Thursday, 17 September 2015

Who Owns Stuff on the Internet?

One of the biggest issues I come across nearly every day in my work is around copyright and ownership of intellectual property.  For instance, teachers and students search for a subject on the internet, look for images and then because they see a picture that they like, they use it in their presentations or on their sites or in their blogs and so on.

Who owns the stuff on the internet?
There is a lack of understanding about whose property the images are or indeed any written resource or video or voice recording that someone  has created.  As one teacher said to me, "if Google puts the images up on the internet, then they must want us to take them."  No, no, no.

Think about this then - if you see a whole lot of paintings up on the wall in the art gallery, are you allowed to help yourself to them?  Or perhaps this - if little Johnny paints a beautiful artwork in his year one class, can I go in and take it off the wall and put it in my home because I like it?  Of course the answer is no.  If Johnny gives me permission to do that, and gifts the artwork to me then of course I can take it, but it is not mine to take without explicit permission.  You can explain this to your students in this way and I encourage you to do this right from an early age.

The image I am posting here is one that I created myself, on my phone this morning.  It belongs to me.  You do not have permission to use it.  If you want to use it, you could contact me and I might give you explicit permission.  And I might want you to pay for it.

And this is what you must think about every time you want to use something that you see on the internet.  Is the person sharing the resource the owner?  And if they are the owner, do they give you permission to use it?  Have you checked that whoever shared it is the rightful owner?  And do the owners want payment for the use of it?

If they do allow you to use it, you must give them credit for the resource, and sometimes even pay for it, because they make their living from making the resources.   If someone has purchased a resource and then shared it, that does not mean that they have permission to use it.  

Giving credit:  You would not dream of submitting a university paper without citing the source underneath so don't do it with anything else that you use on the internet.
Here is what to do if you go looking for images on the internet that you can use.

To search for images which are free to use on Google, select Google Images then Search Tools (see above), Usage Rights,  and and then one of the filters that will suit your purposes (see below).  Note that the default search is not filtered by licence - in other words, all images are put up, free to use and otherwise.
Don't forget to cite the source of the material.  Better still, make your own images and use them instead.  Some google searches (for example in the Slides App) do provide images labelled for reuse, so use these whenever possible.

There are a number of other sources of free-to-use images - like Free to Use Flickr Photos or Free for Commercial Reuse.  Google them.  There are thousands of possibilities to avoid breaking intellectual property laws.

But there is another layer to this slippery marsh.  What if you create  a resource while you are employed by a school?  The answer is that it belongs to the school Board of Trustees, even if you created it at midnight on Sunday morning.  So you are not free to share it unless the BOT has a creative commons licence that allows you to share it.

I am no expert on the subject of copyright law, but there are people who are, and they are found at the Creative Commons site  They will tell you how you can ask your BOT to grant a Creative Commons licence if you want to share.  But it is not your right.

It would be a reasonable thing for BOTs to do in this age of sharing and collaboration, but some boards specifically do retain the right to own the resources.  And remember, they did pay you to do this.  So you do not have the right to just take the resources that you created while you were in their employ.  When you move schools, make sure you have permission from your old school to use the resources you created in the new school

If you are sharing resources on Facebook or in the Pond, make sure that you have the rights to the resources.  Only share if you know you are allowed to.  You will notice when you post in the Pond, that it specifically asks you if you have permission to post it.  Don't just ignore this - check whether you do and avoid a nasty battle in the future.

One last thing: - feel free to share this blog I created!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Transferring your google site into your private account.

If you have made an eportfolio in your school domain using google sites, you might need to consider transferring it into your private gmail account so if you leave the school, it won't be accidentally deleted by the school, and you can keep the eportfolio no matter what school you are at.

