Cyber Law

Dan Bradley

EDU 624

Prof. Stoloff

How would you plan to advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources?

How would you plan to promote, model and establish policies for safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology?


The issue of law within educational technology has become more important to me over the past month or so, due to working at a 1:1 school, and the new laws passed by Connecticut regulating specific standards each app listed on Google Education must meet in order to be approved to be used in your classroom. What I enjoyed about Cyber Law, by Bissonette is how she broke down Cyber Law between cyberbullying, appropriate use of technology, copy write law, and privacy, to name a few topics but really showed all of the different aspects of how the law is interacting with technology, and what teachers and schools need to be made aware of and proficient in, in order to better serve our students, and in some cases, stay on the right side of the law.

In discussing cyberbullying, Bissonette detailed several different tactics used by the perpetrators to bully their victims, but I did find one fact included to be very interesting. “Interestingly, females are more likely to be cyberbullies than males. In all likelihood, this is because cyberbullies, unlike traditional bullies, don ’t need to be physically superior to their victims” (Bissonette 6). I would not have initially thought this to be true, but the with the explanation given, and more thought on the topic, it seems to become easier to understand how a larger population of online cyberbullies are females, because once physicality is removed, it can even the playing field of a power balance between two people that may not be possible in the physical realm. I found Bissonette bringing up the laws on cyberbullying to be extremely helpful, but she also made a very good point in that the law cannot keep pace with the ever evolving technology (Bissonette 6-7). The key to creating a positive climate within your class is making sure to model proper online expectations. I think it is truly imperative to model positive online behavior for the students, so students can have a much better, and to make sure to stop any cyberbullying actions as soon as you are made aware of them (Bissonette 9).

Another topic covered by Bissonette had to deal with proper use of the internet by students, and how the idea of free speech and 1st Amendment Rights are transferable to students in an online setting. It was interesting to see what type of roles a school can play depending on what was said, and where it was said. If a student makes a claim against another student or teacher on school grounds, then the school, according to Bissonette, is within their rights to discipline the students (Bissonette 21-22). Bissonette continues to delve into this issue, but I think for my own class, using techniques and resources such as activities and lessons from to help illustrate proper use of online resources, and how your words can impact others, is a helpful and meaningful insight for students to see the negative impact they are having.

One last topic that Bissonette covers, is copy write law and how it can affect both students and teachers inside the classroom.  Believe teaching what copyright law is a necessary lesson in today’s world because technology is so much a part of everyday life. As teachers, we often discuss and teach how plagiarism is a bad habit to be involved in, and violating copyright laws are essentially the online version of plagiarism. “Copyright law protects original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Original works of authorship include many things: literary works; musical works, including any accompanying words; dramatic works, including any accompanying music; pantomimes and choreographic works; pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works; sound recordings; and architectural works” (Bissonette 60). Because copyright laws can be so wide and varied, when using sources that are found online it is easy for a teacher or student to not fully understand that they could be breaking the law in the way they are using and distributing the work without properly giving credit for the work or paying for its use. Taking the time to understand and teach copyright laws when also teaching plagiarism in work, I believe would be a great way for teachers to better illustrate to their students that intellectual property is something to be respected and accessed and used properly. So often, what we considered fine to share, make copies of, embed and integrate into our lessons even as teachers can fall into illegal activity due to not following copyright law in the manner we should be. I think as teachers, the need to understand copyright law is a necessity for the safety and skill for our benefit, but also to better instruct our students on it as well.

Overall, the ability to include technology within our everyday lessons is something that is an amazing benefit and tool that we as teachers can utilize in our classes to create fun, and interactive lessons like never before. But, with this greater ability through technology, there are many different avenues that we must be prepared to teach around and explicitly model for our students for them to see the importance of some aspects of technology in education, and also lawful and responsible use of other people’s intellectual property. I think for so long, teachers, especially ELA and Social Studies teachers, have taught the concept of plagiarism, paraphrasing, and the proper citation of sources, a renewed focus on copyright laws in distinction to the increased technological use within our classrooms, is something that is a natural progression of teaching, and one that is extremely important as a 21st century skill to learn.


Bissonette, A. M. (2009). Cyber Law: Maximizing Safety and Minimizing Risk in Classrooms. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin.