Can I play that video in my class? (or library, or assembly, or fundraiser…)

This is a response to a question from one of the ISTE forums on using video in online courses, especially ones using a password-protected Learning Management System (LMS). There were several points in the post, but the main question is whether it’s o.k. to rip videos from a DVD and post them to an LMS for students to view? 


Hi Ruben,

This is a great question and one that comes up often, in both brick-and-mortar and online courses, both of which may use LMS. Unfortunately, many educators believe that if they purchase a video, then it’s theirs to do with as they please, even showing it in classes. However, most commercial videos are licensed, which gives the license owner special rights, and you need to know what kind of license you own. For videos from most major studios, the license usually appears at the beginning of the video, sometimes paired with that familiar FBI warning. In most cases, commercial videos, even if you bought the DVD, are licensed only for personal use. That means that educators are likely infringing on the copyright of the owner of the video if they go to their favorite store, buy a DVD, and show it in its entirety in a class, at an assembly, as a reward, on a jumbo screen as a fund raiser… It doesn’t matter whether that showing is online or in person. You have to know what license you have.

Online streaming services, like Netflix and Amazon, and video-sharing sites, like YouTube and Teaching Channel, also have their own licensing agreements. They’re harder to find, but with a quick search and the click of a couple of buttons on the site you can often find the licensing terms for these sites. Most educators are unaware of video licensing and their obligations.

There’s always a bit of outrage and disbelief when I share this information, which was the reaction a couple of years ago when I shared this to a group of library/media specialists in a midwestern school district. But the assistant superintendent stood up and confirmed that the district had indeed been sanctioned three times in the past year by the owners of commercial video licenses and their lawyers were currently working to avoid substantial fines. It’s important to note that Copyright, Fair Use, and Public Domain are guidelines and not clear dictates. That’s why there are different interpretations, and the way these guidelines are tested is often through the courts. You probably don’t want to be a test case.

On the positive side, most commercial videos are licensed by one or more organizations (see Swank.com as one example) and institutions can purchase these licenses for different uses, like annual licenses or a one-time showing. These are most applicable for in-person viewing. Its more complicated and still murky for online streaming. One thing that is very clear is that you can NOT change the format of the video (or other media) for showing, no matter what purpose or setting. For example, it’s likely a violation of copyright to scan an image from a book and show it in class if the book is the format you have. So, it is a violation of copyright to rip a DVD and post it online, even behind a password-protected LMS. You can post portions of it in the format it comes in, generally 10% or less, in accordance with Fair Use, but that’s not going to solve your problem. (The U.S. Copyright Office has Circular 21 with more guidance on this.)

The best advice I have for you is to visit your school/university librarians or media specialists. They are usually the experts in issues like this. Mine always was, and when I told her I wanted to show a movie in class she would tell me whether we owned a copy with an appropriate license or she could obtain one or not. If not, I had to have a Plan B. Your library/media center may have access to options that your university has purchased that you may not be aware of. I’m hoping others will reply with examples of how their institutions are licensing video for classroom use, because it’s a changing field.

Best of luck and I’ll be following to learn more,
JR

P.S. If you’re an ISTE member, you can view other responses or contribute your own here.

New Edition Published!

Technology Integration for Meaningful Classroom Use. Third Edition.The third edition of Technology Integration for Meaningful Classroom Use: A Standards-Based Approach is now available from Cengage. If you’re familiar with the book, you know those standards are the ISTE Standards for Educators, which were released in their third edition last summer. I attended ISTE to learn as much about the new standards as possible, but my co-authors, Kathy Cennamo and Peg Ertmer, have been keeping tracking of trends and research in technology since the last edition, so we were able to pretty much completely revise the book over the rest of the summer and fall.

One of the aspects I like most about the new edition is the inclusion of lots and lots of stories from reach teachers, coaches, and others–many of whom are people I’ve worked with across the country. They share their stories of success and even some challenges they’ve overcome with technology integration. I’m deeply indebted to all the great educators who shared their stories with us so we could include them in the book. There’s even an index in the back, and Kathy created guidelines for how you might use the stories as you explore the book and reflect on your practice.

