How you act online is important. Not just because everything is stored, backed up, and freely available to anyone with a keyboard. But because your online reputation is actually just your reputation. There’s really no difference between online and offline anymore.
In an effort to keep everyone behaving, Microsoft has just unveiled a new (free) curriculum that’s all about digital citizenship, intellectual property rights, and creative content. It offers cross-curricular classroom activities that align with the AASL and ISTE national academic standards. So far, more than 6,500 people have registered to use the curriculum. No matter how you feel about Microsoft, this free offering is worth checking out. You’ll have to register an account but after that it’s easy to find, select, download, and implement some of the objectives presented.
How It Works
Four units comprise the curriculum resources. Each unit consists of standalone yet complementary lesson plans that play off a creative rights scenario presented through a case study. Four units comprise the curriculum resources. Each unit consists of standalone yet complementary lesson plans that play off a creative rights scenario presented through a case study.
Each unit has 4-6 of these project-oriented activities, one of which serves as the culminating lesson for the unit. Guiding questions help set the expectation for what students learn, and pre/post assessments establish baseline knowledge to gauge student learning. Modification and Extension suggestions recommend ways to abridge or expand the activities within the unit, and provide tips for engaging parents and peers outside of the classroom.
The following is simply a description of each unit followed by the learning objectives for that particular unit. You’ll have to register to download the actual units (PDF format).
Unit One: Creative What?
This unit explores the general topics of intellectual property, creative content, and creative rights. Using the backdrop of a high school’s Battle of the Bands, the unit will help students define intellectual property and creative content by relating it to a common scenario they might encounter. Students will begin to recognize and internalize the importance of respecting creative rights, conduct their own research to better understand the relevance of creative content to their lives, and help clear up confusion about the rights that apply to them and their peers.
Student Learning Objectives
- Associate intellectual property with various legal rights to protect creative content.
- Utilize research techniques to determine public awareness of, and misconceptions about, intellectual property; effectively present their evaluation of data; and identify and share complexities and consequences related to violating creative rights.
- Understand the importance of copyright laws and fair use exceptions of media reproduction, modification, distribution, public performance, and public display; determine effective steps to take when they discover unauthorized use of intellectual property; and recognize the importance of developing safeguards that will help them avoid copyright law violations.
- Differentiate between commercial media products that are in the public domain and those that are protected under copyright laws; recognize and follow the protocols for obtaining the rights to use copyrighted material; and determine how best to develop a multiedia presentation within the parameters of copyright laws, as well as available time and equipment.
- Use various information sources to determine how issues of intellectual property such as creative content are locally relevant; and answer personal questions, solve local problems, and impact local issues of copyright, fair use, and intellectual property.
Unit Two: By Rule Of Law
Intellectual property is a valuable commodity, and thus, those who develop creative content are protected by laws in the United States and around the world. In this unit, students explore creative content copyright and learn about the rights they have as creators and the laws that exist to protect the creative process. The unit’s activities encourage students to form opinions about what’s right, what’s wrong, and how the laws affect them as creators, consumers, and good digital citizens.
Student Learning Objectives
- Recognize the consequences for illegal downloading and copying and why these consequences exist, and apply understanding from a real downloading court case and outcome to create their own consequence and/or law.
- Recognize the components and key characteristics of an effective user agreement; synthesize learning and apply it to a real-world problem – i.e., the challenge of creating a user agreement; and evaluate work based on a set of established criteria.
- Recognize the potential risks of using counterfeit software and other forms of intellectual property, evaluate and explain the relative risks associated with both original and counterfeit goods, and translate understanding of risks to others who may be less familiar with them.
- Connect the creative process behind gaming software with creative content and present the game creation process visually for the benefit of others.
- Summarize knowledge of creative content, how it can be used, and how it can be protected; distinguish between instances of fair use of creative content and violations of copyright law; understand the socio-cultural factors contributing to behaviors, policies, and systems; and suggest policies that will help avoid copyright violations.
- Recognize similarities and differences among copyright laws in different countries; collaborate with other students to create a plan for standardizing copyright laws around the globe; and recognize the value of developing a consensus for solving problems.
Unit Three: Calling All Digital Citizens
Copyright and other creative rights empower the artists, musicians, and writers who produce creative works. But how does the prevalence of online media — and its ease of access — change the conversation about those rights? With social media as the backdrop, this unit explores that very question, as the students learn more with the Digital Citizenship in Schools curriculum. Students analyze the use of creative content on social media Web sites, recognize the responsibilities involved with using these media, and form their own opinions about what makes a good digital citizen.
Student Learning Objectives
- Relate the concepts of copyright and creative content to social media, analyze how copyright issues affect the creative content on social media sites, and establish a set of rules on digital citizenship for young people that consider the rights of creators when using social media sites.
- Identify the process to obtain copyright permission for a specific type of creative content, analyze the efficiency and effectiveness of common processes, and recommend changes to common permission request processes.
- Draw conclusions about young people’s opinions on creative content, creative rights, and fair use related to social media; state their own opinions about creative content, creative rights, and fair use related to social media via video blog; and use persuasive language to influence their school peers.
Unit Four: Protect Your Work, Respect Your Work
This unit explores the theme of protecting creative content through a series of experiential activities. Students learn how to protect their own creative works and how to use other people’s creative works in a fair and legal manner. They explore issues related to originality and plagiarism, and then have a chance to become agents of change in the culminating activity by developing a public service announcement.
Student Learning Objectives
- Define intellectual property; distinguish among different forms of creative content, and distinguish between the creator and the intellectual property owner; complete the copyright filing process or Creative Commons licensing in order to better understand the legal rights associated with both; and understand what constitutes original work.
- Understand that they should seek permission to use someone else’s creative content, unless permission has already been given, an exception like fair use applies, or a Creative Commons license permits the use; compose a letter to obtain permission to use someone else’s creative work on a personal Web page; and compare and contrast their letter of request with a legally binding template to ensure that their request is thorough.
- Determine the qualities that characterize an advertisement as being original, inspired by other works, or plagiarizing other works; create an advertising campaign that is original, inspired, or plagiarized, depending on assignment; and evaluate one another’s work to determine whether the work is original, inspired, or plagiarized.
- Define intentional and accidental plagiarism, and compare the consequences of accidental plagiarism and intentional plagiarism.
- Critique public service announcements, state their opinions about creative rights, and develop a public service announcement to support their opinions and influence their peers.