Students, Copyright and Writing Cover Letters

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Within the context of this Jigsaw creation unit, letter writing is included as a function of the process.  When a student has polished a Jigsaw and it is time to upload it to the classroom Blog he or she will (should) write to the author of the photograph even though Morguefile images are copyright free.

Why Should Students Always Acknowledge Copyright?

Writing to authors to ask permission to use an image, or to acknowledge the use of an image, should become a habit.  If students develop this habit of honesty and gratitude they will benefits themselves.  This is simply because they are cultivating the habit of honesty.

Student’s Expect The Copyright of Their Work To Be Respected

So what happens if a student is cruising the web and finds one of his or her artworks on a website with no acknowledgement?  Students have a right to be respected in the same way that they respect others. Finding their work unacknowledged in this way presents another opportunity to write a polite letter.  Asking Politely for Credit  (Download Template and Print)

The Habit of Honesty

A habit of honesty will valance each student towards personal safety because

  • If an photographer happens upon their image they will see the link to their name and not feel cheated.   An atmosphere of cooperation and trust will emerge. “Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you,” is after all an old maxim.
  • At any time the skill of attribution is needed, the student will already has this acquired habit as a trait and it will be an automatic part of any exercise.
  • The web is a kind of ecology, and therefore the better we behave the better the no_osphere will be.  This is one of the meanings of sustainability: to tend the system so that it will gain in strength and capacity.  Any time we acknowledge and appreciate others, we are strengthening the system on which we depend.
  • If students acknowledge original sources they will never be caught short accidentally plagiarising.  People can be banned from any community for doing this.  To over-compensate by always acknowledging is always better than being lazy.   One day someone might just get “caught short.”
  • If you have a Privacy Statement and a Fair Use Statement on work classroom Blog with a contact email so that people can ask questions a persona’s of honesty will be created.  If at any time people feel cheated each student and the class group will have built up a kind of piggy bank of honesty.  People will take the whole class record of honesty and weigh it against any little mistake that has accidentally occurred. In this way a feel of trust and support will act like an aura around the class.
  • I recommend forwarding the statements to the Principle of the school as this will reassure the leader that you have thought through the implications of all aspects of Blogging in the Classroom.

This project has been designed for middle years schooling as a project based inquiry.  It can be adapted and used as a project in any upper elementary, middle school, or high school class.

Together, teacher and students, will work together to hone their letter writing skills improving and strengthening thinking and communication skills.

As they work in this project based fashion students will be given opportunities to:

  • Analyze, review, and practice letter writing
  • Use technology to type, spell check, and prepare their letters in proper form
  • Understand the difference between a range of letter writing styles and their function
  • Relate what has been learned to its importance within the context of their daily lives
  • Develop an awareness of authors, photographers, artists and learn to express appreciation  for their talent
  • As the student writes and sends letters they can upload them to a writing folio.  They will then act as a resource and students can look back over the range of letters for new ideas or to refresh old ideas ensuring they know how to go about acknowledging the work of others on an ongoing basis.


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