Definitions and Resources for Digital Citizens


Copyright is a legal protection insuring that the creators or owners of a creative product (writing, drawing, music, film, etc) retain the rights to using and profiting from their work. Infringing on copyright can lead to court cases, fines and possibly jail time.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is an organization that grants free licenses clarifying the creator’s ownship while allowing others to use the work. A Creative Commons license does not replace copyright, but rather lets the creator pre-determine how it can be shared and used. In most cases, a work that holds a Creative Commons license can be used without fear of infringing copyright as long as credit is given to the original source.

Fair Use (sometimes called Educational Use)

The fair use doctrine allows limited use in specific situations of copyrighted material. The standards for what constitutes fair use depend heavily on context, but often boil down to the question of whether the copyright holder was deprived of their rightful income for the use of their material.


Plagiarism is rarely if ever a legal violation, but it is ethical misconduct. Plagiarism is presenting ideas, words, phrases or even images as your own instead of crediting their creation to the person who originated the material. In many cases, plagiarism is solved by correctly attributing the source.

Public Domain

When the copyright expires on a piece of work, the work is in public domain. Once something is in public domain, anyone may use it in any way they wish without threat of legal reprisal. The laws determining when items enter public domain change, and Mickey Mouse may be one reason why (see attached article). Even works that are in public domain, like the Bible, can have specific versions, notes or guides that are copyrighted, so it’s generally safer to assume a work is copyrighted unless you can verify it is not.

Resources for further research:

Harvard’s page on Copyright and Fair Use

Electronic Frontier Foundation page on Intellectual Property

Schrock Guide to Copyright/Huge Chart

Art Law Journal article “How Mickey Mouse Keeps Changing Copyright Law

Creative Commons

Literature in Public Domain via Project Gutenburg


Kindling Readers: The Ohio Digital Library



Reading on a Kindle or Nook app does not have to be expensive. The Ohio Digital Library is an amazing free resource–and all you need to use it is a library card from one of the Ohio libraries that partner with it. If you don’t happen to have a nearby library that is a member (most Ohio libraries are members), you can get a free State Library of Ohio card that includes access to the Ohio Digital Library (Click here for State Library of Ohio info).

The Ohio Digital Library has an amazing array of books and magazines, including current bestsellers and children’s books. It also offers audiobooks and streaming video.

If you have a smartphone, a tablet or a computer, you can get the free Kindle app from Amazon or the Nook app from Barnes and Noble. Then browse at the Ohio Digital Library, click on a book that you want to read, and you’ll find a variety of options, including Borrow, Place a Hold (if there are none available to Borrow), Sample, Bookmark, or Share. Most books can be delivered directly to your Amazon account for downloading to your device. Just a couple of clicks and your book appears, ready to read!

There are other places online to borrow books for free that are in public domain like Project Gutenberg, and there are book subscription websites such as Scribd and Amazon Unlimited. The Lima Public Library has an amazing array of resources, too.

One of the best parts of living in a digital age is the easy access to information!






Who Is Your Tech Spirit Guide?

This presentation was the opening ice breaker at the August 2016 Tech Training held for LCS teachers. One goal of the training was to reassure people that they can become more confident, more competent tech users. This self-assessment was part of that goal. Teachers want their students to have a growth mindset–the belief that they can learn–and one of the ways teachers can model it is to demonstrate a growth mindset about their relationship and use of technology.

How To Lock Your Computer

windowskeyarrowWindows Key + a lower case L = a locked computer. This command is essential. It locks your screen so that your computer cannot be used until you put in a password (if it’s password protected) or until you “wake” the computer by moving the mouse (if it’s not password protected).

This command makes it so you can walk away from your computer, even while you have work in progress, and know that it’s secure. When you log back in, you will see the screen that you were working on when you locked the computer.

The only trick to remember is to hold both the Windows key and thelower case L down at the same time. It’s that simple.

Even The United Nations Loves Minecraft

Minecraft is not simply an online building game with virtual “Lego” style blocks–it’s also a tool that the United Nations has used in community planning! The report “Using Minecraft for Youth Participation in Urban Design and Governance” explains how Minecraft was used in Nairobi, Haiti, Mexico, and Nepal to engage youth and marginalized stakeholders in discussions with establishment about how to best use community spaces.

As an art project in 2012, LSH student Ben Young created a Minecraft version of Lima Senior High. It’s an amazing piece of work; now imagine if this framework were used for groups to create and discuss ways to improve and use the various campus spaces. That’s essentially what the UN did!