Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thought of the Day 3/24/09

We want it all...

I often hear these two sentiments in the same conversation from the same person: "Why are we so far behind with technology?" and "Why do they expect me to keep learning new things all the time?" Sorry folks - you can't have one without the other. You can't stay up to date and not learn new information. Not only are we in an Age of Information; we're in the Age of Learning.

We need to start putting those two pieces of the puzzle together!
Image: Microsof Clip Art

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lost Generation

This piece is getting a quite a bit of buzz lately; I saw it on Garr Reynolds' Presentation Zen blog.

I'm learning that more and more I have a split personality when looking at videos like this. First, WOW, I cannot believe how beautiful the sentiment is and how creatively clever the presentation is. Second, I agree with Reynolds' that even this wonderful presentation can be improved by typeface, size, etc.

But, in the end, it's easier to teach people who have the artistry and creativity to create the content how to make it better than to try to teach someone who is all about the fonts how to be creative. This is really beautifully done.

Note: This video came in 2nd place in the AARP U50 video contest.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Intellectual Property: More than the written word

Whenever I give a presentation on how to obtain resources - video, audio, images, etc. - I always try to share some insight on what classroom teachers may and may not use. While I was preparing for my most recent presentation I was also working with a number of students on selecting images for some digital storytelling projects. I am rather taken aback by the reaction I get when I even suggest that they must cite their sources of images and make sure they are using images for which they have permission. "It doesn't matter with pictures", "I'm a student; I can do what I want", etc.

I would venture to say that EVERY student has been taught and understands that they are not to use the written work of another other without giving credit (whether they choose to do so is another story). We have systems such as Turnitin.com to prevent that very thing. So why is written text so carefully monitored and images, video and audio are, in many cases, considered free rein?

Now, I'm a photographer, not a writer, so perhaps I'm more sensitive about this. But, I have my theories. Teacher make an assumption that images, audio and video come from another source. Therefore, there is no pretense that it is the student's own work. If a student appropriates written text, however, the student is passing the work of as his or her own. I think that's why teachers care more about the written word than other intellectual property.

In this Information Age, I believe we, as teachers, have sorely neglected the need to both model and directly teach a respect for intellectual property. Yes, we certainly have the right to use a lot of information freely in our classrooms and should continue to use that right. But, as more and more student projects go out into the world and, more importantly, as our students go out into the world, I want them prepared to use all the resources they can AND use them respectfully.