Some time ago I chatted with a parent about the concept of copyright. Both of us were concerned that digital kids understand very little about intellectual property. The free-for-all digital information climate ensures that children have considerable ease accessing information and considerable difficulty comprehending what belongs to whom. Given this easy access parents and educators need to spend time helping children understand the basics.
Copyright laws are arcane, and even a bit crazy, but it’s critical to teach kids that protecting the intellectual property of others is a necessary 21st Century skill. With your child take the Copyright Challenge quiz at Copyright for Kids to see how much you know. When you finish the quiz check out these frequently asked questions about copyright.
Originality matters when digital children write and learn, but many 21st Century students have considerable difficulty understanding what the idea of original content really means.
Check out How the Internet Affects PlagiarismatKQED Mindshift, a blog post that describes how plagiarism is evolving in today’s digital world. According to the article, students today do less looking for “unoriginal content” at sites that sell papers or other pre-written documents (compared to the past), and they use lots more content from the almost unlimited digital resources that are available on the Internet.
The beginning of a school year is a good time for families to set limits, explain rules, and in general, clarify expectations about technology use. Getting started in the fall, when everyone is off to a new grade and a fresh beginning, encourages healthy tech habits.
Depending on the age of your children, you may want to accomplish some or even all of the tasks on this list, encouraging everyone to think responsibly and become committed digital citizens.
Nine Back-to-School Technology Tasks
1. Place computers in central, well-traveled locations — away from bedrooms and private spaces.
When I was in what we used to call junior high, working on my first bona-fide school research projects, mired down with things to read, and wishing to be finished, my father reminded me over and over again, “… you cannot attribute too much, only too little.” Even now, years later, with only a few words written on a page, I start thinking about Dad’s attribution credo.
Every parent of digital kids needs to share Dad’s strategy whenever children are working on school projects and papers. It is way too easy, in this age of Google, Wikipedia, and easy instant access to digitized scholarly articles, to write about another person’s ideas without giving credit.
Are you thinking about the children and adolescents in your family and how they effortlessly use digital information but don’t always manage it as well as they might?
John Palfrey, Harvard Law Professor and a co-author of Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives spoke at the University of Washington’s Project Information Literacy(an organization that deserves its own post sometime). Palfrey shared his thoughts on plagiarism, content evaluation, and the role of librarians and teachers. He also pointed out that even in this age of the digital native, plenty of young people around the world do not have enough access to information.
When he spoke about plagiarism in today’s digital world Palfrey commented, “One of the big mistake is to think that “…this time it’s different and then fail to look carefully into what’s really changed and what’s ultimately the same.”
Some Important Points
“Plagiarism is still plagiarism – using someone’s work and passing it off as your own — but we do need to teach students how to deal with the huge amount of digital information at their fingertips”
The concept of remixing information is confusing because a person is allowed to take another person’s work and do things with it, however attributing the work to the original author is paramount.
Digital natives are not all adept as sorting through and evaluating the information they find.
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