Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Lingering indecisions

During a recent class, the topic of how to deal with student plagiarism came up.  Although the presenters merely brushed up against the topic with the standard comment that it should not be condoned, I was in a slightly playful mood so I challenged them on that statement.  (I should have prefaced by saying that our class has an amazing rapport so challenges are welcome).  I pointed out the bottom image in their PowerPoint and advised them that I love the work from that site and wanted to use it in my presentation the week before ... until I checked out the terms of use and discovered that there was a fee to use it.  Yes, I proceeded to ask how we could challenge students on plagiarism when we sometimes model it ourselves.

Wikipedia is always my image friend
As the class was nearing an end, the topic didn't come up again until our psych class the next day.  We were discussing appropriate uses of technology in the classroom, and when copyright came up, for some reason many in the class turned to look at me.  Well, I offered them my 60 second creative commons summary and then confirmed that I do live in a glass house.  I felt that it was only fair to confirm that I have done the same thing in the past.  I'm not proud of the fact, and ignorance is rarely a defense, but I did find a YouTube video once or twice that had been posted by someone other than the creator of the work and used it in my class.  I stayed silent when the inevitable "what's the problem, you'll never get caught" point was raised, but couldn't stay silent for long.

Second choice ... wanted the Simpsons' interactive one
Shortly thereafter, someone raised a question that I wish I could answer easily.  Where is our balance point between education value and modelling correct practices?  In other words, what do you do when you find that ideal video on YouTube that is perfect for your class ... and you know that it's posted there illegally?  Well, I wish that I could say definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, that I would follow my beliefs and choose another method of teaching.  After all, there are many ways of getting the message across, and I always have the option of .... but that video is ideal, and as a student teacher, I don't have the funds nor the time to purchase it.  For now, I have a couple months to mull this over since my next placement is technology free (yes, there was an audible whimper).  And while I'm spending a month getting covered from head-to-toe in chalk dust, and remembering those halcyon days when the projector and computer were assumed, I'm fairly certain that my belief in the importance of modelling proper resource use will outweigh any other considerations.  I just wish I was sure.