The January 2008 PBS series “Growing Up Online” includes some good video footage about Internet safety, cyberbullying, and social networking issues that are ideal for use with students at school when discussing these topics. As I regularly repeat, it is important to NOT over-emphasize the “predator and stranger danger” element of online social networking to the point where adults (as well as kids) have an imbalanced view of these topics, but at the same time we MUST address these issues directly and not ignore them. I strive to achieve this balance in my presentations on Internet safety as well as safe online social networking.

Ben Chun shared an excellent post last month which provides direct download links for FLV (Flash video) versions the individual chapters of this program, as well as a discussion of the “fair use” statements from PBS about these online materials, which appear to contradict each other and be confusing. Marrie Campbell, Editorial Director of FRONTLINE, responded with a comment to Ben’s post, stating:

Regarding the points you raised in, “Growing Up Online,” posted this week. FRONTLINE wants to thank you for bringing to attention these issues concerning educational access and use of FRONTLINE/WGBH online content. We have been working on addressing these issues and hope to get back to you in the near future about what we have done in this regard.

As I discussed in my presentations on copyright, fair use, and Creative Commons at NCCE in Seattle and COSN in Washington D.C. the past two months, fair use guidelines in the United States do NOT provide “bright line” rules and ARE frequently confusing for educators. I appreciate Ben’s post not only for providing the direct download link I was needing to Chapter 6 on Cyberbullying for the presentation I’m sharing today with Oklahoma City elementary students on this topic, but also for raising the larger fair use issues and drawing the attention of the FRONTLINE editor. I concur with Ben’s closing statement in his post:

If Frontline can get on board with some kind of [Creative] commons licensing, it would make it much easier for teachers who want to do the right thing, but who might not be as technically or legally savvy, to act with confidence.

On a technical note, I was pleased to be able to use the free Macintosh application TubeTV to convert the downloaded FLV file from the FRONTLINE website (Chapter 6 on Cyberbullying) into a QuickTime file, by selecting FILE – CONVERT FILES in the TubeTV application:

TubeTV is a free application for Mac OS X which converts FLV files to QuickTime versions

Previously I had just used TubeTV to download copies of YouTube and TeacherTube videos to my hard drive and convert them into QuickTime versions. I prefer playing videos in QuickTime rather than FLV versions with a media player like VLC because of the full-screen play option I have using QuickTime Pro, and because if necessary I can use the QT Pro editing options to brighten videos or make other changes. For the record, I am NOT making any changes to this downloaded FRONTLINE special, it is wonderful “as is” and does not require any brightening. Some videos available online DO need some adjusting, however, and I like having that option available to me by having the video in QT format.

For more video links as well as options for downloading offline copies of web videos to your hard drive, see my blog page “Videos for PD.”

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