Tag Archives: creative commons

Larry Lessig – Law, Leadership and Aaron Swartz

This is Larry Lessig, speaking at Harvard Law School as he accepts the Chair as Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership. As Dean Martha Minnow says at the end of Larry’s speech, this is a Chair in Law AND LEADERSHIP, and she can think of no better person to be sitting in it. If you take the time to watch this speech, and you should, then I’m sure you will have no doubt that Martha’s words are true.

I knew nothing of Aaron Swartz until after his death. I wish I’d known of him before. He took his life on January 11th, at the age of 26, after being indicted for 13 counts by the United States Government after writing a script to download files from Jstor and store them on his computer hard drive after accessing an open cupboard serving as a server room at MIT and hardwiring his computer to it. He presumably had the intent of making them accessible to all, instead of being trapped behind a paywall system. A paywall system that means for the bulk of the population, these academic articles, funded by taxpayer money,  are inaccessible to most of us, and accessible only to those who frequent institutions who pay the licensing fees guaranteeing you access. A recent article in the New Republic, provides speculation as to why Aaron may have decided to take this course.

In the last 20 minutes of this speech, Larry questions the state of things in the United States and asks “Is the United States America anymore?” An America where people who think differently, as Aaron did, are challenged by the Government instead of being supported for their divergent thinking. Divergent thinking that might actually make our world a better place for those who are not the monied elite and don’t have the financial means to advance themselves. My empathy qoutient is raised in this regard; I benefited from a free Higher Education model the Australian Government used to endorse and I’m convinced it provided me with a pathway to further education that may not have been realised without it.

Larry Lessig is obviously deeply impacted by Aaron’s death. There are moments in this speech where I wondered how he could continue, but continue he did, and his words are a more than fitting tribute to a young man who had ideals way beyond those who write code to power  networks that provide people with opportunities for connection, but make them millions of dollars in the process. I saw Tim Berners Lee speak in Melbourne earlier this month and a large portion of his speech was dedicated to Aaron. Like Larry, he had known Aaron since his teenage years and like Larry, it was apparent that his untimely death had deeply affected him.

You may not be able to find a way to share the full contents of this speech with the students you teach, but if a moment presents itself, try and find a way to share Aaron’s story, and use the last 20 minutes of the speech with them. What Larry is positing it that we need more people like Aaron, and more people (and lawyers) willing to step up and do what is right. Larry shares with the audience that he was often seen as Aaron’s mentor, but in fact he saw himself as Aaron’s mentee. Aaron once questioned him on one of their many subjects of interest and Larry’s reply was met with, “yes, as an academic, but what as a citizen?” It’s a question that Larry says will help him to continue to fight what seem impossible fights. Fights like ‘dumb copyright’ that deny people the right to the benefits of academic research funded by taxpayer dollars.

It’s the moral compasses we set for ourselves that make our world a better place to live in. Aaron’s death will hopefully leave a legacy where those who think different, those who think for the good of the whole, will become champions and not pilloried for their actions. I have in no way here paid justice to the story of Aaron Swartz. If you know nothing of this remarkable young man, then do what you can to find out more. A recent piece of longform writing in Slate is a good place to start.

Aaron’s is a story that needs telling. And remembering.

English: Aaron Swartz at a Creative Commons event.

English: Aaron Swartz at a Creative Commons event. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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SlideRocket, I offer you my thanks

sliderocket

Image by virgosun via Flickr

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I use SlideRocket to prepare presentations for conferences. I got an invite to the beta product in its early days, and I was so impressed I willingly stayed with it when it came out of Beta and eventually decided to pay for a pro account at a cost of $240 US dollars a year.

Many out there would baulk at paying for presentation software, but there are definite advantages to using SlideRocket from my point of view. Probably the most useful feature for me is the ability to search flickr for creative commons images from within the software. For me, using creative commons images is a must; you need to practice what you preach. People viewing my presentation online can hover over the image and the attribution for the person who took the shot is visible. I’d prefer it if a link was provided as well, as this would take people to the creator’s work. They now enable you to search for YouTube videos from within the software, and this is something else I’ve found to be very useful. What’s incredibly insightful is the access you have to the analytics of your presentations. I publish my presentations online in public spaces, and the analytics enable me to know when a presentation has been viewed, how long it was looked at, and what city and country the person looking at it originated from. It’s fascinating, especially when I have seen my work being used rather extensively in university environments around the world.

