This week’s assignment was to watch a series of informational videos about copyright issues. This is a very difficult subject with a lot of grey areas, so while a part of me wishes that I was learning this in month 1 of this EMDT (Educational Media Design and Technology) program, in month 11, I see that I now have a bigger capacity for understanding the complexities of the copyright law.
The video that stood out to me the most was Larry Lessig’s TED Talk about Remix Culture. It reminded me of a Christmas gift back in 2001 that changed my life. It wasn’t even a gift given to me. It was an iMac G4 that my dad bought for my mom. Even though my mom loved the gift, my brother and I were so excited to rip the box open and explore all the new possibilities of this beautiful, pristine white machine. My brother and I spent Christmas day playing around, chatting online, and downloading music.
When I woke up the next day, I could tell that my brother was excited and proud about something because he had called the whole family down to the computer to watch something that he created in iMovie. As soon as we gathered around, he pressed play. All of a sudden we heard the piano intro to Natalie Cole’s This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) with a title screen that read: Culang Family Christmas 2001. We swayed to the rhythm of the upbeat song and watched in awe as all of our family pictures from 2 nights ago appeared in a slide show. I remember thinking that it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen! Me being the competitive person that I am, finished watching with the thought that I could do what he did, but even better.
At that time I had just graduated college and I was student teaching in a 1st grade class in Dublin, CA. Just a few months earlier, while I was volunteering in my mom’s 1st grade classroom, I created this art project based off of the picture book What a Wonderful World by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele, and illustrated by Ashley Bryan. I gave each student a line of the famous song, originally by Louis Armstrong, and I taught them their line in sign language. After they learned their parts, we would practice singing the song together, while each student took turns signing their line. Once we mastered the song, I had them paint a picture of their line based on the picture book and the artwork was displayed around the room.
After watching the slideshow that my brother put together in iMovie, I knew that I wanted to do the What a Wonderful World project with the 1st grade class that I was student teaching in, but this time I wanted to put it all together creatively into an iMovie project. I used Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World song along with pictures of each student signing their line with a transition that led to a snapshot of their artwork.
When I completed the project, I was so proud of my work and the parents all thanked me for burning a copy of it onto a DVD and giving it as an end of the year gift to each of the students. I never uploaded any videos to YouTube, but there are copies of my work out there.
I never got permission to use the song What a Wonderful World, nor did I get permission to use the picture book as inspiration for my student’s artwork. It was used for educational purposes and I did not make any money off of it. Was I wrong for creating this project with my classes?
After creating this project, I became interested in doing more with iMovie and I feel like my creativity started to blossom from that point on. Now, I feel like possibilities are endless for me and that’s exactly what I want for my students. I want them to be fearless in trying new things, not afraid to let their imaginations take flight. It’s too bad that copyright laws limit what we can do, but I am thankful that creative commons exists.
- image: Large copyright symbol – microsoft clipart. http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/clipart/default.aspx
- image: iMac For Sale by hey mr glen. http://www.flickr.com/photos/glenscott/313198357/in/pool-imacg4 retrieved on 10/24/2012