Is this Copyright Infringement?

copyright_creationsA local teacher recently confronted potential copyright infringement issues during a learning experience with what I think is a good idea.  Her solution was to encourage students to re-create photographs they found on Google Images for use in producing public service announcements.

While discussing this with her, I came to wonder if the re-creation of a photograph is a violation of copyright.  Does the copyright holder have rights to the photograph or the idea/creativity behind the photo or both?

This is where the copyright line gets really blurred.  I’m thankful for a local group of library media specialists and educators who contributed to this wiki article on copyright which states:

Original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, or systems, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.

But I’m still confused.  Is the re-creation of the photo above infringing on copyright of the original photographer?

Photo Credits:

How Much Remote Access?

Photo Credit: Will Lion

This photo and post came through the ole aggregator today from the Remote Access blog authored by Clarence Fisher a classroom teacher up North in remote Canada. 

What’s interesting about this quote by Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is that it identifies with a shift in thinking for learning and teaching today.  Up in Mr. Fisher’s  classroom learning community, every effort seems to be made to gain access (remote) to communication with others for sharing information for the purpose of learning from and with others.

What happens when we consistently open up our classrooms to allow learning to enter as well as leave?  I bet Clarence and his students have a pretty good understanding about what happens.

(Cross posted at

It’s Got to be me

I’m cynical. Pessimistic.  A nay-sayer among nay-sayers… and I’m sorry.

In conversation with a small group of teachers today I realized that I’m not giving educators enough credit for being learners. Deep down I know they learn, we all learn.  So why am I generalizing them to a lot that, as I sometimes see, cannot or will not learn for themselves? 


I try not to write about tools, but once and awhile it can’t hurt.  Digsby’s one of those tools that you just want to talk about and share.  The gist of Digsby is that it is a one-stop-shop for many IM, email, and social network sites that you use.  In my case, I’ve tied Google Talk, AOL, Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter into one tool with which I manage them all.

Digsby allows you to manage multiple accounts in each of the IM, email or SNS that you use.  For instance, I manage multiple Twitter accounts, one personal and one for NYSCATE. I can update each of these right from the System Tray in Windows as well as read, compose and manage email.  In addition,  just last night, I learned that you can make video/voice calls through Digsby.

One of the other great things is that I can now uninstall some of the applications and browser add-ons that suck up resources on my computer.  I’ve gotten rid of a host of add-ons for Firefox that allowed me to update my statuses, ask a question or read/answer emails. Now I don’t have to have a web browser open to do so, keeping me on task.  🙂

A downside, is that Digsby isn’t ready for all platforms yet, even so, keep your eye on it.

One of the biggest hurdles educators face in adopting an online presence for their own learning is that they don’t want to manage multiple accounts, usernames, passwords, applications, etc.  Is Digsby one of those tools can can help or is it just one more that adds to the confusion?

For my workflow and connecting with others it’s been valuable and I can see myself using regularly.  Digsby developers… how about a mobile application for BlackBerry and iPhone users?  🙂

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Students Wanted

11/12/2008 Update: We’ve decided to take a more grassroots approach and slowly grow interest in a student conference.

I’ve debated whether to put this out here in the great wide open because it’s really an experiment in the making.  New at NYSCATE is a student symposium where students will attend (hopefully), share (double hopefully) and learn (triple hopefully) with each other. Additionally, they’ll be trying to give back in some way, shape or form.

Reading Stories Wanted at The Stellar Cafe today convinced me that I was not doing what I want of the students who attend this event.  I wasn’t sharing, being transparent or seeking advice/help.

The experience begins by accepting the challenge, sometimes bravely, and making it real.

Right now, we’ve got students working to promote and poised to plan the event.  The goal is to include them in as many facets of the planning and implementation as possible.  There are students working on graphics for the event, writing, editing and recording radio spots for WBER 90.5 (listen now), directing and producing videos for distribution through YouTube and morning shows. We’ve even got Facebook and MySpace groups started to help promote the event. NOTE: we’re encouraging students to join these groups and educators, unless they are directly working with the event. As you can see, we’re pretty good in the promotion/marketing department, but what we don’t have is a set line-up of students to lead discussions and topics for sessions.

I believe I have one of the greatest jobs in education, however, the downside is that I don’t have direct contact with students everyday, so I need to rely on others… this is where you come in.

So in making it real, this is an all call for students and topics that they’d like to learn about, share about and lead about.  Ask your students what they are doing with technology that you might not be aware about (obviously I’m talking about the constructive stuff here) and learn something from them. Then, if you would, share it back here.