Are you wondering yet why I’m offering SlideRocket my thanks?

On January 5th, I was watching the twitter stream pass me by, when I saw tweets from the SlideRocket team being sent out to people who have scored a gig to present at the SXSW Conference. They were offering them access to a free pro account to put their presentations together. Being the forward person that I am, I thought I’d be a bit cheeky and send them a tweet.

I really didn’t expect a reply, but I got one. @SlideRocket asked me to send them an email with my request so I did. Lo and behold, the very helpful Sogol listened and organised for me to receive 6 months free access to a pro account. I was looking at renewing my subscription at the end of this month, but now I won’t need to until August.

So, there you go. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as my Mother would say.

Thanks very much SlideRocket – well worthy of a blog post!!

 

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Creative Commons help from New Zealand

Our close neighbours from New Zealand have been busy producing some fine resources to help us all teach the fundamental understandings of how Creative Commons licenses work.

This terrific little video
was made by Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand, with support from InternetNZ, and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence. It’s a project of the Royal Society of New Zealand and was produced by Mohawk Media. I’ll definitely be using it with classes to help them understand why we should be thinking about Creative Commons licensing of work we use and produce. It’s a damn sight better than me barking on!

Creative Commons Kiwi from CreativeCommons AotearoaNZ on Vimeo.

Another very handy resource comes from Derek Wenmoth, CORE Education’s Director of eLearning. (You’ll have to visit the link; it won’t embed here) Derek had the opportunity to interview Lawrence Lessig, one of the founders of the Creative Commons organisation. Lawrence explains why educators and students should be thinking about usage rights and mentions how search engines like Google and Bing don’t make it easy to search for Creative Commons material. It’s one of my most vocal criticisms of those search engines too – surely the option to find CC material should be accessible from their front pages, and not hidden in advanced search options.

Thanks very much to our friends from New Zealand for providing us with resources we can use in our programs.

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New look (again!)

I’ve been struggling with the look and feel of the header image of this blog. I’ve played around with previewing other WordPress themes, but none seem to be just that right fit. The only one I like costs $68.00, and I’m not entirely sure I like it that much to fork out the dollars.

So, another header image change is here. This was found on Flickrstorm, doing a Creative Commons: Photos you can use commercially (attribution only) search. It was taken by Ethan Hein.

Thanks Ethan, for sharing your work under a licence that allows others to use it in the work they share with the wider world.

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Creature of habit

I am, by my nature, a creature of habit.

You may notice a long overdue change to this blog. The header, that’s been in place for the last almost three years, has changed. It was no longer relevant given the changing nature of Web 2.0 tools and search engines, so I decided it had to go. Some of you will be thinking, ‘Heck girl, that needed to be gone long ago!’, and you’d be right. But me, being the creature of habit that I am, resisted the change.

Personally, I find the fact that I’m content to let things stay the same for so long interesting. It’s at odds with the mantra I espouse here on this blog and within my school. I wonder what that says about me?

Anyway, change (small!) is here. The image was obtained from flickr, and is called Global Network. It was taken by Anthony Reeves, known on flickr as WebWizzard, on June 18th 2009.It is available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0) license. It’s thanks to people like Anthony, who use Creative Commons licenses like these, that  people like me can use them in their blog headers. A big thank you Anthony. : )

So, how long will it stay? Who knows? Maybe I’ll become more experimental and make changes more frequently. A bit of ‘practice what you preach’!

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School’s out Friday

Thanks to Rhonda Powling for tweeting out the link to A Creative Commons Christmas Carol. Those of us trying to impress on others the importance of using a Creative Commons Share Alike licence will be singing along to the chorus. Watch for featured performances  Scotty Iseri of scottygotanofficejob.com, Matthew Latkiewicz of zendesk.com, Lawrence Lessig, Leo Laporte, Cory Doctorow, Dick DeBartolo, Zadi Diaz, Kevin Kelly, and Mark Frauenfelder.

My reports are finished, exams are marked, no correction to be done. I’ll be living the life this weekend!

