Issues With Ethics and Copyright

Ethics and copyright is also an issue surrounding the use of new technologies and therefore has implications for the classroom.  Students from a young age learn to search the internet, and they can copy and paste text, but they don’t comprehend the need for referencing and therefore claim it as their own work.  There is such a thing in the technology world known as the remix, or remixing.  The practice of the remix allows you, for example to take a music video off youTube and add your own content to it, then you are able to claim it as your own.  Remixing can also be linked to writing.  You can take two bits of writing from two texts and join them together.  In effect, you are creating a new text.  In Lessig’s book (as cited in Lankshear & Knobel) he confirms this technique, “You take and combine, and that’s the writing, the creative writing, which constitutes education about writing: to take and to remix as a way of creating something new.” (2009, p. 80).  Remixing can be a great literacy skill for students to learn, but they need to be warned of the issue with copyright.  Conventional creative writing practice doesn’t infringe on copyright laws, but digital remix often does, and those that do so can face legal action (Lankshear & Knobel, 2009).  Lessig argues that this “new writing needs the same freedoms as did the writing of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centureies.  To do it well, he says, to understand how it works, to teach it, to develop it and to practice it require freedoms that are currently outlawed.” (cited in Lankshear & Knobel , 2009, p. 81).  Lessig argues that the law must change as those who are practicing this form of remixing are at risk of copyright law.



To have students in classes and schools who have grown up digitally is a huge advantage for educators in the 21st Century.  It means that many students already have the technical skills in which they need to access the curriculum and prepare them for our ever changing world.  The skills required to successfully access new literacies are not that different from the literacy students needed in previous centuries.  Students still need the skills to read, write and comprehend.  Skills required for new literacies are skills that these young people will need throughout their lifetime, and they will be continually built upon as technology continues to advance. The skills of the educators will also need to improve, so they can successfully guide their students in effectively using this technology.  We are seeing more and more technology incorporated into classrooms and along with this, comes the education in using it appropriately and protecting users online.  Young people need to be aware of their digital footprint and the trail that they leave behind as they continue their education and live their life in the digital age.


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Appendix A

Skills required for new literacies

Play – the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem solving

Performance – the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery

Simulation – the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes

Appropriation – the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content

Multitasking – the ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details

Distributed Cognition – the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities

Collective Intelligence – the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal

Judgment – the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources

Transmedia Navigation – the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities

Networking – the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information

Negotiation – the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms

Jenkins et al, 2006, p.4