Happiness in teaching

I’ve been doing this ‘first day of school’ experience for many, many years. It’s always the same, and yet it’s always so different. There’s the anticipation, the excitement, the nervous energy, the dreams that drive the passion, and the preparation before the students arrive. Then the happiness happens! The students stream in and sit down. Eyes turn to you, and it begins. I take a deep breath, release it slowly, and get things rolling.

What I do next has changed every year, with every new class, with the individuals in the room. Even though it’s been planned, I shift and adjust as the group responds. I make fluid decisions as we work together to learn about each other. The activities are the catalyst for the conversations and relationships that we need to co-construct. These will begin on the first day, and build into the first week, to extend into a year of learning together. The first day, and the first week, is where happiness in teaching should happen.

IMG_3945There are many educators who believe that the first month should be one of rules and routines. “Don’t smile until December” is something I’ve heard often enough! That’s one ‘rule’ I’m willing to break, in my effort to build relationship and get to know my students on a personal level. Learning their names, even when it’s a large group, is so important. Structuring the climate of the classroom is also important – will there be engagement and fun, or will it be work first, laugh later? I’m happy to say, my students already know my weakness for a chuckle, and my bias about the term ’21st Century’. IMG_3947There’s been some serious thinking happening in the first week of work, some shifting in the seats as we tackle some complex concepts – just how do you define media or digital literacy? just what is this critical digital literacy thing all about? But when you start your course or your class with shoe selfies stories and lego mini-fig fun, you can’t help but feel happiness in the media making moments!

As I begin to learn about these students, who will learn with me in the coming months or year, I look at the happiness each one will bring to their own classrooms in the future – since my students are preservice teachers, also called teacher candidates. They will bring happiness into their classrooms if they’ve experienced happiness in their own learning. I’m not saying there won’t be tough topics and challenging times ahead. We all know it’s going to be complex and complicated. That’s the nature of this work we call teaching. But the happiness and joy of ‘learning’ should be in the mix of events or activities that are planned. There should be opportunities for student agency and ownership, choice and voice, immersed into the classroom tasks. As students engage with topics, there are moments to move beyond the mundane, and connect to positive emotions in the work being done. Where do they find happiness in learning and when do you find happiness in your teaching?

This image of joy helps – the Dalai Lama talks to Bishop Desmond Tutu about this topic!

What’s your ‘happiness is’ moment in your classroom teaching context?

Where do you find those ‘eyes wide open’ moments in your teaching?

Leave a comment below to share a first days of school “happiness is…” moment.

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CC Certification – use and create

6819454104_12c8bbd9c7_oIn Unit 4 of the Creative Commons Certification course, topics include using CC licensed works, choosing and applying a CC license, considerations after selecting a CC license, and remixing CC licensed works. Each section extends my understanding of what it means to create and share with Creative Commons licensing in mind. With a specific focus on what ‘no derivatives’ means, and how it limits the sharing of adaptations in open access and OER, I am now able to visualize how to use and apply the ND licensing designation. The metaphor used in this module, of creating a smoothie or a TV dinner style production helps clarify the difference between an adaptation and a collection. Thanks to Nate Angell‘s description, it’s making more sense now.

With the module discussions and quizzes completed, it was time to create and use with CC licensed materials. I decided to try producing a course trailer, a teaser, for one of the upcoming courses I teach. I searched for a creative way to present some basic information to engage students while entertaining them about media and digital literacies. After some searching, I settled on using lego mini-figures to tell a story about the course, aiming for a 60 second video clip with music and text. Collecting a variety of images from Pixabay and Unsplash was fairly easy, while the sequence of the story started to evolve, based on the images I was finding.

4.4.3 cc compatabilityTo fulfill the requirements of the assignment for this module, I searched Flickr for CC licensed images as well. As a result of the CC compatibility chart that was presented in this module, I was aware of the types of licensed materials I would gather. Here it became more challenging since I limited my search to only images that were CC-BY, because I wanted to license the resulting video as CC-BY, as well as make image annotations to enhance the video production. Many of the images I found were SA, NC, or ND licensed, so they were not selected for this project. As I collected images, I kept a running record that included a brief image description, T.A.S.L (title, author, source, license) information, and annotations created. I used this to create the sequenced image listing for the completed video, in order of appearance. I posted this image listing in a view-only location, and attached the link on the final video.

