The internet and the classroom poses many challenges for teachers and students, including copyright and plagiarism issues. This is particularly relevant in the Visual Arts as students are often required to view and analyse artworks, and find and evaluate historical information. These issues could negatively impact the integration of technology into learning tasks as teachers may feel tempted to avoid opportunities for students to access material that they could copy from. Obviously, plagiarism and copyright issues can have severe legal consequences. Additionally, plagiarism and copying can render the task useless as the student who has copied will not gain the appropriate knowledge and achieve the learning outcomes. Steps that can be taken to deal with copyright and plagiarism issues are:
- Educate students on these issues. There are a multitude of resources to assist in teaching students about copyright and plagiarism. Students need to understand what they can and cannot do according to the rules and regulations. There is a list of some Australian resources here, and I am sure there are others.
- Supervise students when using the internet at school. At a secondary level, it should be rather obvious who is using copy and paste rather than writing their own work. No student should be copying and pasting at any time.
- Teach students how to correctly reference artworks and images from Year 7. The importance of correctly referencing artworks and images should be emphasised from a young age. If copyright and plagiarism issues are raised from the beginning of high school, students will not develop any bad habits.
- Teach students their rights. Did you know that photographers are allowed to photograph anything they can see when standing on public property, even if it includes areas of private property? Students need to know what they can and can’t do in order to abide by the rules. Perhaps a poster in the art room can help?