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The Mac Store

Posted by Christine S on 8:22 PM
     Well, I finally got my wish on Tuesday.  I took my class to the Mac Store for a field trip.  Now, this is not the make-up store I am talking about.  Being the techie that I am, I was surprised when one fellow teacher wondered why I was taking the kids to a make-up store.  Many other teachers had no idea of where it was that I was going.  When I explained where it was that I was going, I got the normal "only you Mrs. Cowan" since I am such a techie geek. 
     Anyway, we spent 2 hours in the store and the kids had a marvelous time.  They spent an hour creating a video using Photobooth and IMovie.  Their videos amazed me to say the least.  They spent the remaining hour checking out the IPhones, IPod Touch, and IPods.  They were asking me about the apps, programs, and much more.  The kids (and adults) really had a good time.  We then walked to McDonald's for lunch.  It was a really nice day.
     So, the next time you are trying to figure out a field trip, may I suggest the Mac Store.  Check this site out for more information. 

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Website Rant

Posted by Christine S on 8:17 AM
     Okay, this has been bugging me for a while and I haven't said anything about it or posted about it but I have to admit that I have hit the point where I am frustrated and saddened.  I have a website that I have put 100's, if not nearly 1000's of hours into.  I have worked hard to create it, maintain it, and make it user friendly.  The website has actually been around for nearly 12 years though it moved domain name 4 years ago.  I enjoy maintaining it because that is my hobby.
     Well, I like the teacher web-hosting sites that are designed strictly for teachers that charge a yearly fee (ie. Teacherweb, etc..).  However, I wanted unlimited space as well as the freedom to design my own space so I opted to have Yahoo host it under the small business plan.  It has worked for several years like this.  
     Several months ago I discovered a cool feature that allows me to see pages linked to mine.  For the fun of it, I surfed the links.  I have done that occasionally in recent months because it is interesting to see all of the other pages.  There are so many gifted teachers out there with so many wonderful ideas.  It is fun to make those connections.
     Well, last month I discovered a group of teachers had created a web page together for their grade level in another district.  This sounds like a great idea and would make it easier on the teachers because they could take turns updating the page.  However, they did something that really bothered me.  They copied not 1, not 2, but 3 full pages from MY PAGE!  They copied the pages down to the graphics, embedded links, formatting and embedded codes.  I have a code in the pages to prevent copying but apparently it doesn't work.  My name appeared nowhere on their page unless you clicked to open a graphic in a new page which brought you back to my site.  No credit, NOTHING!  They didn't link to me, they COPIED from me!  If I looked at the pages in question, I was looking at my pages!
     I realize that what I posted on my site is what classroom teachers do.  They are our strategies.  However, I am the one that typed them up into terms my student's parents could understand.  I used my own classroom experiences in creating them.  I am the one that organized them and I am the one that added additional hints to each strategy for parents to use.  I added the graphics that I purchased for my site to use.  I formatted the pages and made them into webpages.  I posted them by purchasing the website space.  I did it.  Doesn't that mean it is my work?  Is it any different than an author writing a book?  I mean we have all purchased those strategies books and found a strategy or two that made us go "I already know that" or "I do that already."  Does that mean I can copy that author's work and claim it as my own? 
     I emailed the teachers asking them to please provide a link back to my page.  The response I got (only two of a dozen responded) was disheartening to say the least.  One claimed she didn't get them from my page (even though the code in her page LINKED to MY page).  The other simply said "Wow."  I emailed back asking if this meant they would be removed.   She said she would discuss it with her grade level.
     More than a week passed and still no change.   It was obvious they would not remove the pages nor were they going to give me credit by linking back to me.   So, I spoke with their principal.  Perhaps I should not have but I didn't know what else to do.  All I asked for was credit for what I had done.  I walked her through the pages in question and showed her how I discovered that they were my work.   I stated that all I wanted was either a link back to my page giving me credit for what I had done or the pages removed.  She responded that they would be removed.
     More than 2 weeks passed and the pages were not changed.  This bothered me.  I know we get busy but all I wanted was credit for hours of MY WORK!  That is all.  They were able to take the time to copy the pages and post them.  It would take seconds putting a public link on the pages back to me saying courtesy of or created by me.  That's it.  So, I went to the next step.  I emailed the county office.    Suddenly, the pages were removed.  However, what still bothered me was an email that I finally got from one of the teachers.
     She forwarded me a email conversation between herself and the principal.  One of the principal's emails indicated that I was trying to take credit for normal classroom strategies.  Apparently, she had tried to explain this to whomever at the county office.  I was being the bad guy taking credit for my work.  This mentality really disturbs me.
    We tell our students not to copy from one another.  Yet it is okay for her teachers to copy my work and post it to their site.  Like I said, I am the one that typed them up.  The strategies came from my own experiences.  I sat at the computer and put them to paper just as many authors do.  I did it, not those other teachers.  Yet it is seen as okay for them to copy and post it as their own?!?!  I just don't get that.  I purchased the graphics for my site yet it is okay for them to post it to their site as their own?!?!  I formatted the text, created the supporting documents, and added the links yet it is okay for them to post it to their site as their own?!?!  With this mentality, does this mean I can copy one of my many reference books and post it to the web as my own?     

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