Ethics in the Classroom – My Thoughts


Nearly all of the ethics material presented in class and read online is news to me.  I think that this is a very important topic and it is not discussed as much as it should be.  I think it is wonderful that elaborate and specific copyright laws and fair use practices have been established and enacted for today’s digital technologies.  These laws provide copyright protection of people’s ideas and creations and allow us to safely publish our works without fear of our ideas being stolen.  Twenty first century digital technologies are extremely user friendly and allow even those who are not tech savvy to participate in a wide range of online activities.  The entire world has become our stage with the powerful world-wide connectivity provided by the Internet.   This public exposure allows people to showcase their talents and has even launched new careers for some.  For example, Justin Bieber was discovered online as was a TJ Maxx fashionista that is featured in their commercials.  Sharing great ideas also inspires the birth of even more great ideas.

One of the things I learned is that anyone can publish a link to someone else’s website without restriction.  I had never considered the possibility that someone with ideas in opposition to your own could legally post to their website a link to your website or other published work.  It is my hope that people will also use morals and good judgment as a guide when they work online.

I will ensure that copyright laws are not violated in my classroom by trying to stay abreast of current copyright and fair use regulations.  Reading information from trusted online sources can be a great supplement to information provided by my school’s administrators and colleagues.   At the beginning of each school year, I would like to teach my students how the laws pertain to them.  A description of plagiarism accompanied by a warning and a consequence will also be discussed.  I would also like to find out more about plagiarism detecting software and how to use it.  I will try to instill in my students the importance of academic honesty.  I think it would be a good idea to create a Word document containing student guidelines and post it to a classroom Wiki and also have each student acknowledge the rules by signing a printed copy.  When I create assignments, I think it would be a good idea to include appropriate reminders of the copyright and fair use rules as they pertain to students.

In my classroom, I will make certain that my students adhere to the rules of software use.  For example, if the school has three copies of Adobe Illustrator, then I will make sure that there are no more than three students using the program at a time.  When assignments allow students to obtain information from the Internet, I will remind them of the rules that specifically apply to the task at hand, and I will remind them to cite the sources they use.  I will be interested in requiring students to apply concepts learned rather than simply recounting what they read.  Full length movies will not be shown in my classroom; I do not think they have academic value.  At most I might use movie clips from the television or or a similar site that offers free clips, but only to enrich our unit lesson.  Workbooks will be purchased for each student or we will not use them.  It is illegal to copy workbooks.  All material used in my classroom will be legally acquired.  I will also ensure that resources used in student assignments will not be posted back on the web unless the original owner’s permission is granted.  The library media specialist is allowed to make backup copies of multimedia disks that were purchased for use in my classroom, and I think it would be a great idea to do so.  I will be a role model for my students and model excellent ethical behavior.

I imagine that twenty years from now these rules and laws will be outdated and we will have put into effect all new rules and regulations.


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