeat what the other–often stronger student– says, and they I am left wondering: would they have given a different answer–a better one, a not so great one…would they have said anything at all? (Staring blankly happens a lot, too.) Maybe by copying their peer, they are in fact, learning from that peer.

Image from youtube video, Is copying wrong? By Copy Me (Incidentally, in searching for a good image, I stumbled upon a whole series of videos by these same creators…lots of great content that they don’t mind us copying.)

I really liked (well, everything) but particularly the part in the Everything is a Remix Series where they discuss copying as learning.  The saying ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’ although true, doesn’t tell the whole story.  Imitation may be the sincerest form of learning.  

Kirby Ferguson, the ‘creator’ (getting hazy on what this actually means now) of the video series says, “We can’t introduce anything new until we are fluent in the language of our domain…and (we build this fluency) by emulation…”

Infants’ first facial expressions are mirror images of those around them– and parents delight in this copying. The creative role play room in my class is always a buzzing hive of students re-enacting exciting scenes from the latest Pirates of Carribean (speaking of piracy), but it is also a place where students act out something as mundane as searching for car keys and lamenting how late they are going to be.  (Punctuality is definitely not a concern for young children, as I well know…this is an imitation of the language and stress of a regularly tardy parent.) Clearly this imitating, copying and role play is pretty important in “building a foundation of knowledge and understanding” before they can get around to creating something new.

IMG_2146

My students learning about piracy…err….pirates

Unfortunately, copyright and intellectual property laws don’t really seem to care.  It seems US law regards ideas as property–distinct and separate, and don’t take into account how creative ideas actually work…they are an ever evolving combination of all that has come before.

Ironically, the US copyright and patent acts were introduced to “incentivise creative thinking”:

Copyright act: “An act for the encouragement of learning”

Patent act:

Screen shot of US Patent Act, from the film, Everything is a Remix

Screen shot of US Patent Act, from the film, Everything is a Remix

It is rather sad how their main objectives now seem to be about making rights exclusive and seeking profit–or at least that’s how “Patent Trolls,”(money hungry lawyers who take advantage of overly broad software patents) see it.

Troll-slip

Patent Trolls, By EFF-Graphics (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 us], via Wikimedia Commons

Okay, I understand with our current economic model it is very hard to make money as an inventor of original products/ideas. With copying…there are much lower research and development costs, so gains are higher…eventually resulting in low motivation to innovate and create. Intellectual Property laws kick in to balance things out.  

Now there are new efforts to reform laws in an attempt to balance things out once again, and to reign in those Patent Trolls.  For those in the US, tweet @congress #fixpatents and you can send your representative a direct message.  Being relatively new to Twitter, I am slowly understanding its power more and more–not just a resource and network hub–it’s also a platform to push one’s political agenda.  

All this thinking about copying is making me re-think my initial reaction to this creepy Scarlett Johansson robot.

My first thought:  If I were Scarlet Johansson, I would be completely mortified at the literal objectification of my person and feel entitled to sue.  Now I am re-considering.  If this creator weren’t so obsessed with Johansson and apparently not too worried about litigation, maybe this ‘innovation’ might not have come to fruition.  Who knows what others might create without so many constraints?  Apparently there could be hundreds of little you and me robots running around…The article goes on to mention how easy it is to make replica dolls: “The American Girl doll collection allows any parent to make a realistic-looking replica of their child.”  

Scary.

So...if each twin has a little clone...

Don’t think I could handle a replica of this…

Collaboration? Too Busy Deciding…

The real question, then, is, “how much time are you spending deciding what to spend time on?”

To quote seth's blog link on another fellow coetailer Tricia Friedman's blog… inviting others to collaborate via student blog prompts….yikes, the META here is killing me!

Gave me something to think about… https://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2016/02/worth-thinking-about.html

(To quote  seth’s blog link on another fellow coetailer Tricia Friedman’s blog,  inviting others to collaborate via student blog prompts….yikes, the META here is killing me!)

The above quote seemed rather appropriate as I reflect on the amount of time I have spent thinking about this week’s post on global collaborations.  I am feeling a bit stuck, and a bit in awe, thinking about some of the example collaborative projects.

This video was shared in a comment by Emily Roth on one of my posts:

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bemDf6wuHJ0[/youtube]

The video shows a collaborative project involving seniors learning about the internet, facebook, youtube, etc. from some very helpful teenagers, and I was almost moved to tears. This particular project is perhaps not the ideal project for 4 year old expats living in Switzerland to take on, but inspiring nonetheless.

Finding that ideal collaborative project has been an-ongoing goal: I completely agree that (global) collaboration is a key component to 21C Learning, and have made it a personal/professional mission this year to simply begin by collaborating more often and with more teachers and classes at my own small school.  So far I have made the initial contact with several different classes, but I am hoping all collaborations will continue to develop, evolve and expand.  

connections

Connections and Collaborations are key elements of 21C Teaching and Learning

My Early Years students and I have collaborated with grade 1 on a variety of small projects using the iPads (Collaborative/Christmas Memories using Puppet Pals, Story telling with My Story.)  A really proud moment was watching a 4 year old showing the 6 year olds how to make a stop motion movie, to be used in their upcoming school play.

We’ve worked with grade 5 throughout the year, reading, baking, building, along with a few joint ipad app explorations.   We have a joint “Buddy” blog, but with so many other pressures, including our own class blogs, this venture has been a challenging one to maintain. 

