Copyright & Education for Dummies

Alright, so I probably infringed on a copyrighted series of popular books by using that title, but I’m going to claim fair use on it, because I just had to point out some amazing work that Tom Woodward, one of my online friends from Virginia, has been putting together with the help of some media instructors from his middle school.

Copyright & Education Tom is one of those brilliant instructors that thinks much more abstractly about learning than the traditional “straight rows, pencils sharpened” kind of teacher. He cut his teeth in an alternative education classroom that also happened to have laptops for every student, so his experiences have been very unique and rewarding, allowing him to create some rather inventive, and highly engaging, learning materials for both students and staff alike. The above slide is the first in his entertaining, yet very informative, presentation about copyright in the classroom. Although created for teachers in a professional development setting, both the presentation and the website he helped create about copyright in education would work easily with middle or high school students learning about how best to use the resources available to them on the Internet.

CopyrightCopyright and You, the website he collaborated with his media instructors on, focuses more on what students and teachers CAN do with media and copyright information, rather than focus on what CAN’T be done. Rather than belabor issues of legality and thievery, Tom focuses on the positive, and how much of each type of medium is allowed for classroom use. Each page of the website covers a different medium (music, images, video, etc) and contains a large green area in which acceptable uses that are ALWAYS allowed can be found. There’s a yellow area in which materials can PROBABLY be used, and a small red area that covers items that can NEVER be used. VERY useful for busy teachers that usually just need a quick reference, rather than a lecture on how they should be using copyrighted materials in their lessons and classroom. It’s worth taking the time to give the website a look, and pass it along to any tech or media people in your buildings that may benefit from it.


  1. Ben,

    Thanks for the positive review!

    The funny thing is I almost didn’t post that b/c I figured no one would be interested. I wonder how many teachers end up not sharing because they figure no one would want their stuff.

  2. Tom is amazing! As a lucky educator who gets to work with him every day, you won’t find anyone as knowledgeable, clever, dedicated, or talented than Tom. His entire site is wonderful and a great addition to our online courses.

  3. Thanks for a great visual aid in explaining the intricacies of Copyright. I’ve printed it out in our Teacher’s Information binder.. all set for the next question!

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