There are some things that remain the same, like the emphasis on our self-directed learning model, The GAME Plan (shown to have statistically significant impact on improving self-directed learning habits as determined in my dissertation), and lots of tips and tools. The new ISTE Standards for Educators focus on empowering student learning, and that’s the spirit we took with this edition. I hope many educators find it helpful.

 

What does your P stand for?

I’ve just returned from my final coaching visits with some great teachers in Evergreen Public Schools in Vancouver, WA. We’ve been exploring PBL together. They’ve been developing and implementing PBL units and we discuss what they’ve learned and how that will impact their practice in the future. This last visit was the third in a series of three, and I’m so proud of the work these teachers have done—and their administrators. This has been such a rewarding experience because not only have teachers taken risks and tried new things, but their administrators have supported and encouraged them. They’ve become learners themselves, and have explored PBL right along with their teachers, acknowledging they have questions and want to learn, as well.

Steve Doyle PBL

Steve Doyle connects history with current events through his PBL unit in his social studies class.

I was also fortunate to share some ideas with the full faculty of both schools—Legacy High School and Harmony Elementary. We explored some of the characteristics of PBL and what that might mean for their lessons. I also got to showcase the work and experiences of the great residency teachers I’ve been working with, who have really dug in and have the best stories to share.

You’ll notice I just use the term “PBL” and don’t elaborate. That’s because the P in PBL can mean different things to different people. Both in the textbook I’ve co-authored and in many schools where I’ve embarked down the PBL path with teachers, I like to acknowledge this. And often I ask people what they think the P should stand for?

For many, the P in PBL stands for project. I’m good with that. A really good project can be an engaging source of deeper learning—especially when that project requires students to develop new knowledge and skills that they can then demonstrate through that project. In this case, the project is the learning, and not just something students do at the end. It’s not that they won’t need some guidance, and even directed learning, as they work on their projects, but the project isn’t just something tacked on at the end of other learning. Teachers don’t have enough time to add on projects after the learning, so the best projects are the learning. But for me, simply engaging students in a project is not enough to make it good PBL.

With the changes in the summative assessment landscape over the past decade, some people also suggest that the P in PBL stands for performance. I like that one, too, partly because almost all of the learning my own students did led to some kind of a performance—a public performance. I was a band director. So whether it was Friday night on the football field, in a concert hall or cafeteria, or performances of soloists or small ensembles, my students engaged in PBL activities that led to a performance. My work in developing performance tasks is actually, in part, an attempt to accomplish what my last principal suggested I help him with. He asked me to help him figure out how to get other teachers, whether math, science, English—whatever—to get their students to “perform” their content. PBL can do that, but again, just adding a performance doesn’t get to the best PBL.

Laura Buno, Harmony Elementary

Principal, Laura Buno, explores PBL by visiting and learning with the faculty at Harmony Elementary.

For me, the one P that I think should be in every PBL unit is a problem. A real problem. A complex problem. Real-world problems help kids get to the level of strategic thinking unlike academic problems that can be fairly sanitized and yield only one correct answer. These are what Wiggins & McTighe would refer to as exercises, not problems. They’re important, because they help students develop knowledge and skills, but what for? To tackle real problems, of course, and so in my PBL, I try to ensure there’s some real-world problem students are investigating. You can have a project with a problem, and you can include a performance at the end of a project, but without a problem, your students are going to miss out on the greater benefits of PBL and not reach those higher levels of cognitive demand that lead to deeper learning and transfer. What does your P stand for?

When asked to reflect on what makes good learning memorable, some of the faculty and staff at Harmony Elementary reported that memorable learning is:

  • Authentic
  • Provides student choice
  • Builds on individual strengths
  • Promotes independence
  • Hands-on
  • Engaging
  • Not limited by time
  • Fun
  • Group-based
  • Thought provoking
  • Connected to things outside the classroom
  • Collaborative

Sounds like great PBL to me!