14 June 2014

A licence to be creative

I love it when teachers send kids to see me with their 'best' work. It's a chance to celebrate learning, have a chat and ask children about their activities. It's also an opportunity to indiscriminately hand out stickers - I always ask 'are you too old for stickers?'. They never are...

The other day a group of Year 5s appeared at my door asking me if I wanted to see their movies. I don't need any other invitation to down tools and take a break. They proudly explained that their teacher had been to a conference and had returned and implemented a session once a week where they could be 'creative'. (It's always funny the ways in which kids see things - I'm pretty sure the teacher would be horrified if she knew they thought they could only be creative once a week!) They had made some movies about Queensland Day and as they pressed play up came a stream of photos of underwater scenes, the Queensland outback and other iconic Queensland images.

'Lovely', I said. 'Did you take those photos?'

'Oh, no', said one of them. 'They're from Creative Commons'. And so began a conversation on intellectual property, stealing the work of others from the Internet, and how many people make their living from their work online and should be paid for it. I was so impressed that 10 year olds already understand that you can't simply just copy and paste whatever you feel like using and pass it off as your own work. I was so impressed they knew about Creative Commons, what it means and how to find images they could use which didn't infringe on the rights of others.

This, of course, is a key outcome of our mLearning Program. Students are learning how to navigate the online world safely and ethically. They are learning to be creators of knowledge, and not just merely consumers. If we can pull this off, and at the same time maintain their innate curiosity and creativity, then we have done our jobs well.

(For those of you wondering, Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share.)

  1. From http://creativecommons.org.au/

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