The Educator's Guide to the Creative Commons

As not every teacher understands how to implement the Creative Commons into their curriculum, I thought I'd take a minute to explain how I would use it if I was in their shoes.

Step 1: Understand the rules of the Creative Commons.

  • These two videos give a pretty good description of what it is and why creative people like it.

  • The presentation that follows, created by Jessica Coates, also gives an excellent description of how to use Creative Commons in the classroom. Because she has licensed the presentation with a CC-Attribution license, I am able to include her presentation in this blog post (or distribute it anywhere else on the Internet) - without worrying about Fair Use or other copyright restrictions - given that I attribute her as the author of the presentation. These were the terms that she decided upon when she created her license.

Step 2: Use Creative Commons-licensed materials in my curriculum. There is a growing number of resources available online for finding Creative Commons-licensed materials. The list of directories maintained on the Creative Commons wiki, for example, is continually growing. To narrow the list down slightly, I'll list a few of my favorites here:
Step 3: Reuse, remix, and share my Creative Commons-licensed curriculum materials.
  • Remember: The Creative Commons makes it easy to understand when it's OK to reuse, remix, or share new content.
  • This blog is an example of how I share my ideas and materials. I've licensed everything I share here under a CC-Attribution-Share Alike license.

Step 4: Teach my students about Creative Commons while I also teach them about global collaboration, desktop publishing, why creativity is such an essential skill, and my core subject.
  • If I were teaching a core subject today, I would use Flickr to teach math, wikis to teach history, and Voicethreads to teach geography. In doing so, I not only teach the core content, but I teach my students a variety of other essential skills that might not be addressed by the core.
  • If I were teaching a core subject today, I would also use project-based learning far more than the sit-n-git techniques I used to employ. With that in mind, it is any wonder why I love the Creative Commons?
To close, what are your thoughts regarding the Creative Commons? How and why do you use it with your students?

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