Week 12 Reflections: Making Bold Choices Wisely

19 04 2011

I call Frances’s presentation our “commencement speech” for ECI 521. We’ve grappled with questions about the mature language and issues in YA literature since we met Will Grayson at the beginning of the semester. Frances has lived these questions throughout her career first as a librarian and then as a director of instructional technology during a time of radical change. She brings wisdom gained from years of defending students’ right to read and their right to create.

Some insights/developments/musings from the discussion:
Frances’s slides invite serious discussion. Perhaps this one by William Bennett (a surprise to many) best sums up a semester’s major take-away — that our first responsibility is to create the conditions for students to become “seekers” (Aronson’s term) and that they learn to think deeply and critically.

Intellectual freedom is a multifaceted concept. It is both the right to explore topics/issues from a diversity of perspectives and to express one’s own perspective. It is also the right to create by repurposing and adding value to the works of others through a process of transformation that says something new and different from the originals. Participatory learning advocate Henry Jenkins likes to quote Peter Parker aka Spiderman: “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

That’s why it’s so important, as Bill Ferriter demonstrated with his copyright “teachable moment,” that students understand fair use. Fair use is a right that we have and we must understand this right and use it or we will, from fear of copyright infringement, lose that right and the works of creativity that could resulted. It is becoming more vital as digital technologies give students more opportunities to create by sampling, remixing, and mashing-up digital media. Aronson encourages us to teach our students to be seekers who strive to create new art forms. For valuable resources on copyright and fair use, including an archived session with an educator-advocate for fair use see Copyright Remix.

Resources shared:
Guidelines for the Reconsideration of Materials

Project Page with Archive of Frances’s presentation

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