Piracy Prevails Over Porn???

A week or so back I was forwarded an email from a valued teaching colleague from an education department bureaucrat offering an appraisal of my colleague’s work. Now this departmental manager is also someone whose opinion and support I have highly valued in the past. On this occasion however I was left wondering as to whether the manager had completely thought through the ramifications of the advice given in the email.

The advice related use of images in student  blog and wiki posts and where these images should be sourced from. The preferred approach from the school was that the students should use images sourced from Flickr using a Creative Commons Search. In previous years students had relied on a Google image search, often without any regard to the need to respect copyright or attribution. Since that time most of the students had become quite efficient at sourcing and attributing images from Flickr.

It was bemusing and a little disappointing then for my colleagues to receive advice that …..

“…..the department don’t recommend suggesting Flickr as a source of images etc. Although these images are copyright protected, children can search for inappropriate images which will show many.”

My colleague then asked in a reply e-mail what they should suggest students use to which the departmental official said she would seek further advice and get back to my colleague. In the interim she suggested that sticking with Google images and attributing them is much better than running the risk of finding inappropriate images on Flickr.

Now there are a number of points that come to mind when looking at this advice including;

  • It can be very difficult for students to correctly attribute images found on Google Images as the neccessary detail including the taker of the image and original space in which the image was uploaded are often not easy to locate.
  • Many images that are sourced through Google Images are featured in other blog or wikis and often don’t carry attribution to the original image.
  • As a result many students either resort to sloppy or non-existent attribution.
  • Should a student inadvertently or deliberately turn the Google search preferences from strict to moderate or off completely then they will often find more confronting images via Google than they would using the equivalent term on an equivalent Flickr Creative Commons search.
  • With a strict Google search preference enabled, a number of commonly searched terms are blocked.
  • The Commonwealth Government Smartcopy site suggests to overcome any problems with meeting Fair Dealing requirements, that students use Creative Commons licenced material of the sort that can be found on Flickr.
  • Flickr is arguably the most efficient and accessible site for teaching about the concept of Creative Commons.

All of this is quite apart from any consideration of promoting ethical and responsible internet behavior when students are confronted by images and/or behaviour by fellow students that is regarded as inappropriate for this age group.

What are your thoughts?

What About The Children by moggs oceanlane

What About The Children by moggs oceanlane

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One Response to Piracy Prevails Over Porn???

  1. Mr RAKT says:

    Dear sir,

    As a colleague of the aforementioned colleague, I was also surprised and a little confused to read the advice sent via this email.
    My first disappointment is that it undoes the good skills and work many of our students have obtained over the past 12 months in regards to Flickr. Many (not all) students are using the terms ‘creative commons’ in their general discussions when working with images in their computer lab sessions. This has taken a long time, but it has been something (until now) our school has repeatedly reminded our students about; using Flickr to find pictures that are available for use. Not once have we had a student use the technology or the website for inappropriate use.

    We still have a long way to go because students resort to Google images for other projects such as researching a foreigh country or person. With the grade 5 students using their own netbooks, it is hard to stop this happening. Although we discuss prior to projects starting that they must NOT use other’s images that are not referenced, when they can’t find anything else they quickly resort to these images when under pressure to complete set work.

    It is disappointing to read a email such as this. I’m not sure where to go to next with this proposal.

    Cheers.

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