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."

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