Sunday, September 28, 2008

Graphics- what is the issue?

As an elementary school teacher, I use graphics as part of my daily instruction. Whether it's making overheads, designing labels for my classroom library, creating bulletin boards, or assembling PowerPoints, graphics play a huge part in the elementary school setting. But this got me I breaking rules by using graphics for these purposes? How do I make my instruction interesting and motivating while also following copyright laws? Here's what I found out:
1) The term "graphics" ranges from posters to photographs to maps to illustrations. Many of these things get copied by classroom teachers daily, so we need to rethink what we're using. Teachers are especially prone to want to use popular characters (such as SpongeBob or Winnie-the-Pooh) to make their lessons interesting, but this is copyright infringement!

2) There are rules for copying graphics such as only 1 graphic can be published per book/article or you can only make copies of a graphic for one class. Also, teachers cannot copy more than 9 times for a class, and teachers can only copy a graphic if it is too close to the time of instruction to obtain permission.

3) Librarian's are held accountable as a "contributory infringer" (Simpson 64) if they give someone the resources needed to make copies of a document that goes against copyright laws. We need to know about this aspect of copyright violation so that we are not held accountable!

I thought this information was interesting, and something that affects our daily life as teachers. Whether it's copying a map so the students can plot the latitude and longitude, or copying a coloring page, we need to be aware of copyright infringement as it relates to graphics!

Information taken from:
Simpson, C. (2005). Computer software in schools. In Copyright for schools (pp. 63-65). Worthington, OH: Linworth.