Teaching Digital Ownership and Attribution


One thing I'm realizing about working with K-2 students before I've even started working with them is this: take that great goal, lesson, idea for middle schoolers and scale it back. For the last three years I've been working with students in grades 5-8 (half a year in a fifth grads clinical, half a year in student teaching in fifth grade, then two years in a middle school). It's been over three years since I've worked with the little ones! 

I met with the librarian yesterday and we started tossing around how doing a blogging project with our second graders would be fun. We talked a bit about which  forum to use and it got me wondering about pros and cons of early elementary blogging. When I googled it the first result was this article: http://blogs.goaj.org/blog/2014/03/31/teaching-k-2-students-about-attribution/

While meeting with the librarian we had briefly touched on Internet safety and netiquette, how they would fit into our year and how we could tie them into blogging. This article connects to netiquette in a way but it is more about ownership. As we put content on the internet there is the assumption that it is yours: no one is going to copy and paste this blog entry, or steal my tweet. 

One example of ownership issues that comes to my mind as a teacher are papers. I remember as a student my teachers and professors telling us they could check if we stole someone else's writing through a website. I also remember the very scary lectures on plagiarism. But now issues of ownership aren't just limited to term papers. They are much broader and apply to many areas. How though do you transfer the knowledge of ownership and respecting ownership to young students especially when they are and will be using digital tools in a variety of ways at a young age?

The site had the great idea of first having students create art work, then the teacher labels them with the wrong names and sees how the students react. You then build on that to explain ownership and attribution. For the sake of time (we only see each class once a week for 42 minutes)  it might be better to start off with artwork they had made previously. 

Building on this at Mrs. Barrett's blog (http://blogs.goaj.org/bbarrett/2014/04/02/attribution/) she explained how after her class did this activity, the students watched a video on attribution then created their own presentations on educreations about what they had learned. 

The funny thing, I thought as I added page links after their ideas, is that giving credit where credit is due is largely instinctual now. I want to give credit, I want my readers to find where I got my information from, and I want my readers to go read these other articles so they can see for themselves how awesome they are.

But for young students (and older ones) I don't think it's sunk in yet WHY providing citations and respecting property ownership is so important and that's why I love this activity. It's a very visual and emotional way of teaching them a lesson in a safe environment. 

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