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Thank you to everybody who responded to my questions yesterday
regarding using MLA format in high schools. What I learned is
consistency lies in individual schools....
Here is a list of my questions and answers I received.

My Initial questions:
I have a few questions which I hope you can answer.
In attempting to have all of our teachers encourage students to use
the MLA format for projects in all high school teaching areas, there
is a debate about the non Language Arts assignments that need
----For example, if students in Science class are creating brochures on
various diseases they are researching, though it is not an essay, does
the information researched still need MLA citations?
----If the students are creating PowerPoint presentations on a drug for
Health class, do the Google images and information need to be cited
directly on the presentation?
----If the students are assigned to create a collage and 50 or more
pictures are taken from Google images, do they all have to be cited
individually in MLA format.
These are the types of questions that have been raised, and I want to
validate what I've been saying.

Various answers I received
1. Any time students use information they have found through research,
the information needs to be cited. This is an important part of not
violating copyright law. I'm a little fuzzier on pictures, but, in the
interests of not getting sued over violation of copyright, it's
probably a good idea to cite the picture locations as well. An
alternative there might be to point the students toward Microsoft
Office clipart online (thousands of pictures) or other clipart which
is not under copyright.
As far as getting the entire school to do MLA format goes, well, MLA
format was designed to be useful in Language Arts assignments.
Obviously it's easier if there's a school-wide standard, but maybe the
science or other teachers would be more comfortable with APA or other
discipline-related format.

2. As an English teacher I wanted to voice my thoughts. Anytime any
information is garnered from another source it needs to be credited.
If it is a picture, the general rule has been to give the web address
for its source, not an entire MLA citation. Students also should be
taught that they may not take any random image from Google images and
use in their own works. Some of those images would be copyright

3. We went to the nearby university where 50% of our graduates go after
high school. They suggested that we not teach any particular citation
format but rather teach the students how to find all the information
needed for any format.
Ideally, we want our students to document all of their work. However,
when using 50 images what is the purpose? Is this gong to be published?
Then yes, list each one. Do you just want them to know how to document
a source from Google images - then have them give one - although,
ideally I would think they would go to the image source and document
that. Do you want them to spend more time learning or documenting?
Would a url be sufficient to show the source?
Anyway, our English Department uses MLA exclusively. Most of our
history Department uses Chicago, Science uses APA, and all freshmen
classes are taught a simplified format for the most commonly used
sources - book, anthology, periodical, and website.
We're trying to get them to learn how to document sources, but leave it
up to each teacher as to how much of the source needs to be documented
and in what format. We have some teachers who don't care, as long as
they can find the source with the information given. The way I see it,
it should depend on what your learning objectives are.

4. I would say yes to all of those questions.  Students and teachers need to be
aware of intellectual property issues.  Many think it only applies to
research papers, which is why images and music is illegally copied so often.

5. I think it is our job to help students understand that whenever they use
information from a source other than their own prior knowledge, they should
cite it if they are going to use it in any kind of assignment.  This is
called intellectual honesty or academic integrity. That goes for brochures,
posters, powerpoints, even cartoons they post on bulletin boards. It's only
fair to the reader (who may actually want to consult the original) as well
as to the original creator, and maybe even more importantly, it gets them in
the habit of acknowledging someone else's work.

6. I've always liked putting the URL of the image in a text box next
to the image.  I tell the students (and teachers) that it is just like
a photo credit in a newspaper or magazine.  The font doesn't have to
be really large, I generally use 8 point.  If someone wants to know
where the image came from they can always go back and enlarge the font
to read the URL easily.

As for the rest of your questions, I always say yes.  Remember that
there are bibliographies in encyclopedias and movies/documentaries
give credit when they get something from somewhere else.

Thanks again.
Rita Sitron
Walled Lake Northern High School
Commerce, MI

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