As a math teacher who has found a love of blogging, I have learned the hard way about fair use and copyright when posting to websites – personal blogs, district web pages, etc. Not fully understanding all the legal ins/outs of attaching photos and documents to a webpage (remember, I teach math), I was notified I had infringed on copyright laws in using my school webpage.
YIKES! Several things went through my mind. The first of which was I had NO idea what the document was or why I was linked to me. Second, I was about to get fired. Third, No way…I’m a teacher and rule-follower. In the end, it was determined that I had inadvertently broke copyright law. A year or to before, by uploading a copy of a resource we had, I had indeed “broke the law”. This was devastating to me! How did this happen?!
I am a huge proponent of teacher webpages, blogs, wiki’s, etc. to help kids have access to notes and any other resource they may need when not in the classroom. With the ever increasing surge of teachers using the internet as an extension of the classroom, there are also updated copyright laws to protect the intellectual property of others.
Let me just say I absolute agree with and honor our state and national laws, this one being no less important. This incident was cleared up quickly and positively for all parties. Most importantly, I learned A LOT about what a teacher can/cannot upload to his/her webpage. Bottom line, unless it is 100% created BY ME or found on Creative Commons I don’t upload it!
I don’t blame publishing companies, authors, and other entities for strictly enforcing the laws that protect their content. I want the same protection and I wish I had been more informed several years ago. If you are new to copyright laws, fair use practices, and Creative Commons (or simply need a refresher) read EduBlogs’ post here.
So, with all that said, I still use images in my posts and on my website. I do, however, create them. Especially when I need a piece of clip art. Here are some examples of clip art I created from “household” items using my camera and editing software in PowerPoint and Word.
I am in no way an artist or graphic designer, but I am more than happy to learn (and I still have a lot more to learn). I like the idea of personalizing my blog and webpages with photos I’ve taken and clip art I’ve created. it’s FUN and it feeds a creative side I didn’t realize I had. Additionally, when I create teaching materials for my Teachers Pay Teachers store, I can feel good knowing I am within copyright law.
So, my fellow educators, continue to “learn, serve, and lead” and CREATE!