Can I use that? Do teachers really need to know about copyright?


It’s long been part of my job to help teachers become comfortable with using online resources in their classrooms.  I love to see teachers who are willing to dive  into the vast ocean of teaching materials that are now available to us online.

As we become more comfortable with developing electronic teaching materials for our students, it’s critical to educate ourselves about what whether it is legal or not to just snip, copy and paste that great chart, graphic, or activity we find online.  While building STEM projects I personally spend searching the internet for images, and it’s tempting to think that online resources are the same as any other resources we have in the classroom.  Actually they’re not.

I recently came across a copyright flowchart created by Silvia Tolisano on Langwitches Blog which I find very useful.  The flowchart starts with a great question, “Can I use material I found online for teaching or school work?”

As you will see by looking at the flowchart, there are three skills that are important to learn:

  • How to create your own media quickly
  • How to search for public domain images and creative commons.
  • How to determine if you can claim Fair Use and use an item.

Take a look at the flowchart below and see if you find it useful.

If you would like to learn more, Coursera is offering a free course entitled Copyright for Educators and Librarians which runs from July 21st  to August 18th, 2014.  You can take the course for free, if you wish to receive a Verified Certificate it can be purchased for a limited time only! for $49.00.  The instructors of the course are from Duke University, University of North Carolina, and Emory University.



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