A small team of students will be planning out how this event will pan out on November 23rd at the annual NYSCATE Conference.  They’ll appreciate the help, and so will I.

Constructivist Celebration Takeaways

Constructivist Celebration - Playing with the XO Laptop

It has taken quite awhile for me to really piece together my experience at NECC. I’ll be honest, I’ll still be piecing it together for sometime to come. I went into the conference expecting to meet new people and meet face to face with those I’ve connected with on-line over the past year or two. Both happened and the discussions that took place taught me a good deal and confirmed some of my beliefs as well.

However, what has been bouncing around in my head the past few days is my experience at the Constructivist Celebration put together by Gary Stager and the Constructivist Consortium. Here are a few takeaways from Sunday’s experience that made me look a bit differently at the sessions I chose to attend and the conversations that took place throughout the conference.

Real and authentic learning in a digital world may be more important than ever
There’s a lot of talk out there. Since
learning is doing, I’d personally like to see more students blogging about what they are doing, rather than what they are studying. Simply blogging or creating a wiki about a concept or topic does not prove that a student understands or is able to do anything.

The right brain, left brain war of signifigance is bogus
The interplay within the brain’s hemisphere’s is what it’s really all about. Creativity and logic can co-exist.

Open-ended Software
Most computer software available is not truly educational or built on learning theories. Open-ended programs such as the Inspiration series, Microworlds, Tech4Learning‘s programs, Scratch, Starlogo TNG, etc. allow users (this includes educators, parents and administrators) to create from a blank page.

“A good prompt is worth 1000 words”
When Gary Stager shared this point in his opening talk it reminded me of my graduate studies grounded in constructivist theory. The Constructivist theory is not solely about programming.
Constructing one’s own knowledge and skills is very personal learning as it engages emotions through doing rather than listening or simply sharing what is learned.I learned during that work that asking questions is an essential skill for teaching and learning. We must learn to communicate with our students in ways that get them thinking rather than regurgitating.

You really have to care about kids. Really.

Peter Reynolds spoke about an experience where a student reflected on how a teacher “noticed me”. Students see right through superficial “care” and the way we care for students needs to be more then just protecting them on-line or in the physical setting. Konrad and I spoke about this as well in regards to how he interacts with students in the hallway. He comments to students in the hall about their work, progress or a thought shared in class. Small signs of caring add up to a lot.

If you can’t do something well, do it well-ish
Peter Reynolds wrote a book called ish that gets at the idea that we don’t have to be experts at everything. He described this by talking about a drawing of a tree. If you can’t draw a tree draw it tree-ish. We’ve made the word “fail” too negative and halting. Learning is a process, we try things and they don’t always come out “right” the first time, we must be okay with working through stumbles.

Time to play is important
Thanks to Bud Hunt, Scott Swanson and April-Hope for the play time with the XO laptops during the day. While mine wasn’t working well at the time due to some updates needed, these three folks allowed me to play and learn from them. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to make the Birds of a Feather session due to other conflicts, but I’m sure more playing and learning will go on after connecting with them here. We don’t allow ourselves to “play” with the concepts or skills that we teach and I think it’s critical that we do from time to time to remind us what it’s like to really learn.

I welcome your thoughts and push-back to further my reflection and learning here.

NECC – Pre-Conference

I often receive rolling eyes when I mention
conversations I’ve had with others. Well, NECC is here and a lot of
it is about conversation. Conversations in the halls of the conference
center, the Blogger’s Cafe, before, during and after concurrent
sessions or at dinner. Tonight’s conference kicked off well for
conversation with Brian Crosby, Bud Hunt, David Warlick, David Jakes, Dean Shareski, Jeff Utecht, Laura Deisley, Wendy Smith, and Will Richardson.
You learn a lot through conversation, but as much as I like to
converse, I’m reminded of a quote from Plato I loved to share with students and

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.

To be honest, I’m here for the conversation and to play. I enjoy most the
conversation where I listen and my previous thinking is challenged. I
am also here for the play. I intend to use the XO laptop as much as I
can to hopefully get others to join in and play on this machine.

So what/who will you play with this NECC conference?

Maybe it’s semantics…

[Updated June 9, 2008]

… but when I have to I’m going to start using the phrase social media instead of Web 2.0.

Social Media in Plain English from leelefever on Vimeo.

Based on my experiences, I think the use of Web 2.0 is just too confusing and too many people get caught up in tools. I think that social media does a better job of getting at the social nature of learning and the new means in which anyone can create, publish, and participate.