Digital Literacy is not the same thing as Digital Citizenship.

Sometimes I feel that as educators, we are pushing forward, hard, on the use of technology, but perhaps falling short on the other aspect and failing to consider the ethical implications.

The following are ACTUAL quotes from teachers on facebook in "professional groups":

"Just a thought... get it out of the library, scan it and then you can project it - for free."

"I think they might have been a freebie from TpT....If you'd like to message me your email, I can send them to you."

"Obviously nothing would be shared through this posting.. It's merely a discussion about how to find these resources and yes e-mail would be a great way to find something by 'accident' "

"...need to be careful about making the groups illegal File Sharing spaces. We know all teachers photocopy pages upon pages of books, and we watch DVDs in our classes..."

So what's wrong with this situation? First of all, simply the lack of education - among a group of educational professionals - is appalling to me.  More on that later.

Second, I know in my school... in my board... we've been told as teachers it is up to us to prepare students with the skills they will need to be successful digital citizens. While that might include "look how easy it is to rip someone off by not giving them any credit for their work, or not paying for something you ought to pay to have or use" I think that needs to be balanced with "here's the upright, proper way of going about things" and even "here's what you might want to do to protect yourself and your own digital intellectual property".

Third, maybe we ought to "practice what we preach" to the children and obtaining resources through legitimate means rather than peeking over our neighbour's shoulder to get the best answer (or handout, graphic organizer, sentence starters or art lesson, as the case may be.) What kind of role models do we want to be?

Maybe you're of the camp that believes teachers must be naturally giving, helpful and supportive and have no right to charge a fee for any kind of educational materials.  Fine, then don't purchase from sites like TPT or TN (... oh and yeah, the well known publishers often have their stuff authored by teachers too, but then the publisher keeps 80% or more of the profit).  Recognize that you continue to have a responsibility even if you are only benefiting from the free materials that other teachers are sharing with you.  A difference of philosophy doesn't give you the right to steal something or to deprive someone of their rights as the author by passing it along to others.

Just because something is on the internet doesn't make it free. This is a quote written by two judges of the Supreme Court of Canada last summer.

Background image (c) Michelle Tsivgadellis, the 3AM Teacher  Read more: http://www.cp24.com/news/supreme-court-strikes-down-copyright-fees-1.875698#ixzz2NcmY9pu3

So what should you do?

Here's just a bit of what you'll find in my next blog post:

To be continued...