I recommend that you make your eportfolio in your private address to begin with, but if you haven't, then this video will explain how you can transfer it
Put simply, the first step is to make your "private self" a co-owner of your school site.  This will allow you to make a copy of it in your "private" account, making you the owner of the copy and that is the site that you should use from then on.  You should delete the original eportfolio in your school account.  If you stay in the same school you should make your school email address a co- owner of your private site account.  That way you can edit the site when signed into your school domain account.

If you transfer to a new GAFE (google apps for education) school,  you can add your new school email address as a co-owner.

Even if the school deletes the site when you leave, you will be able to restore it within 31 days from your private account.

Don't forget to delete the orginal eportfolio so that you don't get confused about which one you should be updating.

Monday, 7 September 2015

13 Extensions on My Chrome Browser

Extensions on my Chrome browser are invaluable time saving programmes that can be added to increase functionality.  Let me share some of my favourites with you.
Extensions can be found to the right of your URL bar.  If you don't have any there, oit is because you haven't added any.  You can find them in the settings part of your Chrome browser, the part I call the three sausages.
Click on the three sausages, go to More tools and click on Extensions to search the Chrome store for any of these extensions.  There are thousands, but here are thirteen of my favourites.  I do have a few more hidden favourites but I will tell you about those on another day.

  1. Feedly - this is my reader.  I "follow" a number of websites and blogs using this reader.  I can quickly scan the articles in the headlines that Feedly gives me, whenever I have a moment,  to decide whether I want to read them or not.  It saves filling up my inbox, too.
  2. Techsmith Snagit - this allows me to take screenshots which can be saved automatically to my Drive.  It also allows me to make videos or screencasts of what is on my screen including rolling videos (scrolling down the page).  All saved to Drive.
  3. Diigo bookmarker - collates (saves, labels and sorts) articles that I find interesting and want to share with others maybe at a later date.  Excellent search function withing the library to find articles and you can also join groups of other bookmarkers who are interested in the same things as you are.  Teachers get free accounts.
  4. Save to Google Drive - Quickly saves what is showing in the browser - a webpage or pdf, for example, to a destination folder of my choice in my Drive, great when doing research.
  5. Appear In - a one-click web based video connection - very easy to use for people who do not have gmail accounts for Hangouts, or Skype software installed, just share the URL of the with them.  And you get to chose the name of the
  6. One click Google Hangout - all settings for my hangouts are saved and one click will start a hangout straight away without me having to enter all the details of my gmail account each time.
  7. Google Tone - sharing a URL quickly with someone on the same WiFi as me. 
  8. SideNotes - allows you to write notes on the side of any webpage.  When you go back to the webpage, the notes are still there.
  9. Alice Keeler Gradebook Split - allows you to have two windows displaying on your screen at the same time so you dont have to toggle between them or minimise either.
  10. URL shortener and QR code maker - fabulous for sharing URLs quickly when presenting, and making QR codes which can be on your screen or copied to a document and printed off for easy access in class using mobile devices.
  11. Google Art Project - this is sheer entertainment and gives me a new, named artwork each day to look at on my new tab page.
  12. Text to speech - this will "speak" highlighted text to me when clicked.  Would be very valuable for challenged readers.
  13. One Tab - if I have a lot of tabs open, I can put them all onto one tab and share that page with others - great if I want to share a lot of different resources without having to copy and paste all the URLs onto another document.  Also useful to get rid of the clutter of too may tabs open.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Why aren't you trying any of these "15 Things For All Teachers to Try"?

I love this latest drawing from Sylvia Duckworth, inspired by Austin Gagnier (@Austin_Gagnier8).  If only some would  try even one of these things.  It would be a step in the right direction. A seat on the right bus.  A paddle on the right waka.
They are all such powerful and useful things to do I wonder why some teachers are not.  And maybe it is that they don't get why.  Or maybe their school curriculum has been overcrowded with other things to do.  Or maybe they do not have enough devices in their classroom. Or maybe they are afraid.  Or maybe they do not have the support of the leadership of the school.
What is your reason for not doing any one of these things?  I would love to hear.