Creative Commons and Content

Tonight I think I hit a tipping point: I decided I’d rather watch a TED talk online than channel surf after class… that’s a huge content choice that indicates, for the first time, that television and streaming video are equal choices in my world. *applause for the 21st century girl*

And this is what I watched:

I am going to recommend this to everyone when I start giving Creative Commons workshops (already have one group of librarians interested, woot woot!). It’s too long to share during a session since we usually have such a short time together, but it will be good “homework.”

What struck me as I watched it was the connection between the message we send to students and the standards we then hold them to… lots of educators (and I include myself here) say to students “oh, we can use (this video, this article, this picture, this music) and it doesn’t matter, we’re not making any money, it’s for SCHOOL.” And I’m afraid all they’re hearing is the sound of the teacher in Charlie Brown (wah wuh wah wuuuh wanh) and “it doesn’t matter.” The rogue librarians or teachers who emphasize the importance of copyright are treated as pariahs who are just totally out of touch.

Then when it comes time to create a works cited page for their term papers, we wonder how they became such flagrant plagiarists. Oh, the morality!!!

Creative Commons gives us a wonderful parallel road to travel and an awesome model to emulate. The most common license I see used is the “non-commercial/attribution” which, in a sense, is the one we have been presuming exists in our classrooms and libraries all along. And what a wonderful thing for students to hear over and over: “We’re not making any money here, and we just need to give credit where credit’s due.”

Now that’s a term paper I can’t wait to read 😉

Gathering awesome info

One of the most frustrating things about finishing an article is looking around the world of information and seeing all the awesome things you could add. I have been collecting examples, anecdotes, and tools from the web for ages and every day there are still more. Fortunately, this latest article (on how we adapted a patron class to the education environment) is due soon, and I can dive further in to advertising said class to more patrons. I’d much rather conduct a few experimental versions of a new class and then perfect it afterwards, but I totally understand that from the patron side that nobody likes being a guinea pig 😉 I hope that after learning 6 new 2.0 tools in an hour or so, participants will want to go on and create localized cohorts that will experiment together in a more in-depth process like 23 Things or 5 Weeks to a Social Library.

I hope to make some super short Adobe Breeze-style presentations using Camtasia to advertise two of our services to start with: homework help and the Cyber 6 Pack 4 Educators workshop. From there, I want to try and forward these to key people in school districts that can show the presentations in front of large audiences… like department meetings, PTA meetings, and maybe even post them on web pages. I want to create a compact, powerful message that can travel widely and be seen in less than 2 minutes (considering this an asynchronous version of my various “elevator” speeches). More to the point, I want to spend less time personally talking up these sorts of services and spend more time actually delivering said service to patrons. I will be sure and post a follow-up on this topic letting you know how it works.

Wesch’s video

Just in case any new readers haven’t seen Michael Wesch’s videos… this is his latest and greatest. He’s a winner on many counts: from KSU, awesome thinker, and all about information.

Killing Creativity?

(link courtesy of Albert Ip from Random Walk in Learning)
(want more inspiration? Try the TED website.)

Pay particular attention to the spot about 3/4 of the way through where Sir Ken starts talking about epiphany. This is what I obsess about every day at work (and in the shower, on my drive in, etc). I want our library to be a powerful and invisible conduit for young people so they can reach their epiphany. Every time we extend our services to a different demographic, simplify a process, or try to identify easier ways to connect PATRONS with IDEAS, we are speeding their interaction with their true and ultimate destiny. We’re all here to find what it is we are MEANT to do, meant to share with others. The library is either going to be a part of that process in the 21st century or it will very well go extinct.

In the 19th century, we were a civilizing force. A method of sharing the proscribed, acceptable, and palatable mores of society (as it were). But libraries gradually changed over time from the exclusive club for scholars and those striving to attain middle class “values” into something radically different. The moment we unlocked the books and let patrons have open stacks, we were admitting something: you know what you want and need better than we do. And instead of gatekeepers we became lamplighters; fellow travelers who’d been down the road once or twice with friends and who would gladly walk along with you as well.

And in the self-service life of the 21st century, we’re the ones handing you maps to adjacent lands and interesting detours… librarians are the people who want you to consume with abandon– glut yourself in our stacks!– and then we’ll be there when you’re ready to make sense of everything you’ve found. If you need us, we’ll be your Motel 6 and leave a virtual light on for you.

Nowhere is this concept more important than in education. We must prepare for an imminent seismic shift in our educational system that empowers the individual learner to pursue passions and to take intellectual side-trips wherever they may lead… and an entire community must be ready for that. We’ll need both for and non-profit businesses, we’ll need mentors both artisanal and scientific, and most of all we’ll need libraries. We will need massive collections of ideas that people can spark against one another like stone and flint. Libraries will serve as the agora for citizen-learners, throwing off isolation and embracing community in ways that haven’t even yet been invented.

The Five Laws of Digital Education

I’m working on an article and a presentation based around web tools for classrooms… (Adapted from Ranganathan‘s 5 Laws of Library Science)

  1. The web is for use. Let your students make use of the incredible educational world that is out there! Don’t allow fear to eliminate the possibilities for digital learning.
  2. Every learner deserves access. And I’m not talking about the very limited surfing that you can do in a typical school… there is a fluency that must be gained for efficient and intelligent use of the internet, and students who have no or limited access at home are not gaining the skills they need to be successful as adults in a digital world. They are not “learning the language” of the web.
  3. Access benefits learners. Students who are exposed to a variety of sites will begin to develop a more sophisticated visual literacy than those of their peers who are left to surf alone. Educational guidance is needed to create responsible and empowered digital citizens of tomorrow. And when you give your students your trust to begin blogging and researching responsibly, you will help them to develop netiquette that can extend into their off-line lives, too.
  4. Expand the world of the learner. Why can’t your students correspond with their counterparts in the next town over? Or even a world away? Why on earth would you simply study China in a book when you could swap pictures of your hometowns with other kids your age in Bejing? Imagine students being able to contribute to a class project while at home, or on vacation. Imagine your students’ parents being able to contribute to a dialogue about their learning. Imagine fewer boundaries and more possibilities.
  5. The web is a growing organism (with our help). Don’t let the web grow without your students. Conversely, your students have a great chance to grow alongside it. Imagine replacing the mute and dusty pictures of students long graduated in your school’s gymnasium with living, breathing digital projects that expand year upon year. Or being able to log on ten or more years in the future to hear the voices of kids long past, to absorb their projects and passions, and to build on the ideas and exploration that they started. The future of digitally-based education depends on educators and students of today– so let’s get started!
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