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« 5 Minute Tip: Generating random text in Microsoft Word | Main | Meetings »

Two great quotes about education technology

I heard one very quotable thing today, and read another very quotable thing. The first was to do with copyright, the second to do with embracing technology in education. See what you think:


Tom Kent, of the Associated Press, was speaking at a Westminster Forum conference on the theme of the future of news. He said let’s suppose you use someone else’s photograph on your website without seeking their permission, and then insert a caption saying “Photograph courtesy of <your name>” because you think that will cover any potential legal issues. He viewed that as like stealing a suit from Harrods and thinking everything will be fine as long as you stitch a label on the back reading “Suit courtesy of Harrods”.

I think that’s a great way of bringing home to people the reality that using other people’s stuff without their permission (unless it already comes with permission, like a Creative Commons licence) is theft. (Even if it comes with permission, I always send the person an email to let them know I’ve used it, and where, and to thank them; I think that’s the courteous thing to do.)

This is not a new thing, of course. Unfortunately, I have sometimes had to say to people, if you wouldn’t dream of walking into a stationery shop and stealing a load of pens and paper, why do you think it’s OK to make pirate copies of software, use other people’s photos or rip off their worksheets?

The impact of technology in education

I read an article submitted to me by Nigel Willetts, for Computers in Classrooms. It’s a very thought-provoking article, which Nigel (wrongly in my opinion) describes as a rant. I disagree with some of what Nigel wrote, but I love this sentence:

When faced with a steam-rolling technology, you either become part of the technology or part of the road!

I’m currently working on the next edition of the newsletter, and Nigel’s is one of the articles that will be included. (Others include one by Steve Moss, of Partnership for Schools, and one by Susan Bannister, of Uniservity. More about those in a separate post.)

So, two very nice quotes I think, to mull over, and to discuss with colleagues and pupils. Any thoughts?


Collabor8 4 Change, a great new-style unconference, is running again on 17th November. Click the link to find out who has already registered (for free!) and why you should sign up too! Why not volunteer to host a 20 minute round-table discussion on a subject of your choice, and/or give a 10 minute talk on something that’s important to you?

For a great evening of discussion about educational ICT, leadership, collaboration and learning, sign up now!

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Reader Comments (8)

Lovely post...cheers.
September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDan bowen
With regards to copyright I have a lesson with Year 10 Applied ICT where we discuss copyright and who thinks it is stealing to download music or copy/watch DVD's not paid for , they stand on the side of the room for true or false often the split is 25/75 that it is not stealing and they would do it. Then we talk about what they would like to do in the future, are they artists, musicians, writers, web designers, actors, buisness entrpeneurs and discuss what they might develop in the future. We talk in depth about how long it might take them to write a song, make a piece of art. This is a great debate. At the end of the activity they stand on the side of the room about how they now feel about downloading music for free or copying watching a DVD without paying. The split is always 75/25 that it is stealing and they wouldn't do it. ! I have to work a little harder on the other 25% by finding out in detail what their aspirations are and whether they would go into a supermarket and can imagine some of the answers! I love this lesson, it really does change minds.
September 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter@chrissy_kelly
I dunno, the internet is a looser freer place than than office depot. People and I mean teachers are always on the hunt for a teaching resource and unguarded internet photos of cell mitosis and animations of the water cycle can seem perfectly ok to pilfer in the name of education. Like making an illegal U-turn or talking on the cell phone we all know these things are are wrong and in many cases illegal, but we also all know that it is done all the time and with little to no consequence. If you do it and get away with it, it only reinforces that it is possible to do it with impunity.

How many people in love with macs post images of Steve Jobs without his permission? I dare say ALL of them. It's wrong, but it's a degree of wrong that is so small that few would worry themselves over it. Now if you steal his designs and start selling Mac Clones, he's going take legal action. Makes sense, that's his livelyhood. If I take a picture of Koko Crater stairs in Hawaii and put it on my site and then you take it and put it on your blog with my name credited, I will let that go.

You know when people say don't sweat the small stuff? Borrowing my picture that I took and do not use for my livelyhood is the small stuff. i would not sweat it. Bigger fish to fry than harrasing some random blogger using a picture I took in Hawaii.
September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Lee
@Dan Thx very much. What did you like about it?
Thanks, Chrissy. This sounds like a great exercise, one that would really bring home to students what using someone's stuff like that feels like on a personal level. I love the idea of the physical aspect too, ie getting them to move to different areas of the room.
Thx Steve. I think if someone on a personal level doesn't mind if other people nick their stuff, that's up to them, and I can see your point about having bigger fish to fry. But surely that doesn't make it OK to steal in the first place?
Copyright - Doesn't this all turn on the ambiguity of "someone else's photograph" meaning either a photograph of someone else or a photograph taken by someone else. To my limited understanding these two cases are completely different. In the history of copyright creative ownership belongs with the person who drew the drawing, painted the picture, or more recently snapped the photo, not the person whose image appears in the drawing, the picture or photo. This basic distinction and principle still applies unless the subject is rich at which point the law changes.

I suppose this all goes to prove I understand damn all about copyright.
September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOptymystic
In the interested of balance ;-)
Perhaps big inducstry needs to take some rresponsibility by not pricing consumers out of the market.
September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterArthur Daly

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