Locating an engaging audio track was next. Again, I limited my search on Free Music Archive to CC0 or CC-BY instrumental tracks that were just over one minute in length. Getting caught in the listening enjoyment of so many possible tracks, to make a decision, was the biggest challenge. So many to chose from!

The last task was to pull it all together, make some strategic image annotations to engage the ‘viewer’, trim each image and text feature to meet the projected time limits, create a lead-in title, list the CC-BY licensed images in the rolling credits, and produce the final video. Job accomplished! Here is the video trailer I’ve created, licensed CC-BY, 4.0:

The full listing of all images and resources can be found in the information section of the video and also linked here.

Image Attribution:

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CC Certification – NC and SA

Both the Non-Commercial (NC) restriction of the Creative Commons licenses and the Share-Alike (SA) condition of the licenses are poorly understood by many CC users. I’ll use my current context as a teacher educator to respond to these prompts, since it will help me clarify and communicate this information to colleagues and students.

  1. How would explain the issues with NC to a person choosing to use a CC license for the first time? 

ncCreative Commons licensing that designates works as non-commercial means that anyone using those materials cannot make ANY money for the reuse or reprinting of that content. As a teacher educator, employed in a higher education institution, I need to consider possible scenarios where money could be made using course materials I create that includes items designated with an NC license. For example:

  • I can use NC licensed materials in my course content, only if I am not making any money from this work (not including the remuneration I receive as an instructor).
  • If I were to charge additional funds for these course materials or sell additional services from these materials, I could not use any items with an NC license designation.
  • As an educator, I cannot make any money if I print OER materials for my students that contain NC licensed images or content. This must be done on a cost recovery basis only.
  • If I am asked to present for a local organization, even for a few minutes, even if it’s done with remuneration in kind, I cannot use any materials or content, or anything I use for that purpose, that has an NC designation.
  • If I will be making money on a publication or book chapter I create, I cannot use anything that has an NC license attached.
  1. How would you explain the way SA works to a person choosing to use a CC license for the first time?

saThe share-alike (SA) Creative Commons license designation is a way to say to others – this is my work, I’m sharing it with you, if you use it, you need to share it too! This is a way to ensure your work as an author, artist, creator, is also shared by others who may use your works in a remix or revision. When SA is present on a shared work, those who use that image, icon, music clip or creation are required to also share their version of what they’ve created with your material. This ensures a sustainable, sharing culture and enriches your credibility as a creator, in that your original work is attributed in each new version.

As a teacher educator, I can revise and remix materials that are SA, and share them openly, with attribution, as part of my course materials. If these materials are published openly on a course site, then your works, as the original creator, are forever linked to my remixed revisions. If these remixes are posted to an LMS site (learning management site) for student use, I need to also consider posting to an open URL location (blog, website, Instagram, Flickr, etc.) in order to ensure that I am honouring the spirit and intention of the CC SA license. It’s a provocation to share-alike, but one that cannot be denied, since it’s a layer over your rights as the copyright holder.

CC SA meme

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Anatomy of a CC License

This video production is part of the Creative Commons Certification course. This assignment submission is a brief anatomy of CC licenses, the three layers, the four elements, the six combinations, and includes some basic information about the CC license generator. There is more about how CC licenses are impacted by fair use, CC Zero designations, and works in the public domain.

The two images of the Creative Commons lapel pins are

  1. “CC lapel pins” flickr photo by hj_dewaard https://flickr.com/photos/143825674@N02/30064665718 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
  2. “CC lapel pins B&W” flickr photo by hj_dewaard https://flickr.com/photos/143825674@N02/43215144834 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

This video is Creative Commons licensed. All images, music and text are attributed at the end of the video and are CC-BY. The music is licensed CC-BY-NC.

Creative Commons License
Anatomy of a CC License by H.J. DeWaard is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at Adobe Spark.

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CC Certification – discussion post

Creative Commons and Copyright

For this response, I’m using my particular context, as a teacher educator in a higher education institution. Since the focus for this discussion is on how Creative Commons licenses work within copyright law, I’ll focus on how these two impact my work as a teacher educator in creating and using course materials.

  1. How would you explain the relationship between Creative Commons and copyright law to someone new to Creative Commons? What kinds of examples would you use?