Most recently, we have highlighted our class blog at assemblies and have invited comments from the audience.  I quickly typed comments from most of the students (we are a small school) on the spot.  I think all were happy to have contributed something, it wasn’t simply those who were presenting and showcasing.  This realisation also helped me to understand more fully the power of blogging and creating a shared (learning) experience.

Our newest collaboration is teaming up with grade 3 as “blogging buddies” who are learning about digital citizenship.  We are learning to make comments on one another’s blogs…something that isn’t without its challenges. My Early Years students don’t read or write yet, don’t have their own google accounts, need help scribing, etc. Currently we are meeting face to face, which perhaps defeats the purpose of an online collaboration, but we are learning that good citizenship skills are also good digital citizenship skills: we make appropriate, specific and positive comments and we are learning to ask questions, all of which help to get a possible conversation going… Thank you Jocelyn Sutherland for pointing me to this post: digital citizenship starts with face to face citizenship by Andrew White.

Screen shot of my Twitter Plead

Screen shot of my Twitter Plead

I am looking to expand on my students’ local, face to face collaborations, with more global connections, but am unsure of next steps and really do want to make it meaningful.  I have posted in Twitter using the hashtag #comments4kids, but simply finding an appropriate blog for my students to comment on first (as suggested on the comments4kids blog itself—-give and you will receive) is challenging–most I’ve looked at are text heavy and completely inappropriate content wise for my mostly EAL 4 year olds.  

CALCULUS-olga, olga shulman lednichenko, lednichenko, lednichenko-olga, olgalednichenko, lednichenko-olya, olya lednichenko, IMGAES AND PHOTOS OLGA LEDNICHENKO

What I ‘m seeing…
flickr photo shared by lednichenkoolga under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

What I'm thinking

What I’m thinking..(the kind of thing we do!)

 

I have received some nice feedback–(thanks online 6 cohort colleague, Linda Grunwald!) but have yet to find any real bites.  I suppose other educators like me, need a real purpose for the collaboration. People don’t necessarily want to collaborate simply for the sake of collaborating…just as we don’t always want/need to use technology for the sake of using technology….its use must be purposeful and integral to the collaboration.  

Which brings me to another, perhaps most promising and purposeful collaboration at our school’s nearby campus in Zug, Switzerland. Our small Lucerne campus is unfortunately closing at the end of this academic year and our students and many of our teachers will make the transition to our larger campus at some distance away. We have organised upcoming field trips to visit our new campus and make new friends, but I keep thinking another way to ease this transition is to begin a digital connection.   What that could look like, I am still trying to hammer out.  The next challenge will be to present the idea to my new colleagues on the other campus in such a way they can’t refuse.  I worry at resistance, as these are the same colleagues I will be coaching next year,  but I am hopeful…that this is exactly what we will “decide to spend time on.”

 

Getting “ahead” Legally

Living in Switzerland, and being on “ski” break this week I have had a lot of extra time to read and hopefully get “ahead” in the course.  I have been using my time to read a lot of blogs, leave comments on a few, save links and quotes for future blog posts.  My mind is literally spinning with ideas and my current trouble is narrowing down a focus for this week’s post and reflection.  Since I had too many ideas and a limited word count working against me, I am taking Ben’s advice and am splitting up the post I originally started.

Too many ideas, limited word count...

Too many ideas, limited word count…

My first error in thinking I could quickly “get ahead” on posts was assuming I could churn out several reflective posts in a day or two. I can do a lot of “consuming” of information in that time, but the harder part–the sorting, categorising, and consolidating aspect of reflection simply takes time.  I need time to reflect on all the new ideas.  I need time to seek out more information to see what I can find to further support and extend my new line of thinking.

 

noun_299608_cc

Me, being driven crazy by plug ins, widgets and posting to pages

My second error was assuming the “tinkering and playing around with my blog” would not be the time suck that Jeff promised it would.  I am being driven crazy by seemingly simple things (the digital equivalent of putting a paper in a folder, or in other words, adding my posts to a Page) that I haven’t yet figured out how to do simply–without altering code on a plug in (??? all Greek to me) as some tutorial I googled suggested- and wondering how to tap into my PLN for answers.   Of course, the more time it takes to tinker with the appearance, the more stressed I become that I am running out of time to focus on the actual content.

Now, I realise that in our visual world, the appearance of the blog is a huge part of the package, and just as important as the “content”–the medium is the message kind of thing.

Your message is only as good as your ability to share it.  

So, just as I am finally getting a little more comfortable with public sharing, and hoping that people actually do take a look, at  week 3 with no comments on my blog, I am a little disheartened.  But I have to remember my inner mantra form week 2…Networking is High Maintenance, and you get out what you put in…So, I am going to  step up my game in the karmic commenting department myself.  More on how that turns out later…

Spreading UK love…

 

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.–The Beatles

6952515045

For the love…

The next part of the game plan to make more visually appealing blog posts is to find some good and legal sources for images…Pinterest had a zillion lovely memes for my favourite Beatles lyric, but I am not sure how legally I am allowed to share them.  I am loving the noun project but am otherwise wondering why is it that the nicest images aren’t found in any creative commons search engines?  I am also still figuring out how to best credit images…photos for class is great for being easy to use, but the embedded attribution really takes away from the visual experience.

 

 Yuck!  →→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→→

I am also learning from free technology for teachers about best practices for using images.   I know this week is supposed to be all, “Google+ and Twitter”…but I am actually all, “Sign myself up for free pics!” Woohoo!

 

 

 

Photo Credit: UK love, flickr photo by @Doug88888 https://flickr.com/photos/doug88888/3447152946 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license