Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Learning the Hard Way

This weekend I learned something the hard way. Let me tell you the story...

Our story begins last Spring in early March.  I created a graphic for a presentation I was doing at CSTA (Community Schools Transformation Alliance - a group of local schools who come together to share ideas). I found the image on flikr and I cited the creator of the marker photo along the side of the photo at that time.  During Spring Break, I added the graphic to my blog, under the Staff Development tab.

I tweeted about new changes to my blog, including the new Staff Development tab. At that time, some people commented on how much the liked the graphic and retweeted it.  I didn't think much about it.  

Then, this weekend, I began to see my graphic on Twitter.  

I was totally flattered as I respect and admire both Erin and Jayme.  The original message of the graphic had stayed intact. It was then that I realized my mistake.  I had not added my name or Creative Commons license to the finished product (the photo plus background plus words).  So, I wasn't receiving credit for the graphic that I created.

I'm very conflicted about this.  My first thought was "Wow! There's my picture! Lots of people are seeing it and agreeing with the sentiment!" Then I thought "But they don't know I created it!". Then "Who cares?" Then "I care! I spent time creating that, I want people to know I did it!" And on and on it went.  I don't want to make money off the picture.  I would have licensed it as free to use or share with attribution. I love sharing my work.

When I created the graphic, I did not know much about Creative Commons licensing.  I learned more about it along with my students this past fall when we discussed copyright and intellectual property.  Since the fall, I've put a Creative Commons license on my graphics.  And I suppose I can still go and add it to my marker graphic but, as my Papa Crow would have said "That cow's already out of the barn".

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time you know that my WHY is helping or service.  I want to help as many teachers as I can.  In that way, I reach more students.  That's why it's important to me to have credit for my work.  If someone likes my graphic, they may find my blog or Twitter feed and I may be able to help them in some way.

Why bring it up? Because educators need to know about Creative Commons. We need to teach our students about it.  We need to model what we expect to see in the world. I believe that freely sharing ideas is important to a learning society. I believe in giving credit where credit is due.  And I tried to by citing the source of the picture. What I did not do was value my own work enough to add my name to it. To proudly proclaim, "I'm Aimee. I made this. I think it has value to my community."

Monday, January 13, 2014

Student Creation

What does it mean to create?


  [kree-eyt]  Show IPA
verb (used with object), cre·at·ed, cre·at·ing.
to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is notmade by ordinary processes.
to evolve from one's own thought or imagination, as a work of art or an invention.
Theater to perform (a role) for the first time or in the first production of a play.
to make by investing with new rank or by designating; constitute; appoint: to create a peer.
to be the cause or occasion of; give rise to: The announcement created confusion.
From Dictionary.com

What do we mean when we say "student creation"?  If we follow the definition above, any time a student uses his or her imagination they are creating.  Right?

But do we really value that definition?  Do we value everything student create?

I'm guessing we'd all say yes we value everything students create.

But, sometimes, the EdTech world does not value everything students create.  Or, perhaps more accurately, we value them differently.

A student created movie is way more impressive then a short story by that same student.

When we talk about students using technology to create we tend to focus on apps and tools that help students create exciting or flashy products.

Is it because apps and tools that help students create less flashy products are old hat? Are we over them?

I know that I'm more biased to writing. I'm a writer.  I love to write. I write for fun. I don't have many students who like to write or consider writing fun.  Almost all of them think making a movie is fun.  And it is.  But someone has to write the script.  We need to make sure we value that type of student creation as well.

Think about the last 3 tools you recommended to a teacher or  used in your own class.  What type of products did these tools help you students create? Let's work to value all types of student products.  (and not just technology based products either but, that's a post for another day)

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let's talk about it in the comments!

Friday, January 3, 2014

My 3 Words for 2014

Earlier this week, my friend Jennifer Hogan blogged about the 3 words that will guide her this year. Since last summer I have worked hard to stay focused on my WHY of SERVICE. After reading Jennifer's blog I thought it would be a great idea to focus on 3 words for this year. I chose 3 words that I can focus on in all areas of my life.

This one shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.  I want to make sure that I am serving others.  I want to serve my family, my church, the teachers in my building and district, my PLN, and anyone who needs my help.  I do love to serve but when I'm stressed or tired, I get crumpy when somone asks me to help.  That's not their fault.  They are usually asking because I've offered my help.  They don't know that I'm tired or stressed.  I really want to work on serving with a happy heart no matter what else is going on.

I want to focus on creating this year.  I almost put 'creating things of value' but I rethought that.  If I create it, it has value to me. Even if I don't use it or it's not my best work, the process of creating is valuable. My main outlet for creation is writing.  I am really loving writing for Getting Smart and I plan to continue that. I've gotten more regular at writing this blog and that makes me happy.  I have written a couple of children's books but I'd like to write a non-fiction book.  I don't know about what, that's still knocking around in my head.  I am having a lot of fun creating with canva.  I wouldn't not have categorized myself as a graphics creator but I am really enjoying it!

I almost chose calm for my 3rd word but that seemed boring and didn't really encompass what I'm feeling here.  I want to be more relaxed about who I am.  I'm becoming more and more comfortable in my own skin. I know you're not going to believe this but I'm a little high strung. I want to be more relaxed around my family and friends.  I pride myself on being a life long learner but sometimes I need some downtime to let my mind catch up and create.  I'm also looking forward to traveling more this year.  We already have a ski trip planned and a cruise may be in the works for my big birthday this summer.