Friday, November 21, 2014

Copyright, Creative Commons, and Google searches

The National Educational Technology Standards for Students put forth by the ISTE states that in order to achieve learning and life skills Students must practice responsible use of technology systems, information and software.  We can also note that this same standard is embedded within the Research components (avoidance of plagiarism) of the Common Core as well as the Information Fluency Continuum (Library Media Standards). 

Rightfully, much of our focus with students is on the avoidance of plagiarism in terms of properly citing and paraphrasing text.  However, students are citizens of the digital universe and need to understand the rules (and laws) that regulate our use of copyrighted material, including digital images.

Copyright law is tricky to understand!  It's true!  Yet, there are some basic guidelines that will help us.
  • Any work that is put down in tangible format is automatically copyrighted. There is no special paperwork one needs to submit (although you can).  Once you create it - you own it!  And you own all of the rights to copy, distribute, and alter it. This includes digital images; indeed it includes all material on the Internet.  
  • Most government documents are in the public domain and are available for us to use.
  • There is some leeway for educators to use copyrighted material (but not as much as we may think).  This is called fair use.
  • Copyright licensing for digital images has evolved to include what is known as Creative Commons - a way for those who post images online to dictate the specific terms of use for their images.  Those who use the Creative Commons licensing are often interested in sharing their images more freely with the public.
A common misconception is that anything on the Internet is open to the public to copy, distribute, and alter as they so choose.  This is simply not true.  Copyright law projects the creator of original works of all types, including all material online.  In the technology age, it is important that students understand that copying images (and music!) that is protected under copyright law is sometimes illegal.

There are several directions we can take when teaching our students to avoid misusing copyrighted images. 
  • Direct them to use databases, such as AP Images.
  • Encourage them to cite images as frequently as they cite text sources.
  • Teach them about copyright friendly image websites, such as wikimediacommons.
  • Show them the Google search feature that narrows a Google image search to filter by usage rights.  This helps focus an image search to those images that may be available as a Creative Commons or Public Domain image. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Choice Book

A Choice Book is a library program designed to connect students with good books.  It also creates a sense of community between students and the adults in their school - not to mention sharing the love of reading.

Here's how it works -

A teacher or staff member
  • Chooses a book (can be any book - doesn't have to be one you've read).
  • Thinks of a student (any student - not just their own) that might like the book.
  • Fills out a Choice Book card.
Books go in the library on display.
Card gets delivered to student's homeroom class.

Teachers and staff members can come to either library at any time to select a book for a student.  Just leave the card with a library staff member.   This program will continue next year.  It will be a special treat for a student to get a book especially selected for them by you!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


The library now offers a one username, one password option for database logins.  You can still access all of the databases, such as Grolier and CountryWatch, using the unique login information (available on the blue library brochure).  However, you can now access ALL databases using the same login. 

To do this, visit the library website and click on SEEK.  You will see a list of databases to which we subscribe.  Select the database you'd like to use and enter the SEEK password (ask library staff for this password).  You are now logged in and can return to SEEK and select a different database at any time.

The username/password for SEEK will only work by going through the SEEK portal.  If you click on individual databases on the library website, you will need the "old" passwords, etc.

Please see library staff should you need assistance in using SEEK.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Photo Story 3 for Windows

Want your students to create a simple video presentation?  Then photo story 3 is for you!  This program is free and easy to use.  If it is not installed on your machine, please email tech support and they will be able to install it for you.  However, the program should be on all computers in our school.

Photo Story allows the user to combine still images and text to create a finished video.  Enhanced effects include the ability to narrate (record voice) or add music.  In addition, effects may be added to images and transitions may be applied between photos.  Text may be presented as an overlay on a photo or on a solid background.  In addition to meeting which ever core curriculum standard(s) you are addressing, students gain some basic skills in the use of video editing, as well as file manipulation (saving photos and files), and using material that is in the public domain (copyright-friendly).

Possible project ideas include:
Public Service Annoucements
Book Reviews/Reports
Book Trailers
Story Map
Digital Storytelling
Persuasive Writing
Identifying literary elements 
Describing idioms
Story re-telling
Step-by-step directions (recipes, play a game, etc) 

And much, much more!  Please see Mrs. Rokhvadze if you would like more information or a tutorial on how to use this program.