Enjoy what comes your way this weekend. : )

 

 

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eT@lking – Creative Commons and its impact for education

Last Wednesday night I presented a session about Creative Commons for eT@lking in elluminate. These sessions are very ably moderated by Anne Mirtschin and Carole McCulloch, and feature some fine speakers who are interested in sharing their knowledge and moving people forward with their own learning. (Sounding a bit like Julia Gillard there, aren’t I!).

I uploaded some slides to support the presentation, and I’ve added them to Slideshare so that they can be of use to other teachers and students. They contain the six different Creative Commons licences, and some screenshots of sites that are useful for learning more about copyright and where you source CC licenced material. It’s not earth shattering stuff, but it may prove useful if you are starting the discussion with people in your school.

The session was well attended and there was some interesting discussion in the chat. Anne Mirtschin has included many of the links mentioned and questions posed in a post she wrote about the event.

You can listen to the recording of the session here.

Thanks Anne for inviting me to present, and thank you Carole for moderating this week’s session.

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Teaching students (and teachers!) how to search for Creative Commons images and music

I ran a session recently with our Year 7 students about ethical use of images and music from the Web and the need for them to understand Creative Commons licenses. Our Head of Year 7 understands the need for us to be informing our students about ethical use of the Internet and we’d discussed the fact that a session like this was necessary for our students. It’s great when you work with people who support what you’re doing and understand this knowledge is important to impart.

I made reference to this session at a conference I was presenting at in Perth last week. I was talking about Cloud Computing, but a participant’s question at the end of the session referred to what I’d done with the Year 7 students. She wanted to know how you search images on Google that are licensed Creative Commons. The entire room seemed to not know how to do this. It made me think. Just how is it that we expect students to be using the web ethically, when there would be, potentially, the majority of their teachers who have no idea how to do so also?

So, here’s how you do it. First step would be visiting the Google Web Search help page where they explain in detail what it is you can find when you use the Advanced Search options. You can follow this link, or read what I’ve copied from the site (I hope this constitutes fair use -at least I’ve let you know where it’s from!);

Find all types of reusable content using the Advanced Search page

The usage rights filter on the Advanced Search page shows you pages that are either labeled with a Creative Commons license or labeled as being in the public domain. Here are the different usage rights options available:

  • Free to use or share
    Your results will only include pages that are either labeled as public domain or carry a license that allows you to copy or redistribute its content, as long as the content remains unchanged.
  • Free to use, share, or modify
    Your results will only include pages that are labeled with a license that allows you to copy, modify, or redistribute in ways specified in the license.
  • If you want content for commercial use, be sure to select the appropriate option containing the term commercially.

Find reusable images using Advanced Image Search

If you’re looking for reusable images, use the Advanced Image Search page. In addition to images labeled as being under the Creative Commons license or in the public domain, the usage rights filter on this page also shows you images labeled with the GNU Free Documentation license.

In the Usage Rights drop-down, select one of the following options:

  • Labeled for reuse
    Your results will only include images labeled with a license that allows you to copy and/or modify the image in ways specified in the license.
  • Labeled for commercial reuse
    Your results will only include images labeled with a license that allows you to copy the image for commercial purposes, in ways specified in the license.
  • Labeled for reuse with modification
    Your results will only include images labeled with a license that allows you to copy and modify the image in ways specified in the license.
  • Labeled for commercial reuse with modification
    Your results will only include images labeled with a license that allows you to copy the image for commercial purposes and modify it in ways specified in the license.

If you find images with the wrong usage rights in the search results, let us know by reporting them in the help forum.

Before reusing content that you’ve found, you should verify that its license is legitimate and check the exact terms of reuse stated in the license. For example, most licenses require that you give credit to the image creator when reusing an image. Google has no way of knowing whether the license is legitimate, so we aren’t making any representation that the content is actually or lawfully licensed.

I direct my students to select Usage rights – return images that are – labelled for commercial reuse. This screenshot shows you what I mean;

It was a wake up call for the Year 7 students, most of whom admitted to using Google Image Search but paying no heed to copyright issues.

Of course, we had to preface the talk with a discussion about just what Creative Commons was and what the different licenses represented;

Creative Commons licences

Attribution
Attribution

Attribution
by
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work — and derivative works based upon it — but only if they give credit the way you request.

