Writing 7.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and link to and cite sources as well as to interact and collaborate with others, including linking to and citing sources.
Writing 7.8. 8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
After all, Teacher Librarians have a reputation as the Citation Police. Many students believe we are implacable foes of Wikipedia and look with squinty-eyed suspicion on any information that does not come from a database. Teacher Librarians are full-on crusaders against bibliographies that include Google as a source. They believe the unexamined source is not worth using. I’ve designed and promoted our school-wide information literacy questions – ”Who wrote it? Why should I believe it?” with these standards in mind.
Truthfully, I’ve put all my energy into encouraging the responsible use and evaluation of information conveyed in words and am much less vigilant about image citation. Sometimes I can get students to create an image bibliography of websites, but more often I justify letting students use any image they want without attribution since it is always for educational purposes.
My laziness about citing image sources met reality when I finished my most recent blog post and began to search for an image to include that illustrated the importance of differentiating the materials I use with students. I found one online that supported my thesis, but it was copyrighted. I could have contacted the copyright holder for permission, but honestly, I just wanted to upload the article and get on with my weekend. So I looked on Creative Commons, an excellent place to search for content that content creators are willing to share.
Nothing available on Creative Commons looked as good as the copyrighted image. So I decided to use a new search tool on Google to find an image that I could use in good conscience. Here’s how to do that search:
1. Put a search term into the Google search box.
2. Click Images.
3. Click Search Tools
4. Choose Usage Rights
5. Select from the types of Usage Rights
It’s an amazing search tool but I still couldn’t find that just-right image. So I tried to create a similar image myself using the computer. Half an hour later I had a truly ugly and incomprehensible picture I’d created using the PowerPoint shapes and drawing tools. It most resembled a group of cavorting blue rectangles and circles with a few skinny black lines connecting them.
Sunday afternoon was learning toward dinner when I got the idea of drawing my own image. It took way more time than I anticipated but I finally sketched and then inked a basic but satisfactory illustration of my theme.
I was surprisingly pleased with my drawing, especially since I have spent a lifetime remembering that my third grade teacher did not ever put my art on display since she only pinned up the very best. Sure, it was primitive and undoubtedly derivative, but it had a bit of my own creativity. I inserted it into my piece and uploaded.
What did I learn? To be more intentional and deliberative in teaching that images as well as words are intellectual property. And to encourage my students to create their own images as well as their own compositions.
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