NETS-T (4a)

Logo of Promethean Boards Bound: A Blog About Educational Technology featuring a cartoon map of the Upper Cumberland region
Mr. West
by MARK WEST 8/25/09

Applying ISTE*'s NETS** for Teachers (4A)

*International Society for Technology in Education

**National Educational Technology Standards

The NETS-T standard 4 (indicator A) states that the teacher will

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. Teachers:

  1. 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


Three Directives

First off, we have three directives to advocate, model and teach and the focus of those directives are the safe, legal and ethical use for digital information and technology. But you teach (insert subject here) and you really don't have all day to add more to your plate; and you won't need to. I'm about to discuss all three out of order.


First off, let's deal with "teaching safe, legal and ethical use"; if you have students find information from a book, magazine or the Internet, you probably are already telling them that just copying what's there is not what they are supposed to do. Telling students to document their sources should already be a part of your routine anytime they hand-in information they have researched. Students need to document their sources for eveything (pictures, videos, quotes from text sources, music, etc.) and should only be using them within the guidelines of fair use. If you are not comfortable with fair use or need a refresher, one site that is brief in length (but to the point) is Stanford University's Copyright and Fair Use Overview. Since you should already be doing this (unless you accept plagiarism -- and you should not), this shouldn't take up much more, if any, of your instructional time.

Don't forget that items in the public domain are always safe for students to use, as is a relatively new legal concept, copyleft.

Copyleft - your new best friend

Copyleft is a play on copyright. Just as left is the opposite of right, copyleft is a radically divergent idea on copyright.

The basic idea is that an author can create a work, and retain legal control of it, while still allowing others to copy and share the work; if you do that with a copyrighted work, some lawyer will try to argue that you didn't enforce your copyright, and try to make you lose your copyright on the work.
As far as documents go, the FSF (Free Software Foundation) has the Free Document License for copylefting the written word. Creative Commons promotes fair sharing of motion video, audio, and images; they also have two branch off programs, science commons and ccLearn. With regards to computer applications, many programs are made free on the Internet (such as the Firefox web browser), and the GNU Project (which works in conjunction with the FSF) has information as to why programmers might wish to make software available for free. Since there are thousands of free software applications available, this is a growing societal trend and teachers should know about and leverage this in their classrooms.


Most likely your students are looking to you for direction as to how to accompish the assignment. Taking an extra minute to "inspire them" with good sources for obtaining information. Since you know about Creative Commons, wouldn't it be nice to point them to a search engine and just say, "go to it"?; Creative Commons has search engine But, there are some other more specific places worth mentioning.


There are many useful pieces of clipart, such as

There are many other categories: or grab them all at once:

I designed the following map at home, not at school:

This map was designed with open clipart. Please note that in many cases, I just picked an icon to represent an area, rather than to characterize its populace, so while I used a blacksmith symbol for Pleasant Hill, that's not to indicate there's many horse people there, and the tavern for Rickman was simply because I liked the rustic wooden building.

I used the GIMP to make this map and converted the SVG files into GIMP brushes. You may download the GIMP for free here, but Mac OS X users need to be aware that you will need X11 installed for it to work properly. Tiger and Leopard users many find this site helpful (you need that X11, not the one in your Applications>Utilities folder. Windows users need the installer (I don't recommend downloading the documentation locally as the online manual is more up-to-date as I write this).

In short, I had to figure out roads and rivers and placement of Public Domain (mostly nicubunu's) symbols. But as this is derived from Public Domain sources, and since I made the map on my own time, I'll also cede this into the Public Domain. However, the point of this was twofold: first, look at the map (it works and doesn't look too bad) and second, I documented my sources for the creation of the map.

Additionally, as you can tell from the blog logo, I tried to apply some filters to the map a color scheme that fit this webpage.


With an interactive whiteboard, sound can be used to spice up an interactive activity. Some audio can also help you teach:

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day offers vocabulary building. Also, there's a media link to a daily podcast which pronounces the word and gives the definition. Look for "Media Files" at the bottom of the page.

Music beds and sound effects:

Please also don't forget that you can record yourself saying things your students might need to hear. A great, free, audio recording utility (that works on Windows/Mac/Linux) is Audacity; you'll need a microphone, but MacBooks and most Windows Laptops have microphones built in.


You can record yourself and this can be helpful if you have to repeat the same content over and over. One way is with QuickTime, and a webcam and microphone (MacBooks have them). From the File menu, choose New Movie Recording, then press the big red button and you are recording yourself. If you want to record your desktop so student can see what's going on with your computer, a good program is Jing, which works with Macs and Windows.


If you're teaching and advocating doing the right thing with repect to copyright, you'll be the good model your students need. Hopefully this article has pointed you in many directions that will help you help your students be ethical and responsible citizens with regards to intellectual property usage.