Thinking about digital citizenship was not on my original plan for 2016 when I mapped my year. However, it is all I have been doing since June of this year.
When I go back and look at my original post on digital citizenship the definition was It is understanding the risks and benefits of technology to enhance your contribution to society. Midway through the course my definition shifted to not looking at digital citizenship as using a pencil. I have a much broader definition today than I did two months ago. An understanding based on technology as a tool and nothing more.
I now think digital citizenship is an idea that needs to die a quick death. Digital citizenship is nothing more than “plain old citizenship”. We live in a digital world which means nothing more than our communications are now connected on a, global, digital scale. It is another leap as dramatic as the printing press and with it comes responsibilities but those responsibilities are citizenship responsibilities regardless of tool set.
I am still a cautious member of the digital society. I am very aware of the saying what you put online stays there forever. However, I have started exploring the thought of not locking my ideas down and have enjoyed sharing and building on the ideas of others. I have shifted from the position of risk management with digital citizenship to more of a mindset of exploration and communication.
IP Friend or Foe
In my blog post I asked “should we have a right to benefit from our labor regardless of the form it takes? Be that labor a tangible item like a painting that hangs on a wall or a book that rests on a shelf should it be attributed to the creator and should the creator have the right to decide the future of that work? Should the creator be compensated for the current work and all future authorized derivative works from their labor?”
In the blog post IP: Friend or Foe by Tatiana Piatanova I found an interesting thought I have been pondering. Tatiana states
largely because of technological advances such as the Internet, we live in time of “shared knowledge” (or “shared properties” if you will) available to anyone who has an internet connection. I think on a very basic level, what the current state of IP is trying to do is an equivalent of preventing an airplane trespassing over your house. And instead of concentrating on the idea of how amazingly wonderful it is to be able to get from one place to another for all common good, it is evoking the idea of traveling on foot through a landscape filled with “No Trespassing” signs.
The statement of “for all common good” is one used by many to defend the stance of relaxing or removing IP rights. I see that statement as bouncing against the question in my blog where I ask, “should we have a right to benefit from our labor regardless of the form it takes” I can not reconcile the rights of one against the rights of many. Maybe I never learned to share in Kindergarten but to me if I have a great thought, work, product, or statement I should be allowed to protect it and further should be allowed to decide its future use. It is up to me, the rights holder, to then decide if the future use matches my vision and if so I am free to grant sub rights. I really don’t want my landscape disturbed by trespassers. As the rights holder I chart the path for the IP as it benefits me and my goal or mission.
Noelle Mischenko had a similar thought in her blog. She used the Tesla example of open source on their IP. In her blog she noted “Musk attention is not on hiding a secret formula from his rivals, but on the top-notch developers who are drawn to the software and can make the product better. ” Musk has decided the path for his IP. What a brilliant way to tap into a free labor pool. Instead of hiring engineers Musk has an army of developers working in their garage, free of charge, all in hopes of linking their star to that of Tesla. While the statement of open IP sounds benevolent, I go back to follow the money. Open IP benefits the company in this case but as the IP belongs to Tesla I like that they are free to decide how open to make it.
Are you focused on FERPA? Are you even aware of FERPA or is that something that I am overly sensitive to as a result of working in the space of Correction Education (Prisons)? FERPA Timeline
If you are not aware of FERPA, below is a brief overview from Ed.Gov. As a side note, Ed.GOV is considered public domain.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are “eligible students.”
- Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student’s education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.
- Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
- Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student’s education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
- School officials with legitimate educational interest;
- Other schools to which a student is transferring;
- Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
- Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
- Accrediting organizations;
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
- Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
- State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
Schools may disclose, without consent, “directory” information such as a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.
Does FERPA go far enough to protect student information in a digital age?
Should we have a right to benefit from our labor regardless of the form it takes? Be that labor a tangible item like a painting that hangs on a wall or a book that rests on a shelf should it be attributed to the creator and should the creator have the right to decide the future of that work? Should the creator be compensated for the current work and all future authorized derivative works from their labor?
Intellectual Property right is a hot topic of debate in the digital age. I find it interesting the debate was not as fierce in the non digital age. What is it about digital content as opposed to tangible content that causes others to feel it should be free and open? Is a thought, idea, or work less valuable or less important when conveyed in digital media as opposed to tangible media? Why would we ever state you have less rights in a digital environment than in a physical environment? Is digital less valuable to the contributor? Does it require less labor and less thought to create online as opposed to in print?
Why IP rights matter
The Washington Times piece, Why IP Rights Matter, raises an interesting thought on theft of tangible items vs theft of non tangible items. You would never walk into a store and take a CD that you did not pay for but we feel no remorse in lifting a song from the internet. However, theft of IP appears to be on the rise as noted in the Bureau of Justice report,
- IP theft-related investigations resulting in referral for prosecution increased 26% from 1994-2002.
