Empowering students to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in the ever-present digital world is the focus of digital citizenship. Understanding copyright and using online resources responsibly and ethically is one of its foundational pillars.
Commons Sense Media explains the copyright challenges K-12 educators face when it comes to using the Web to find resources to enrich your teaching and resources that your students can use — legally, technically, and socially. “With so much out there, it can be difficult to figure out what is and isn’t suitable for classroom use — not to mention what will interest students long enough to tear them away from what’s trending on social media.” (Common Sense Media, May 4, 2016)
One set of tools, known as Creative Commons licenses, can help address some of these challenges, while also enriching the teaching process and empowering learners of all ages. (Common Sense Media. May 4, 2016)
Creative Commons (CC) licenses are free copyright licenses that creators can use to indicate how they’d like their work to be used. Creators can choose from a set of six licenses with varying permissions, from the most open license to the least open license.
More than half a billion CC-licensed works exist on the Web free for teachers and students to use, build upon, and share. Many of these works are educational resources that have been licensed by teachers, educational organizations, schools, and even the government.
Read the Common Sense Media Blog post, What Is Creative Commons and Why Does It Matter?, to learn how teachers and students can find CC-licensed content and how to attribute the creators of CC-licensed content.
The are several possible Creative Commons licenses:
- CC BY Attribution: This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.
- CC BY-SA This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This is particularly important if your work also includes other people’s materials licensed through the Creative Commons
- CC BY-ND. This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.
- CC BY-NC. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.
- CC BY-NC-SA. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.
- CC BY-NC-ND. This license is the most restrictive of the six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially