Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Know and Protect Your Copyrights

My very bad drawing of a unicorn
recent article by the Washington Post drew a different type of attention to President Trump's latest cartoon tweet. While national TV news broadcasts focused on the inflammatory nature of the image, the Post explored the origins of the cartoon.

The original editorial cartoon was drawn by Indianapolis Star cartoonist Gary Varvel. Since Gary and I taught together several years ago, I recognized the drawing as his style. It seems several others recognized his work and wondered about his views on the President's commentary.

This incident provides educators a great opportunity to remind students that reworks, mashups and covers all need permission and attribution from original sources. Copyright infringement occurs frequently and without thinking. Fortunately the Indianapolis Star has some influence and resources to protect it's brand, though I doubt they will get far against the White House. Individual artists have little to no resources for addressing copyright infringement.

While the law can be difficult to understand, Copyright Kids provides a simple explanation with links and resources, including curriculum for teachers.

Note: The photo is a drawing of a unicorn I made at the request of a K5 class. No one has asked to reproduce it.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Finding Audio to Supplement Lessons

Forget Spotify, the Internet Archive has thousands of digital copies of old 78 RPM vinyl records available for your listening pleasure.

They also have an extensive collection of presidential and World War II recordings. With a little research, you can find audio files to supplement almost any subject area.

Most files are available to download so you can listen to them while jogging or away from an Internet connection. I also enjoyed hearing all the little scratches and audio imperfections inherent in a vinyl recording.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Throwback Thursday: The Early Internet

The Internet was a much smaller place 25 years ago. We didn't even agree on what to call it!

In case you forgot how clunky web pages were, visit The Internet Archive Way Back Machine. This website stores snapshots of previous web page versions. You can scroll through a timeline and see what the website's main page looked like previously.

While this jaunt down memory lane may seem bizarre to anyone not old enough to remember a world without the "Information Superhighway", it can give a better picture of our digital evolution. Early sites were light on graphics and video was not even present. Content was king and visual appeal barely a consideration. And yet many of the familiar elements were present in an embryonic form.

Enjoy this NBC News clip from 1993...

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tues Tech Tip: Careful Planning Never Changes

Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. In our instant gratification world, the art of careful planning sometimes seems all but forgotten. A few moments planning before an activity or event allows for the best user experience (UX). The following is an excerpt from Educating the Twentieth-Century Youth by Anna Verona Dorris, reprinted in 1995 from an original article in the 1950s.
Educating the twentieth-century youth. What a colossal undertaking! ... We must recognize that this twentieth-century age with all its magical scientific achievements has revolutionized life and living. Change, change, everything has changed-is constantly changing the world over. Nothing is the same as "yesterday." A new civilization has dawned; new problems confront us; a new type of youth with different standards, with different ideals, and with different ambitions greets us here, there, and everywhere.
Yet as everything around us seems to be changing at a rampant pace, careful planning and organization are skills that benefit every one of us. Check out this training video from the 1950s and see how many of the tips are still useful when preparing to show a large group video.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Media Monday: Do Something Dangerous

Do you know that many of our fears are unfounded? Pressing the button probably won't blow up your computer or take down the Internet. Here's a short clip from a book author who encourages parents to let their children do dangerous things...

Have you done something dangerous lately? Let's be bold and daring, confidently standing on the truth ...so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ...

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

What is an Appropriate Email Response Time?

Can you imagine waiting for a letter to arrive by Pony Express? 
Ever miss a meeting because the only notification was an email ten minutes before it started? It's easy to blame the recipient for not waiting in earnest expectation of our unsolicited message, but the reality is that email takes time to read.

It used to be that the standard email response time was one day. But in our fast paced, instant gratification world, that expectation has plummeted. In fact, according to one blog/survey the current expected email response time is one hour!