- Conviction rate for IP related offenses was 88% in 2002
Would a company or individual create if they receive no benefit from the creation? In his piece, What Compels Writers to Write Richard Norquist fell back on thoughts from George Orwell who stated 4 reasons to write:
- Sheer Egoism
- Aesthetic Enthusiasm
- Historical Impulse
- Political Purpose
Without IP and Copyright protection the author’s work could pass through history without their name attached. If your work does not feed your soul would you continue to pursue it?
Where can you go wrong with Fair Use? It is not correct to assume you can do what ever you want to with content if it is for an educational purpose. You have to step back and ask the question, “are you costing the original copyright holder money?” If you take a print book and scan the book creating a digital version of the text and use that as your teaching material instead of buying either the digital version or the print version for each student you are indeed costing the original holder money, assuming the work is copyright protected. If you take a passage from a text to teach a literary element you are using the element for educational purpose and could be within Fair Use. The area is a grey area and a general rule of thumb is to ask does it impact the creator? If in doubt, ask. Contact the copyright holder, explain what you want to do and ask for permission. NPR had an interesting interview with a Dad wanting to create a derivative version of Goodnight Moon, The interview is Goodnight Moon Spinoff takes a look at Fair Use at a very high level.
In summary, IP is friend not foe. IP should apply to digital just as it does to tangible. After all, there is value in thought.
Link to “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure”
Gardner is asking a lot of the students, in my opinion, to move from consumers of packaged applications to owning and managing the server. I feel panic at the thought and my fear is not fear or breaking it but rather fear of the time drain. I know, for example, I spend more time deciding on a tool to use in the blog than I do in the actual creation of the blog thoughts. I could see myself getting sucked down the rabbit hole of exploration if managing a server.
Gardner stated “communication is publishing” to which I completely agree. Publishing is nothing more than bringing forward a thought, idea, concept, or conversation. There is nothing magical to publishing. A personal cyberinfrastructure would allow the creator to publish unfiltered thought. Removing the constraints and editorial review. For some, that would be world changing. Yet for others, I feel it would create a lot of noise. I think some need the templates to provide organization to conversation.
Gardner spent considerable time discussing the idea of “a distributed publishing system operated by its users”. A Utopian idea worth following. Where I struggle is around curation of this publishing system. Think about the move to self publishing one which, oddly, I support. The idea of being able to say what you intend without influence of editors and marketers is a wonderful concept. But you also give up the aid of distribution. I look at all of the self published materials and my eyes glaze over. I don’t know who to follow. If we are all singing our own songs on our own servers does the noise become so great that the ballad is lost? I think it has merit but I struggle with the concept
Gardner. ( 2009). A Personal Cyberinfrastructure. EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 44,(no. 5), 58–59
What do you think of the statement “A teacher that can be replaced by a machine should be”
What about the idea of why do you need to “shove it in your brain” when it is on google?
I think if we use technology to its fullest the teacher becomes the “coach” or as this example shows the “Grandmother”. The role of the educator is to guide the student in THEIR learning path. Let the student own the experience.
I agree, if you know how to access the information you do not need to commit it to memory. That is a shift in education from knowing “bits” to understanding how “bits” work together. The move towards understanding.
No Digital Facelift
The lecture No Digital Facelift is over 6 years old but contains a lot of relevant thoughts impacting digital instruction today. The basic concept of applying a facelift or transforming education is the question thought leaders are still discussing.
Some key ideas that resonated with me
“programed for discovery rather than instruction”
What would the education system look like if the focus was discovery rather than instruction. Students in charge of their educational path with the educator as a coach rather than the divine being responsible for instruction. He speaks to the “historical conditioning” of industry specifically the newspaper industry but could the same not be said of the education industry? I contend we are historically conditioned to education being a passive endeavor with the instructor in control instead of the learner. With technology, could we shift that dynamic? Could we move to a collection of learners tracking at their speed and interest level?
It was also stated there are three pieces to education
Narrating, curating, and sharing
Interesting when you think about what Common Core is attempting to do with higher level thinking skills. If we move education to a process of narrating, curating, and sharing I believe we move from memorizing to understanding. For you can not articulate the learned skill without understanding, you can not curate without understanding application, and you can not share without deeper understanding of what you have discovered.
Now the deeper question is what is the barrier to adoption of technology in education?
Before defining digital citizenship I have to take a step back and define digital literacy for one builds on the other in my mind. Digital literacy is the understanding of how the devices work and how to use the devices along with understanding the content served up through technology. An example would be understanding Twitter not just as a limited character communication tool but understanding how to access, sort, store, manage and utilize the tool to your benefit. In print it would be understanding there is information on a page and having the ability to access and understand the information using the information to build out critical thinking skills.
Digital citizenship is how you engage with digital literacy. It is understanding the risks and benefits of technology to enhance your contribution to society. Risks such as privacy, bullying, image protection, copyright laws, and general engagement. Benefits such as time management, communication, engagement, and knowledge.
Digital citizenship is membership in the transformative community of technology and technology users. It comes with rights as well as responsibilities and a good digital citizen engages with the knowledge base and embarks on a path of continuing education around digital literacy. Digital citizenship is your footprint in technology from your smartphone to laptop and beyond. It is communication, understanding, debate, engagement, entertainment, knowledge, and growth.