Tag Archives: study skills

Teaching Copyright — Curriculum for Responsible Cyber Citizenship

Teaching Copyright

As today’s students delve more into technology and electronic communications, research, and reading materials, the more we have to ensure that they are using these responsibly.  While most districts focus their concerns on the proper use of social media, cyber bullying, and using Web 2.0 tools, we must remember to teach students their legal rights and obligations under copyright law and how these laws apply to electronic material.  This is where Teaching Copyright comes in.

A project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Teaching Copyright is a curriculum designed by educators to be taught in 5 different 60-minute lessons.  Each lesson covers a different aspect of copyright as it applies to the 21st century from basic definitions, to P2P (Peer to Peer) Sharing, through the concept of Fair Use.  Teachers are provided with clear lesson plans, handouts (with instructions on how to use them within copyright) and homework, project, and evaluations for students.

The lessons include:

  • Definitions of Copyright: What Do They Know?
  • A Brief History of Copyright and Innovation
  • Fair Use: Remix Culture, Mashups, and Copyright
  • Peer-to-Peer (P2P) File Sharing
  • Fair Use – You Be the Judge!

Not only do these lessons apply to students researching in class, but also will provide them information on projects they may be doing on their own.  More and more, they are playing on YouTube creating new videos and songs, or sharing different files either they have created or seen with friends.  All of these may be affected by copyright law and Teaching Copyright will help them to understand just how they will be permitted to use materials, where to obtain permissions, and most importantly how to protect themselves and the works they begin to create on their own.

With more and more states requiring education in these, and other technology areas, to retain funding, Teaching Copyright provides a quick and easy way in which to deliver these topics and keep in compliance with the new regulations.  Use these lessons either in your Library Media Center or in an English or Language Arts setting as students begin research.  All of the five lessons stand-alone or could be used as a weeklong thematic assignment/introduction.

Also of Interest:  After, or as part of these lessons, direct students to Creative Commons where they can create their own binding copyrights for their creative designs, photos, printed works, etc.

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Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Tips & Tricks, Websites


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Gauge Your Distraction — Texting While Driving

The Dangers of Texting While Driving

This is a great site and game to use anywhere, but most likely in a Health or Physical Education setting, especially in a Driver’s Education class.  The New York Times has created a game that helps you gauge your levels of distraction while you read and respond to text messages while driving.

Since this is a simulation on a computer, there are added constraints and difficulties that most students will complain is not realistic.  For example, you receive a text and must respond to a question by replying to the text with the exact words used – the question is “Would you like to go out before or after lunch?” and the answer must be one of the two bold words as they appear; no “b4” since the program will not recognize that!  The other complaint would be that users have to individually click each letter in a text reply as there is no auto-complete option!  While we know that most people, especially our students, do not text this way the added complexity does help to re-enforce the idea that increased distraction occurs while driving and trying to multi-task in any way.

As they proceed through Gauge Your Distraction, students will have to use one hand to change lanes – the driving – and their mouse for texting.  This causes them to force both hands to work simultaneously and therefore both sides of their brain!  The game has no time limits in place and will end after three texts are successfully viewed and responded to.  At all times the “car” will have to switch lanes, even while the text is open but the time taken to respond to the text is recorded.  This is not visible to the player until the end of the game, however.

After the third text is successfully send to the game, the car will stop and the results will be recorded.  Average response time, both to the text and the lane switching (“driving”) are displayed along with the user’s percent of distraction.  This is compared to the scientific data recorded and links to articles and studies for further reading and research.

While Gauge Your Distraction is a game, it does promote and give students some hands on experience with texting and driving in a safe environment.  Even outside of the Health classroom, this game would be a great segue into talking about multi-tasking and/or distractions in a study skills class or even a discussion in any class about concentration, time management, problem solving, or decision making.

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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Tips & Tricks, Websites


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Patrick’s Just Math Tutorials

Just Math Tutorials

Short, sweet and to the point.  That’s how many students want their information today, and Partick provides just that for math.  A college instructor of mathematic for over 15 years, Partick has created a series of literally hundreds of math tutorials for all levels from basic arithmetic through algebra, trigonometry, calculus to the complex subject of differential equations.  There’s even a little probability and statistics thrown in for good measure.

If you have a student who just “doesn’t get it” when it comes to some of the principles, theorems, or practices in your math class, this is a great resource to have.  Sometimes having a different explanation can help.  Sometimes a different presentation format is the key.  Perhaps viewing something like this several times is the key for that student to understand the concepts.  Patrick can handle it all for you.  With his quirky nature, right down to the masking tape on his “nerd” glasses, he is able to quickly and succinctly explain complicated mathematical concepts for students and adults alike.

The homepage of JMT utilizes a menu bar across the top to allow you to select the course you would like help in.  Once to that section of the page, the tutorials follow a basic outline from the simplest concepts through to the more complicated.  Clicking a link will take you to a second page where an embedded video will play and suggestions for up to 5 more tutorials will be made for additional help.  The one big downside to using this site directly in the classroom is that the embedded videos are linked directly from YouTube, and as a result, may be blocked by your school’s filtering program.  Check with your building principal or IT Department about this.  Of course, this might only be a minor inconvenience as there are several programs that will allow you to parse the video from the site and play it in a stand alone player (I prefer DownloadHelper in Mozilla Firefox and then playing the video in a standalone Flash or Quicktime player.)

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Posted by on October 9, 2012 in Websites


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Getting the Most Out of Google


While perusing the Internet this weekend, I came across a fantastic infographic from  Most of our students when they research, if not taught to or told to use the library database and search engine, immediately head off to Google.  Too many times they simply type in a couple words and his search, or as I have seen too many times they type in verbatim from the assignment the question they need to answer or they will type a question as though they were asking a friend for an answer.

Because of Google’s algorithm, the results with these types of searches can often yield a great deal of irrelevant information and sometimes information from disreputable or questionable sources.  How do you avoid this?

Did you know that you can:

  • Search only specific sources?  (use site:)
  • Search for related terms (i.e. college, university, higher education) at the same time? (use a ~)
  • Find only specific file types, such as a .pdf? (use filetype:)
  • Get results from only specific years or dates?  (set up a range search)
  • ONLY search scholarly, peer-reviewed journals? (use Google Scholar)

These tips and many more can be found in the infographic below.  Either print as a poster or pull what you need  for an instruction sheet or cheat sheet for students.  Don’t forget to include the additional search tools you can use right from the Google search bar like:

  1. Define
  2. Calculator
  3. Time & Unit Conversion
  4. Translator

Also included are keyboard shortcuts that are valuable when navigating searches or various tabs and windows and for taking screenshots for trouble shooting or displaying search results of screens for presentations later.

Just make sure that if you do use this graphic later, please please please follow their Creative Commons copyright requests!

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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Infographics, Tips & Tricks


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