Reflection | EDTC6433

ISTE Standard 4: Teaching Digital Responsibility for Global Media Users

The ISTE Standard 4 states:

Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices. 

I chose to focus on the first aspect of this standard which compels teachers to advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources. I consider the issue of safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology to be a global societal issue, so to me that stands out as the core of this ISTE standard. As we support student’s learning through the use of technology and digital information sources, teachers must guide them to understand what can and cannot be trusted as a source, how to make that judgment, and what standards should be followed for sharing or using digital content.

About ten years ago I studied Graphic Design and Illustration and we were instructed in the laws and practices for copyright material from the standpoint of using it for marketing or artistic expression, as examples. In this context the user must get explicit permission from the creator of content, otherwise a license is typically available for purchase, or the material must be deemed “free use”. Now as pre-service teacher, from articles I read this week there is a “fair use” section of the copyright laws that allow for students and teachers to make use of copyright material when used for learning purposes. One of my questions this week, I asked how can I use art, photography, or design as examples for teaching digital ethics and respect; and what is the most important feature(s) of digital citizenship that an art teacher should promote? As an art teacher, I can’t begin to describe the number of reasons why having access to more digital content is significant, but this means I am required to have an accurate understanding of the safe, legal, and ethical standards to which I will model and teach.

First I looked to get a clearer understanding of Fair Use. The blog article, The Educator’s Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons, by Ronnie Burt (2012)  offers some basic rules to remember when working with fair use and copyrighted materials which I have paraphrased here:

  1. You can’t use everything you find on the web, it is best to stick with material that has a creative commons license, such as can be found at, or that is labeled “free use” or “public domain”.
  2. Copyrighted materials can be shown to students or used to compare, critique, or classify information, as long as it is just for educational purposes.
  3. If you use material for educational purposes, it is always best to:
  • Give an attribution or credit that lets others know where you got the info with a link.
  • Ensure that you do not profit in any way from using content and use it for non-business purposes only.
  • If you create something with the content (such as artwork or a web document), the license and credit should be used if it is shared on a website.

I envisioned a project where students were given the task of finding works of art that do and do not have the proper indications of credit or license on any given website. This would give students the chance to analyze a website itself, and look critically at the website author’s credibility. I think every time I use the internet I will quickly show the students where to find the license or copyright information, just to keep it always in mind.

In searching for a resource to help me meet the ISTE standard 4 and I found The Media Education Lab (MEL), part of the University of Rhode Island’s Harrington School of Communication and Media. The MEL develops multimedia educational resources and curriculum materials for educators, parents and students (MELURI, 2012). I have only explored a bit, but there are many links to more sources of information like educator blogs, journal articles, apps, videos, lessons plans, and project ideas. Clicking around I ended up reading the Renee Hobbs At The Media Education Lab blog article about a law passed just 6 months ago that makes it allowable for teachers to “rip” (copy) copyrighted DVD movies, even Disney, to make short clips (Hobbs, 2013). This speaks to the other part of my question for this standard which was what resource can help me find a way to organize and present up-to-date laws and standards to students that will be relevant and useful? I found that the Media Education Lab can be a good place to start. As new technology and social media continues to evolve, so too will the laws and ethical implications that surround the rights to property and information. Teachers play a crucial role in aiding students as they become a part of a digitally informed society and being grounded in legal and safe knowledge will make it easier to navigate the rapidly transforming digital world.


Burt, R. (2012). The Educator’s Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons. The Edublogger (Feb. 9) Retrieved on March 1, 2013 from:

Hobbs, R. (2013). A “Ripping” Fine New Year. Renee Hobbs At The Media Education Lab. (Jan. 1) Retrieved on March 1, 2013 from:

MELURI (2012). About Us. Media Education Lab. University of Rhode Island, Harrington School of Commuincation and Media. Retrieved on March 1, 2013 from:


1 thought on “Reflection | EDTC6433

  1. powelk1

    I loved hearing about your personal experience! It is crazy how much a prior experience can influence our current choices. You selected a great resource, I even included it in my own post. It is very helpful, especially in educating teachers about modern technology rules and sources. I am excited to use it in the future. Working with graphic art, it is essential that students understand what has a copyright and if it does, what to do with that information. I think you have a wonderful strategy to enhance this skill: showing students where to find and look for the copyright on every website you use in class. Repetition has a strong pull in memory work.


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