Copyright. It’s important isn’t it? How many of you understand it? How many ‘normal’ teachers understand it? How many children have a clue? I could share my ideas on copyright, but I wouldn’t want to get on a stage and do it. I might be wrong, it’s all a bit of a mine-field anyways isn’t it?

In my new ICT curriculum, what do I say to the children about copyright? I know they can copy-and-paste stuff from the internet, but do they know it’s wrong? Is it wrong? Do they care?

Well, this week I have taught three classes of Year 3-4 and we are looking at presentations, not PowerPoint, just presentations. Most children have decided PowerPoint is their weapon of choice, mainly because it’s familiar, but a bit different due to being 2010. Some children have chosen Activ Inspire. (Does anyone else know of a school where children can use Inspire/whiteboard software?? I digress).

As part of their presentations, we decided we wanted to include pictures. We discussed how to copy them and use them in our work and that was fine. But then I asked if the children thought we were allowed to just take it. Answers ranged from:

  • It’s on the internet, so we must be able to use it
  • It’s on the internet, so someone else made it and we can’t take their work
  • I don’t know
  • Maybe we should ask them before using their stuff

Great range of answers and I was very happy. Through questioning we got to the agreement that if we said where the picture was from, that should be OK. Now out of 90 children across the year group, I’d say 10 have written the website it came from, some had written just Google, but who cares? It’s a start. About 10-15 have put either a link underneath (e.g. wikipedia) or have linked the picture to the website it came from.

I had planned to mention it to the children but I am very happy with the number who took onboard the point about borrowing/stealing/magpieing from other people and included this sort of reference in their work.

Do you mention copyright in your school? How do you teach it? I am sure I could have ‘stole’ some of the children’s work and made it a more creative lesson, but it worked, so that’ll do.