a chance to succeed


Will shill for DIGGs.I really appear to be against everything. Twitter, blogs, eportfolios, service names, wall decorations, Lawrence Lessig.... but I'm not really. The abrasiveness comes from me trying to work out whether or not folks are thinking things through.

Chris Stubbs had another of his many thoughtful posts in November when he asked about kids and technology How Young is Too Young? My own thoughts are that it's never too soon to teach when questions arise. The mayor of New York along with NYC schools chancellor Joel Klein joined to enforce a school ban on cell phones. Teachers agreed with the move when they responded to surveys appearing in several blogs; I posted counter thoughts. Who was thinking this through? Students exhibit bad behavior with useful tools so we ban the tool rather than train the child? When do the students get "trained" in social and technical correctness with gadgets, services, and situations specific to technology? Responsible people have stepped aside in droves, because by the time the kids reach high school they still haven't learned the implications of their actions in MySpace. No one is thinking it through.

If we give students blogs and encourage their use, where along the continuum of public education did the students learn the implications or consequences of their posting? Does their use of facebook, a service more representative of college age kids than high schoolers, show that there was very much learning going on since high school? It's great that students are mastering the technical skills on their own, but should educators be leaving them high and dry to learn social, moral, ethical guidelines on their own? As well as the implications on their futures? With absolutely no direction? How can we do that? Who's thinking this through?

So now we bring a guy to campus who fully supports "CC" instead of "C". As a commercial illustrator, I never had a quibble with copyright. When I sold illustrations, I specified that they were complete buy outs- the new owner could use them any way they wished. If I retain copyright, I don't see the big deal with having folks ask before they use. There's a popular move towards "Creative Commons" licensing, though. Slightly different. Popular in that many folks think that it promotes creativity. I don't get that either- creative is something you are regardless of promotion, so who does "CC" benefit? Well for one thing, it benefits services that get revenue from selling advertising, names, and information around "mashed up" stuff that people "create". YouTube, GoogleVideo, now both the same company. Who's thinking this through? Yes, people have the right to publish or not and retain copyright or not; but we're talking about students who haven't learned facebook common sense or even the social implications of cell phone use. Where are students learning the full implications of giving away rights to their own photos, blogs, videos or music? Are they making an informed choice? Are there conversations being held? Any guidance being offered?

I did an "intensive search" (five minutes online... it's a holiday...) and in the Bluebook I couldn't find any course listing with the word "Copyright". I would think that it would be a great offering in the School of Visual Arts. Or the School of Music. Communications offers COMM 454 and 458 Media Law and Ethics maybe that's it? I'll spend more time on this. I think if people were really thinking this through, these seminars would be in place already. There would be a conversation where students discuss the realities of sharing creations as well as where Google gets their money.

See? I don't hate everything. I share a good deal of the vision. I just want to feel confident that people with better brains than mine are thinking things through.

Penn State
April 18, Symposium 2009; reimagine.
New content. Symposium 2008.Digital Commons at Penn State. Improve the workplace; hire for variety.


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