Standard 4 reads as follows:

4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility 

Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices.

a. advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources.

b. address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources.

c. promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information.

d. develop and model cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with colleagues and students of other cultures using digital-age communication and collaboration tools.

    Just as teachers must model proper use of the technology and how one can use technology for one's own betterment, safe and ethical use of digital resources must be modeled as well. As information can be easily accessed and disseminated via digital communication tools, students must be informed of the legal ramifications as well the the etiquette, when it comes to handling this information. Of particular importance, in an educational context, are the concepts of copyright and fair use guidelines. The importance of educating students about these concepts is accentuated by the fact that there are many misconceptions about these ideas-misconceptions that can place unnecessary restrictions on students accessing and using various resources. As a matter of fact, many teachers, out of sheer fear and uncertainty, tend to stay clear of any use of copyrighted work whatsoever, when it comes to digital media. This communicates the idea that not a single part of a copyrighted work from another party can be used in the creation of one's own original product. Yet students are constantly drawing from other people's work, when they are writing papers and providing text support from a novel or text book. This teacher, in effect, does not model proper digital citizenship. After all, being a citizen does not mean one must simply follow laws and respect the rights of others. Being a citizen also requires being knowledgable of one's own rights, and invoking and practicing those rights for the sake of individual and communal progress. This is true in any context, when invoking the idea of citizenship, whether it be in the real world or the world wide web. This begins with teaching students about fair use guidelines, as they pertain to copyrighted works. 

    Renee Hobbs defines copyright as legal rights to "reproduce, display, transmit, or modify...the works of authors" (Hobbs, 2010, p. 17). These works of authors are referred to as intellectual property- a term that " complicated when it comes to products of the mind because these forms of property are very different from physical property, like cars, clothing, or land" (Hobbs, 2010, p. 17). After all, if one steals property, such as a car, the owner of the car has lost something. However, the same is not not true for intellectual property, which is basically an idea. Hobbs goes on to state " ...when I share information or ideas with you, I will still have access to them. I haven't lost possession of the ideas when I share them..." (Hobbs, 2010, p. 17). Just as students are allowed to cite work from texts without any legal repercussions, other artistic works can be used as well, just as long as they meet the fair use guidelines. I outline them further in the video that I use to teach fair use polices, which can be found below. 


Hobbs, R. (2010) Copyright clarity. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin A Sage Company