The American University Center for Social Media report “The Cost of Copyright Confusion for Media Literacy” pinpoints how misunderstandings about copyright guidelines affect teaching. Across the Kcollege educational levels, teachers “use less effective teaching techniques, teach and transmit erroneous copyright information, fail to share innovative instructional approaches, and do not take advantage of new digital platforms”—all because of confusion on how copyright applies to potential classroom materials.
In addition to limiting the materials that teachers use in the classroom, copyright confusion can have a direct effect on what students learn. The report explains that “teachers communicate their own copyright misinformation to the next generation.” Whats a teacher to do? These middle and secondary lesson plans from ReadWriteThink provide ways to introduce the copyright discussion in the classroom in ways that promote critical thinking:
- Campaigning for Fair Use: Public Service Announcements on Copyright Awareness
In this lesson, middle school students explore resources on fair use and copyright, and then design their own audio public service announcements.
- Copyright Infringement or Not? The Debate over Downloading Music
High school students investigate the controversial topic of downloading music from the Internet in this ReadWriteThink lesson.
- Copyright Law: From Digital Reprints to Downloads
In this lesson, students look briefly at the history of copyright law and generalize about how and why it has changed over time. Students then apply this information to recent copyright issues, look at these issues from the perspective of a particular group, and create persuasive arguments to convince others to see the issue from their perspective.
- Exploring Plagiarism, Copyright, and Paraphrasing
This lesson provides a background for students on copyright, fair use, plagiarism, and paraphrasing. Guidelines for copyright and fair use are discussed, as well as strategies for paraphrasing and the consequences of plagiarism.
- Students as Creators: Exploring Copyright
In this lesson, students learn and use strategies for incorporating multimedia resources in their own works without violating copyright law. The tables then are turned as students contemplate how original works they have created are in turn protected by copyright law.
- Technology and Copyright Law: A “Futurespective”
In this lesson, students review some copyright disputes involving new technologies. They write newspaper articles predicting the outcome of current disputes and anticipating disputes that they think may arise in the future with new technologies or new uses for existing technologies.