I recently did a writing unit in my class about blog posts. I’ve taught my students in my class in the past to blog before, but this was the first time I had a very specific focus in mind. At Learning 2.013 in Singapore, I attended a session titled, “Everything is a Remix: Learning 2.0 Edition” presented by Rebekah Madrid (@ndbekah). In this session, we discussed what Creative Commons (I also wrote about it in one of my “Sidenotes” – cool infographic I found on Educlipper is there too!) was used for and the idea of remixing.
From this discussion someone verbalized the main idea so perfectly: “Remixing is no longer a tech issue, it’s an academic honesty (plagiarism) issue.” That idea hit home for me. Yes, with the licenses available through Creative Commons, we can now duplicate, edit, and remix what we find, but giving credit to the creators is part of a student’s academic integrity. Using media found on the internet needs to be considered equally important to students citing their sources when they submit a research paper.
In high school, in my psychology class, I found that having to follow the American Psychological Association (APA) format for citing sources to be a nuisance (really, with all the periods and number of spaces, it really was such a pain). Going back and forth between checking all the source information and inserting it into my writing slowed me down quite a bit. This challenge came up in the discussion at the workshop as well. Then, Rebekah said, “Workflow can’t be an excuse for being unethical.”
It’s really wonderful when someone puts what you know into words so eloquently. So, with the these two big takeaways from the session in mind, I went to work with my third graders and their blog posts. We discussed the idea of honesty, and the importance of giving credit. We discussed what kind of information we should share about sources and came up with this poster:
I wasn’t too concerned with formatting as it was their first time finding things on the internet, so I thought the most basic way to give credit should be what we did first. As the students continue blogging on their sites, I’ll introduce Creative Commons and the search tools (check out the “Sidenote” to this post) they provide so that they can do a more thorough job of giving credit where credit is due. So far, from looking at their blog posts that they have started doing on their own, they are including the websites they found images and linking them to the source. I think it’s a pretty good start.