6.2 Copyright

I would argue that teachers are some of the highest copyright infringers on the planet.  Every teacher I know has photocopied a book or played an illegally uploaded movie from the internet.  We justify it to ourselves by saying we are doing it to meet the needs of our students.  Whether that is the case or not, the bottom line is we are breaking copyright laws.

In my current role as an adaptive technology coordinator, one of my responsibilities is managing digital texts for students who require accommodations.  In today’s day and age, it’s not as hard finding these resources as it used to be, as most textbook providers include pdf copies of their books when purchased.  The issue becomes ensuring students who require these resources have access to them under fair dealing provisions.  I find the sharing permissions in Google Drive very helpful in this regard.  When students require digital textbooks, I share the document as view only.  I also turn off permissions for downloading, printing, or copying the file under the advanced sharing settings.  This allows students to use tools such as Read&Write to access the accommodations they require in regards to reading text.

As a teacher, I often found it helpful for all students to have access to digital versions of textbooks.  It eliminated the “I forgot my textbook” excuse and also allowed students to access their learning while traveling.  In order to meet fair dealing provisions, I had a couple of different strategies I used to give students access to texts:

  1. If the textbook was available as a licensed resource on LearnAlberta students could access it there using their district sign in information.
  2. I posted links to current chapters on my class website.  The link would take students to a file in my Google Drive that was only shared with current students in my class and had permissions set so that they could not download, print or copy the file.

Overall, I try really hard to model behavior the follows copyright laws for my students.  How can I expect them to follow them if I don’t?  That being said, when I was teaching in a classroom there were still quite a few images in my interactive flipcharts and Google slideshows that were not properly attributed and the occasional movie from YouTube sometimes made an appearance in lessons.  As a district coordinator, however, I strive to do better and as I create new material I work very hard to ensure I follow copyright laws and fair dealing provisions.


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