Teachers share, it is in our nature! We are always creating resources, units of learning, planning, or innovative classroom ideas. With our passion for sharing comes the flip side – our quest for ideas or resources from others so that we can tweak them for our purpose.
What most teachers do not know is that we do not own the work, resources or ideas that we produce in the course of our everyday jobs in schools. It is the intellectual property of our schools (employers). This comes as a shock, the idea that we cannot legally share our work without the express permission of our School Boards.
This really wasn’t too much of an issue in pre-internet times but in a world of hyperconnectivity we need to be very aware of intellectual property rights in our everyday actions.
In 2013 we adopted a creative commons licensing approach to intellectual property produced in our school. Our teachers were sharing more on more resources online and connecting with a great many schools who were visiting us. It would have been a nightmare to seek permission from the board, more likely the school principal, every time a teacher or student wanted to share information.
A discussion paper gave enough background and information for the Board to see the need to move to this form of attribution. Key drivers in this decision were links we made to our vision in terms of collaboration and connectivity, as well as the advent of the Network for Learning.
The next step for us is to ensure that all resources we produce have an attached license. We also need to be proactive in collaboration by posting and sharing resources via WikiEducator. This will be a slow journey as moving to something new or different requires attention to changing our mental models. In order for sustainable change we must remember that slow is better.
For schools thinking about Creative Commons licensing have a look at this presentation Creative Commons for more information. Matt McGregor from Creative Commons Aotearoa is a great contact to make. If you are connected via twitter contact Matt via @CC_Aotearoa. Connect with other NZ educators who are committed to Creative Commons Mark Osborne, Andrew Cowie, Claire Amos or Otago based guru and champion of Open Education Resources Wayne Mackintosh.
With the Network for Learning Portal just around the corner school leaders need to revisit their intellectual property documentation. Creative Commons in Schools isn’t about abdicating responsibility and a copy anything approach. It is about acknowledgement, respect and attribution where the license is determined by the creators of amazing information, resources and ideas within our schools.