Picture this! 4 steps to understanding copyright issues

Respecting intellectual property is something our students need to learn and value before leaving our classrooms; here's how to start

Schools are using digital content more than ever before. They are relying on digital resources, open educational resources, and teacher-created content to support curricular goals. As more of our content is pushed out to students through online platforms, our responsibility to consider copyright as part of our planning process, no matter what the process looks like, grows.

When we are in the trenches of testing windows, grading, school safety, and all of our other daily responsibilities, copyright might not feel like the number-one priority. But it has to become a priority.

It is important that we as educators invest time and effort into becoming comfortable applying copyright—not only to keep ourselves free of the consequences of not doing so, but also so that we can pass on these skills to our students. This is a responsibility that we all share, no matter the grade level or content area.

One image at a time
Applying copyright best practices can be intimidating. There are so many moving pieces to think about and much of it lives in the gray area. Instead of trying to tackle it all at once, commit yourself to making one change at a time. Images are the perfect place to start.

We all use images in the content we create. Teachers include images on instructional materials, we encourage students to use images as part of their work, and administrators publish information for the community that can include images. If you’re doing a quick Google Image search to locate something for a school mascot logo on the school website, for example, it’s time to stop.

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