Share Alike
Share Alike

Share Alike
sa
You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.

Noncommercial
Noncommercial

Non-Commercial
nc
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work — and derivative works based upon it — but for non-commercial purposes only.

NoDerivative Works
NoDerivative Works

No Derivative Works
nd
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.

We also explored other sites that allow you to search for images that are in the Creative Commons. These included Morguefile, Compfight, and Flickr itself. We also looked at sites that provide free music in the Creative Commons. These included Jamendo, CC Mixter, opsound, Dmusic and Soundclick.

(A twitter link tonight led me to a site for free stock photo images – Veezzle)

Hopefully, the session had an impact on the way they go about using images and music from the Web. For Australian educators, the Smartcopying website provides an excellent port of call for reading about copyright, and understanding what you can do in schools with text, images and music.

Really, I should be running sessions like this across the school. Something to put on the list for Semester Two!

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Staying safe online: Responsible Internet use presentation

I mentioned in my previous post that my school (Toorak College) is participating as a pilot school in the Allanah and Madeline foundation’s Esmart initiative. As a 1:1 laptop school from Grade 5 onwards, we recognise the responsibility we have to help our students understand how to use the Internet responsibly.

I created this presentation (which unfortunately, won’t embed here -you’ll need to follow the link) for the year 5 and 6 students and delivered it today. I was really pleased with the students’ interest in what I was saying and the vast array of questions they posed about their online activities. At the end of the presentation, one of their teachers asked were any of them going home to make some changes to their online profiles. Quite a few of them raised their hands. Our discussion centered on the content of these slides, but was also peppered with discussion about the positive uses of the web for learning and communication. We were interested in supporting these students in their use of social networking sites; quite a few of them are using them already. I think the messages in the slides will be appropriate for our Yr 7 and 8 students as well.

Once again, I used Sliderocket to create the presentation. I really do love the fact that you are able to search Flickr Creative Commons pictures from within SlideRocket and import them into your presentation. In past presentations, the attribution appeared at the bottom of the slide. Now they appear when you hover over the picture. The Internet safety advice was largely drawn from the Australian Government site, ACMA Cybersmart.

We are aiming to run sessions right through the school, from Grade 3 onwards. Looks like I might be making some good use of that SlideRocket account!

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SlideRocket for Education

I’ve been using SlideRocket, an online presentation tool, for the past year for presentations I have given at conferences. To start with, I badgered them for an invite to use the product before it’s release. To my surprise, they obliged. I then moved over to the free version when it had general release, but felt it was limited so had to sign up for the premium version. Around that time SlideRocket sent me a survey asking my opinion about pricing for K-12 education. My response was that they needed to make it affordable, under $500.00 for a site licence. To be honest with you I didn’t think  it was anywhere near possible as I’d just had my school sign up for the one user premium package at a price of $240.00 a year.

SlideRocket announces preferred pricing for K-12 education

 

I was surprised last week to get an email from SlideRocket letting me know that they were going to be announcing pricing for education. When I looked at what they were offering I was very pleasantly surprised. Here it is;

Schools with less then one hundred and fifty students will pay $249 per year, schools with less than one thousand students will pay $449 per year and schools with over one thousand students will pay $999 per year. All pricing is per school allowing every member of the school community – teachers and students alike – to create his or her own SlideRocket login and gain access to SlideRocket’s premium features.    

 In my opinion, that pricing is pretty good given the features SlideRocket offers. I found my last couple of presentations pretty easy to put together. I was able to access flickr creative commons attribution only pictures from within the SlideRocket application and load them easily into my presentation.  I could create a library of my slides so that I can use them easily in new presentations should I need them.  My presentations are stored online so I could access them from any computer anywhere provided I had an internet connection.  They also allow you to download an offline player allowing you to cache your presentation should internet access be a problem.

There are other features I’ve yet to explore that hold real potential in educational settings. You can work collaboratively on a presentation and access a shared library of resources with the SlideRocket community. The pricing is wonderful for a school my size (under 1000). $449 US dollars converts to $568 Australian dollars. Less than one dollar each for students and staff for use of a premium package is pretty good value.

Now, to lobby for it to go into next year’s budget…..     

(If you want to see Sliderocket in action visit my wikispaces site where my presentations are embedded.)

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