The challenge of being a creator

Intellectual property is a critical topic nowadays. We are surrounded by information and just pressing ‘enter’, we will be directed to millions of sites trying to solve our doubts. It’s really easy to just take and use whatever comes and finish our work. But,  are we aware of the quality of information, is true or fake? who is the owner or creator? Is it trustable? Is it accurate?

All these years, I have tried different strategies to create awareness about academic honesty and intellectual property. I have organized sessions with teachers to talk about plagiarism, academic honesty, citation and referencing. I had these meetings at the beginning of the academic year, as sessions of Professional development and even a Libguides about it.  Moreover,  I had many sessions with students, especially grade 11 and 12 before and while writing the Extended Essay. So many different trials but I can’t still say that they were effective. Why is it not working? These are some of my reasons:

  1. Collaboration between teachers and librarians

When we talked about intellectual property, we are talking about the use of copyright and plagiarism. The IB will use the concept of ‘Academic Honesty’, I will prefer to say ‘Academic writing’. I prefer to focus on the positives practices that will drive students to good research practices and develop lifelong habits.  Is it a librarians job? Is it a teacher’s job? No. A librarian cannot replace or change what teachers are suggesting to their students.  As Silvia Rosenthal Tolisisano explains educators are responsible to model good digital citizenship for their students. So, it a collaborative work between teachers,  librarians, and IT staff. It won’t be successful if only one part is involved. It’s a common goal. But, as educators, Are we an example of good practices? Are we acknowledging sources?

2. Standards as a part of the curriculum K-12

For many years, I’ve been applying the AASL standards for Information Literacy while planning my sessions. Last year, they launched the new National Standards,  it was a great improvement more oriented to the digital world and the student as a content creator and innovator.    But reviewing the ISTE framework for learners, I could see how the gap of information in the digital world has been fulfilled. If it’s introduced to the curriculum, and put into practice by the community. We will create generations of responsible digital citizens, creators of knowledge, innovators and respectful of others ideas. Are our schools considering it as a priority to be aligned with the curriculum?

3. Ethics and values of the community

Ethics and values usually come from parents to children in a family. But, a school has an important role to play when we talk about intellectual property. Lawrence Lessing explained on his TEDtalk about the importance of the values of freedom, respect of ownership of creators or remixers. As educators, we are promoting innovation on our students but it’s important to also work on these new values to develop that sense of digital responsibility. And, also learning how to protect our own creations using Creative Commons.

4. School policy

Definitely, a school policy regarding intellectual property/copyrights/academic honesty in the digital world is required to raise awareness about it, promote fair use and take action at all levels. As Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano explained that it involves all the digital educational spaces (traditional and digital) as well as homeroom teachers, subject teachers, IT staff, librarians, etc. All together, looking forward to improving the understanding of copyright and helping each other to learn how to apply it to the digital world.

A final reflection:

The development of technology won’t stop, and we need to go beyond awareness about intellectual property and the protection of our creations. The IB has published a guide about citation a referencing and even a video about the role of the librarian on the Extended Essay. But, are they enough? I don’t think so. I think that there’s more to go when it comes to the digital world and the creation of information/art/product, etc. Our voices should be raised to the administrators to take action and begin a change inside of the schools.

One of my main sources to learn about the respect of intellectual property and its application on the IB Diploma program, it’s the blog of John Royce, Honestly, honest. He is one of the most respected voices of the IB librarians about academic honesty and discusses many key topics useful for teachers as well as students. Are you an honest content creator?

(2017 Awarded IB Film/Animation competition created by Melissa Lan U Yun)


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