D. Acknowledgement Of Ideas And Information

D. Acknowledgement of Ideas and Information

Digital citizenship is an essential element of technology and engineering literacy. As rapid technological advances have increased people's capacity to access and share information anytime and anywhere around the globe, there is increasing concern about the misuse and abuse of information. Some of the ethical and legal concerns were described under "Technology and Society" and include worries about such issues as providing false information, invading people's privacy, "hacking" into secure networks, and using ICT tools for industrial espionage. There is therefore a certain amount of overlap between that subarea and this one, but this subarea is focused specifically on an especially important category of ethical issues: the appropriate use of intellectual property in the context of digital media.

For many students the first opportunity to learn about the ethical implications of intellectual property appears in discussions about classroom cheating, in which a student looks at someone else's test paper and writes down answers and ideas as his or her own. At the highest levels of academia, this practice is known as "plagiarism," and allegations of plagiarism can lead to criminal as well as ethical sanctions. On the other hand, it is not cheating to incorporate other people's ideas as long as credit for the source of the ideas is given at the time they are used. It is therefore essential that students know the conventional methods for appropriately crediting others' ideas, words, and images, both orally and in the form of writing and other media.

A closely related issue is the use and misuse of copyrighted material. Even at the elementary level it has become so easy to copy and share digital information that children need to understand the importance of respecting copyrighted materials so that they will be more likely as adults to continue to honor intellectual property rights and laws protecting patents, trademarks, copyrights, music, and video. Although technological safeguards may be developed in future years, individual respect for the intellectual property of others will continue to be an important ethical imperative.

Key principles in the area of acknowledgement of Ideas and Information that all students can be expected to understand at increasing levels of sophistication are:

  • Copyright laws and policies are designed to protect intellectual property.
  • Fair use guidelines are designed to support the use of copyrighted materials for academic purposes and for journalism and other forms of writing and commentary.
  • There are multiple guiding principles (laws, policies, and guidelines) that govern the use of ideas and information.

Fourth-grade students should understand that it is permissible to use others' ideas as long as appropriate credit is given. This ethical guideline that one should give credit where it is due holds true not just for tests and homework, but also even in everyday conversation. They should also know that copyrighted materials cannot be shared freely.

Eighth-grade students should be aware of general principles concerning the use of other people's ideas and know that these principles are the basis for such things as school rules and federal laws governing such use. They should know about the limits of fair use of verbatim quotes and how to cite sources in papers or other media productions. They should understand the importance of giving appropriate credit for others' ideas and contributions, and they should know how to give such credit.

Twelfth-grade students should understand the fundamental reasons for intellectual property laws and should know acceptable practices for citing sources when incorporating ideas, quotes, and images into their own work.

D. Acknowledgement of Ideas and Information Goals

Fourth-grade students exhibit digital citizenship by understanding that it is permissible to use others' ideas as long as appropriate credit is given but that copyrighted materials cannot be shared freely. Eighth-grade students should be aware of and comply with laws and ethical guidelines for incorporating ideas, text, and images into their own work. Twelfth-grade students should understand the reasons for protecting intellectual property and demonstrate responsible and ethical behaviors when using ideas, quotes, and images from others.

Table 2.13 Acknowledgement of Ideas and Information assessment targets for grades 4, 8, and 12

Grade 4 Grade 8 Grade 12

Students know that:

I.4.10: It is allowable to use other people's ideas in one's own work provided that proper credit is given to the original source, whether information is shared in person or through ICT media.

Students know that:

I.8.10: Style guides provide detailed examples for how to give appropriate credit to others when incorporating their ideas, text, or images in one's own work.

Students know that:

I.12.10: Legal requirements governing the use of copyrighted information and ethical guidelines for appropriate citations are intended to protect intellectual property.

Students are able to:

I.4.11: Identify or provide examples demonstrating respect for copyrighted material, such as resisting the request from a friend to copy a song from a CD or placing copyrighted material online.

Students are able to:

I.8.11: Identify or provide examples of fair use practices that apply appropriate citation of sources when using information from books or digital resources.

Students are able to:

I.12.11: Identify or provide examples of responsible and ethical behavior that follow the letter and spirit of current laws concerning personal and commercial uses of copyrighted material as well as accepted ethical practices when using verbatim quotes, images, or ideas generated by others.