Copyright comes first! As an educator, author or creator, the minute I fix my conception, idea, image into a tangible format (draw, create, make, record), I own the rights to that work. As a teacher educator, the copyright comes first for all the work created by others that I wish to use in my course of study with preservice teachers.

Fair use is a semi permeable layer on top of copyright! As a teacher, I can fairly use materials that others have created and have copyrighted. When teaching in the classroom or in an online course, I can use, share and reference some of this material. There are limitations, so this layer can only stretch so far. It is somewhat permeable since there are specific rules applied to what I use, where I use it, and how I share copyrighted materials. This can limit me when creating course content and materials.

Creative Commons is a set of coloured overlays that surround the copyrighted materials I have created or that I can use in my teaching. The colours and applications vary, depending on the license designation and use. First, I need to identify and separate the stuff I make and create from the pile of stuff other people have created and made. For my own creation, I can include a Creative Commons license on my works (unless bound by my employer’s policies on copyright) so it can be shared in the ways I choose e.g. CC BY. For the work created by others, I need to examine how they want their work to be used and respect that designation when I use it in my course materials. If it’s licensed with Creative Commons overlays, then I can use all, some, or none, based on their sharing requirements. If the works are OER, then I am not bound by the fair use requirements. If they are not, then I can stretch the fair use layer over the materials I wish to use in my teaching. The total colour effect of the CC overlays will determine the overall effect on the complete ‘body of work’ I can include in my course.

  1. Give an example of the common struggles educators face in accessing and/or using & sharing OER.

One challenge or struggle for educators is determining the original copyright of the material they wish to use, particularly for commonly used content, and then figuring out which overlays apply to that work. Often, it is not clear, or has not been designated by the creator of the material, how it can be used. For example, I have only recently started using CC licenses on the materials I create. For earlier materials, that I have posted online, it will not be clear to others how I wish to share or the original sources for the information.

I have not always attended to the CC license on the works I’ve integrated into the works I’ve used. As with many other educators, the fair use overlay has created opaque understandings about what is copyrighted and what is not. When I use material in my course that is available on the web, it does not mean it is CC licensed or that it is OER. When I create an open, online repository as a course, it does not mean that others can necessarily use or share this material since there are fair use issues that they may not be able to see or understand.

Another issue that educators face is the open vs. closed learning management system (LMS) in which learning and teaching often takes place. This is like putting a black overlay over top of the copyrighted material, making it unsearchable and out of sight for all, except those with the code to see inside. There may be great materials available, that are CC licensed, in an LMS, such as this CC course for example, which are not accessible without an account or log-in credentials. Unless this same course material is posted to an open, password free, accessible URL location, then it is not searchable, usable, sustainable, or remixable for my educational purposes. Educators who only teach from within an LMS are limiting their sharing from behind the black curtain or invisible overlay. The materials used in the LMS may be copyrightable, fair use shared, or creative commons created, but they are bound in ways that limit rather than permit.

yoda meme     As a teacher educator who is passionate about modelling open educational practices and pedagogies, but who is bound by institutional requirements, there are limitations to where, when, and how I share course materials with my students, and with others who are interested in the same topics. I have published course materials on open web sites for each course I’ve taught, but the challenge that I now face, is ensuring that this can be sustained, maintained, accessed through open licensing, and supported within the structures of my institutional policies and mandates. This CC Certification course is making CC licensing and copyright adherence very clear to me.

There is much work I need to do to get my CC licensed house in order!

 

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10 Things About Copyright

This infographic is a submission for Unit 2 in the Creative Commons Certification Course.

Copyright and Me

You can also access this infographic from the Canva location where it was created. All images are from openly accessible sites such as Pixabay and Unsplash. All information is from the Creative Commons Certification course material.

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Creativity and Copyright

Here is my response for week two and three for the Creative Commons certification course.

The Purpose of Copyright

In order to consider either of these rationales as a dominant or over-arching reason for creative production, it would mean an individual, in the process of putting thought or idea to paper, canvas, or computer, would need to have a reason for doing so. I’m not sure, in the act of fixing the idea to tangible medium, that the greater common good or personal monetary gain is on their minds. There may be some consideration of audience, but even that doesn’t usually come into play until the creation is completed. I’m connecting to Jonathan’s comments about a ‘singer’s gotta sing’. So the greater common good may be a factor after the fact, but not as the works are being crafted. Most author’s will admit, perhaps reluctantly, that they’re not writing for fame and fortune. Other than perhaps Nora Roberts or Stephen King, that may be fact.

