Thursday, November 17, 2016

Creative Commons Licensing, or, The grass is always greener...

This morning, I took a random picture of a patch of grass just outside my office.  Check it out:

Creative Commons License  DougGrassPic by Doug Barton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Beautiful, right?

No, not the grass.  The Creative Commons license!

Why am I nerding out over a Creative Commons license?  Because it represents two things that are often ignored in education:
  1. Crediting the author for their original work, and
  2. Publishing student creations intended for public use.
Most student creations have one intended audience--their teacher.  Reasons for doing the work include compliance and pleasing the teacher.  When students create for the world to see and use, the audience focus is shifted away from the teacher to a greater and more global audience.

Licensing can be a meaningful part of publishing.  When a student creates, their work immediately has a restrictive copyright that protects it.  Anyone using that work would need to get permission.  Creative Commons licenses let the public know how the work can be used.

Creating a license using Creative Commons is as simple as answering a few questions on their website and embedding the HTML code into the publishing destination (below the work or at the end of the page).  The questions lead the user to the license that matches their intentions.

Showing students how to license their own creative works empowers them to make something special and helps them recognize and respect the published works of others.  It is a lesson in digital citizenship that is integrated, not isolated.

In closing, if you have a strong need for a picture of grass, please use mine.  Click on the license below the picture to find out which permissions I have granted.  If not, I hope you'll give students opportunities to publish and license their creative works in the future.

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