Halloween marks the end of the first quarter for this school year. During this past week I have been having students in the lab to catch up or correct assignments, and for seventh grade that was the post to summarize our work on Creative Commons.
Last week I brought in a short article I had clipped from the Morning Call on a little sidebar called "Career Advice". I read this to the students in grades 6, 7, and 8 and asked someone to tell me why I had saved that article to share with them. Most immediately got the message that following directions was important. The article had explained that if the person doing the hiring was expecting a PDF, don't send a Word document; if the person was expecting information in the body rather than an email attachment, don't send an attachment, etc. The objective of this project on Creative Commons was the importance of respecting copyright and being able to find images (or other creative works) that are permissible to use and what restrictions apply to them. The concept of giving attribution for the work of others, and giving it in the appropriate format, was a key concept.
The photo at the right is the example photo Creative Commons used (and the link to the page was provided in the directions) to explain what they consider the "ideal" format for attribution. I shared this photo and attribution with the class and went over each component. An ideal attribution includes the name of the work with a link to where the original work was found online, the owner of the work with a link to the owner's photostream or collection, and the licensing with a link to the actual license document. Three requirements with three hyperlinks. In addition to explaining this example I also completed my own attribution line using the same sample photo I had been working with all along. What the students needed to do was provide the same credit for their own chosen photos below a horizontal line at the end of the post. The attribution for the above photo will appear at the end of the post in the recommended attribution format. Both of these samples were available in the assignment directions in Dig-Cit 1 2014.
After all that I would have to say at least half of the students paid no attention to the format of attribution or gave no attribution at all for their image or even their information sources. I re-explained and offered opportunities for corrections, and some still did not follow directions. When the grades were posted in PowerSchool I added a comment if the student's score was changed based on corrections being made. In some cases the "corrections" were still incorrect.
One other thing I have noticed is that in the course of commenting to students on their work and either pointing out mistakes or making suggestions for improvements (done in writing in their Google Doc score sheets), some students will correct anything they can that will earn them points back, but ignore suggestions for which there was no point deduction, only strong recommendations for change. I pointed out to the class as a whole the reason you should not be including your initials in your post title. That reason is that we are maintaining student privacy by using only a first name as the blog title. If a student then adds initials to a title he or she is offering more personal information that is not needed for any reason. Students were told to remove the initials from the titles and yet, that direction was ignored by several.
There are a few students that have some incomplete work that I will be calling in to get caught up during the week of November 3, but for the most part we have moved on to the social studies/technology project regarding African countries and the Millennium Development Goals. We have watched some introductory videos and students are now "reading for information" and gathering additional background facts by visiting four websites. Many students are well on their way to having that completed but those who spent much longer on the Creative Commons assignment will need to get caught up. I have also introduced the concept of infographics which will be the platform for sharing the research gathered on the African countries. Students should be choosing an infographic to share with the class according to the format in The Eyes Have It - Part 1. During the first class after Thanksgiving break students will present the infographic they have chosen to share.