Some creators gain so much more by giving works away for free. Jonathan mentions Cory Doctorow but my favourite example is Jonathan Worth – a photographer who’s photographs (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. and Selfless selfie (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. campaign caught attention and catapulted him to both fame and fortune.

As an educator, I’m cognizant of copyright and the limitations this places on use of works created by others when teaching. It’s interesting that many teachers do not consider their creations (lesson plans, great art ideas, songs they create for their students) as having a copyright attached they minute it is fixed in a tangible medium. Not that there’s money to be made, unless you’re posting your worksheet or creative ideas to Teacher’s Pay Teachers (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (don’t get me started on the underlying reasons for this!), teachers tend to just share as common practice. Applying a CC-BY or CC-BY-NC on their stuff could go a long way to at least acknowledge the source of this great idea, for the common good.

Creativity and Copyright

Creativity doesn’t always build on the past, but the past is certainly fodder for creative inspiration. Inspiration comes from anywhere, anytime, with or without others present. A walk in the woods can be inspiration. A conversation with a friend, when you’re attentively listening, can be inspiration. There may be some unconscious element that springboards the ideas, or something you’ve done before that makes a connection that wasn’t there before. There are unique human qualities in some individuals that allows this to happen a lot, while others, like myself, need something to be our inspiration. I tend to use works created by others as a mechanism to re-mix and repurpose to create something new. Does that make me creative? Maybe. I couldn’t say if someone else could combine two or three elements together in quite the same way I do, or create an image, narrative, or sound in the exact sequence I could. I think that how we define ‘creativity’ will ultimately determine if my work is unique or has been recomposed from the past.

I do think that ending copyright is required so more works can be enjoyed. I’m thinking about the work the Rijksmuseum (Links to an external site.) is doing to bring art into the public realm, and how this can become a springboard for others who may never travel to see classic works of art. Someone from remote or distant places can enjoy and marvel at these works, view the collection online (Links to an external site.), and potentially build on, recombine from, or create anew from one or many of the art pieces in this online exhibit.

One of the accommodations to copyright is the public library, public art galleries, or public performances, where works can be purchased or paid for, as a way to provide a return on inspiration (ROI) for the creator, but also allow members of the public to view, read, and enjoy. This becomes a way to work around the constrictions of copyright. But this requires a consistent commitment by public agencies and the general public to put funds toward arts and creative works.

As a teacher, I appreciated the ability to apply fair dealing or fair use. While the rules and tests of this exception can be challenging for any educator, it still gives permission for engaging in conversations and dialogue, without fearing to be in breach of copyright. Some teachers fail to clearly understand how the fair dealing rules work, or have a basic understanding of copyright as it applies to their work in the classroom.

If the length of copyright is extended well beyond the life of the creator by 70+ more years, the impact on society in general will be more litigious action by more owners or survivors, who aim to continue milking the creative works, to which they have no other vested interest other than monetary gain. There will be overly cautious creators who won’t put their works out into any public venue for fear of being sued for copyright violation. Creativity will go underground. It’ll be the end of the open, shared culture we see today in global contexts, with Creative Commons.

I’ll connect the project for the end of week three here when it is completed.
Resource Collection from the course
The Era of Fake Video Begins – the digital manipulation of video may make the current era of “fake news” seem quaint. May, 2018.
Fair Use evaluator – USA context
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CC Cert – Week 1

creative-commons-785334_1280I’ve begun work on the Creative Commons Certification course, so will post my work and reflections here. This is a personal passion for me, as it should be in my global, sharing culture. This first week was a review of the Creative Commons movement and licensing system, much of which I’ve previously read or knew. There were some videos that caught my attention, which I’ll post here. The assignment for this week included creating a video or slide show about key events in the creation of Creative Commons. This information helps frame the rest of the course and builds my understanding of the context for the licensing system.

Listening to Larry Lessig also provided some insights into the historical context for the Commons.

After completing this module, I created a slide show in Buncee (something I’ve not used before and wanted to try). Here is the presentation.

https://app.edu.buncee.com/buncee/65fddad2c8224f3e9c680f5c2a5eb988

On to week two – all about copyright.

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