Flash, Games and some Videos

The web is a constantly changing landscape. It can be difficult to keep up with the latest in technology advances and changes. Even those of us who literally spend their whole day working on technology are hard pressed to keep up with everything. Some of the changes that happen can be very frustrating. We are currently seeing a change that has the potential to frustrate a lot of educators.

Flash is a web technology that is being deprecated. Flash was developed by Adobe. Flash brought video and some interactivity to the web. However, it is a poorly executed technology that is rife with security issues. The security issues are so bad at this point, that even Adobe is abandoning Flash. Adobe has announced that they will end support by 2020. However, most browsers are not waiting until then to stop supporting Flash.

Famously, Apple refused to support Flash on the iPhone. This was because of the security issues with Flash. This also led to the development of better web technologies.

The problem arises because there are lots of different educational games and websites that use Flash. These are sites that were probably created many years ago. Many of them were pet projects, personal projects or college projects. These are generally free. The authors have little incentive to update the sites. A high proportion of these sites are math related.

Currently, browsers are starting to stop running the Flash plug in. Google Chrome is switching to an “enable” structure. This means that instead of the Flash media playing, the user must click an “enable” button on the page. If the media is not embedded, the end user won’t see an “enable” button at all. Soon, Chrome will not play Flash at all. MicroSoft doesn’t support Flash in their latest browser on Windows 10 at all.

This can lead to frustration for teachers and students since sites that they may have used in the past suddenly stop working. There is very little that we can do. Flash is going away.

The good news is that the web is constantly evolving. There are lots of other sites and options available. We have a couple of Technology Coaches who can help teachers create their material (and share with the district).

DEC

We’ve been transitioning to a new experience in DEC. As such, we are moving some of the links around. If you visit the Staff Resources page of the Dearborn Public Schools web site, the DEC link will now go to the new an improved version of DEC. Since we haven’t yet redeveloped every curricular area, the curriculum committees are hard at work on that, we’ve also maintained the link to “old DEC”.

Graphic showing where to find DEC links on the Staff Resources page.

Copyright

In our new age of sharing, it can be easy to forget that copyright laws still apply.

This can be especially true in schools. After all, educators are trying to help students learn.

Copyright laws impact the use of images, videos and text. Frequently, schools use text, especially great stories, to help students learn. Many of these stories are still under copyright.

Even if our intent is good, we still must follow copyright laws. Unfortunately, copyright laws can be complex. Very complex.

General Copyright Dates

So, how do you know if the story that you want to use is under copyright? Here is a quick, general overview that may prove useful.

DATE OF WORK PROTECTED FROM TERM
Created 1-1-78 or after When work is fixed in tangible medium of expression Life + 70 years1(or if work of corporate authorship, the shorter of 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation2
Published before 1923 In public domain  None
Published from 1923 – 63 When published with notice3 28 years + could be renewed for 47 years, now extended by 20 years for a total renewal of 67 years. If not so renewed, now in public domain
Published from 1964 – 77 When published with notice 28 years for first term; now automatic extension of 67 years for second term
Created before 1-1-78 but not published 1-1-78, the effective date of the 1976 Act which eliminated common law copyright Life + 70 years or 12-31-2002, whichever is greater
Created before
1-1-78 but published between then and 12-31-2002
1-1-78, the effective date of the 1976 Act which eliminated common law copyright Life + 70 years or 12-31-2047 whichever is greater

Special thanks to Lolly Gassway for creating and sharing the table above. 

*Please note that if you purchased a copy of an asset (picture, song, video, text, book, story, etc.), it does NOT mean that you can then share that with everyone. “Purchasing” something normally means purchasing the right for one individual to use that piece of material. “Buying” something does NOT mean that you can do anything that you want with it.

Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers

Anything that is purchased from Teachers Pay Teachers is purchased with a specific copyright. Normally, that purchase includes the right to use it in that classroom. Teachers may NOT post the resource on the web. Teachers may NOT share it with another teacher.

Pinterest is filled with a wide variety of copyright. There is no general guidance other than one needs to check copyright carefully.

Use

Generally, you can freely link to items on the web. Downloading, scanning, copying or otherwise having control of the item is where you need to know about copyright.

Terms

Copyright is generally in force once an item is created. Some publishers choose to copyright their material in a way that can be reused. The most popular way for authors to do so is through Creative Commons.  There are different license types that you should be aware of:

Creators choose a set of conditions they wish to apply to their work.

Attribution Attribution (by)

All CC licenses require that others who use your work in any way must give you credit the way you request, but not in a way that suggests you endorse them or their use. If they want to use your work without giving you credit or for endorsement purposes, they must get your permission first.

ShareAlike ShareAlike (sa)

You let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and modify your work, as long as they distribute any modified work on the same terms. If they want to distribute modified works under other terms, they must get your permission first.

NonCommercial NonCommercial (nc)

You let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and (unless you have chosen NoDerivatives) modify and use your work for any purpose other than commercially unless they get your permission first.

NoDerivatives NoDerivatives (nd)

You let others copy, distribute, display and perform only original copies of your work. If they want to modify your work, they must get your permission first.

Previous Posts about Copyright

Music and Copyright

Copyright

NetFlix

New Google Calendar

Starting today, we are making the new Google Calendar available. This is an optional update at this time. You will need to click a blue button in the top right hand side of the calendar to upgrade. The new Google Calendar brings with it some nice features:

  • Pretty. The fonts and colors have been updated and modernized.
  • Add rich formatted text to events.
  • See contact information in events.

Google has some helpful information on the new calendar:

We hope that you find the new Google Calendar even more useful.

Ransomware

There is another report of another major ransomware attack. This one is based off of the same code as the WannaCry attack. If you have a Windows PC at home, please make sure that you have installed all of the security patches recommended by MicroSoft. MicroSoft has issued a security update that addressed this vulnerability. (This update was issued in April). Up to date computers will be fine.

This is also a good time to remember to “Think Before You Click”. Please make sure that you follow good digital practice of making sure that you are expecting a link, that you trust the person sending the link and that you verify the link before clicking on it.

Student Chrome Extensions

With the end of the school year, we have implemented a new feature. We will be limiting Google Chrome extensions for students. This is intended to provide additional security for our users and allow teachers to continue focusing on student work. Occasionally, we had students install Google Chrome extensions that would take over the browsing experience for the student. This meant that a teacher had to stop what he/she was doing and try to figure out what was happening with the student’s computer. This was frustrating for the student and the teacher.

Staff members will continue to be able to install any extensions that they want. We also have a handy form for staff members to suggest an extension that they would like students to be able to install. Extensions that students have installed that are not approved will be removed. Here is a list of the approved extensions:

  • Calculator
  • Camera
  • Gmail
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Classroom
  • Google Docs
  • Google Docs Offline
  • Google Drawings
  • Google Drive
  • Google Forms
  • Google Keep
  • Google Sheets
  • Google Slides
  • HiveSchool – Student
  • YouTube
  • Screencastify
  • SpeakIt

 

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