Above image used with Creative Commons License. Original Image hosted here.Most students love Social Media. They post pictures, chat with their friends, and think they are all doing the right thing. Unfortunately, most people are breaking the law when they post other people's media to their profiles. They all leave footprints in these social media accounts, but it is important to learn how to not have their past come back to haunt them.
Why?User Agreements. You know, the thing that everyone clicks past as they sign up for something, the 75+ page document that is only really readable by someone with a law degree. Social Media like Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, and Tumblr all have language written in their user agreements that passes legal and financial blame to the users. So, if a person posts something that belongs to someone else, and it goes to court, the user is already hung out to dry. Here is an example of such language, from Pinterest.com This has been posted and reported on before, Here is a link to another blog, that explains this issue in more detail. Schools can be a fantastic place for kids to learn to be better at leaving a better digital foot print.
Schools now have resources that they never had before. Learning Management Systems, like Schoology and Edmodo and Wikispaces Classroom, are a place where students have a ‘Facebook-like’ interface for interacting with other members of class. These are a great way to have a conversation with their teachers about choices made with media ‘borrowed’ from other people for assignments. The nice part of Learning Management Systems, are that they are private, not public. That means that students have a space where they can make mistakes, get messy, and have conversations about how to do it better. These systems are not fool proof, and schools need to adjust to using them. Grading, posting assignments, and great features are built in to these systems, but they still need a good teacher and time to facilitate them in the classroom. Teachers get notifications when their students add items to their class, and parents can see their child's activity.
How?Searching for Creative Commons Media, to include in Assignments. Showing students to CREATE, BUILD, and IMPROVE, rather than steal others work. Although “Fair Use” covers most students work in Education, discussing doing things properly is important. If the student and teacher decide the work done is amazing, posting the work publicly means the work would need to be fixed. Creative Commons is a search engine that helps its user to search for media that the creator will allow you to use, build upon, and adapt. Music, Photos, and other items can be found, downloaded, and used.
Students need to know about how to ask for permission to use the items they post. Some Artists want their items shared, some do not. Understanding where to look is to find these things will help them to protect themselves. Teachers and students can have conversations about the origin of images, video, music, in Private Forums, rather that in Public Domains. Give kids a safety net.