A Teacher Thief

Assign #1 in CEP811 Adapting Innovating Tech To Ed is the delve into what Maker Ed is all about.

The MAET program has given us a few resources to check out to help us identify what maker ed is, and why it is beneficial to the education system. Please, take a look for yourself at the resources. My reflection awaits below.
Maker Ed

Along with “making” comes this idea of “remixing”.

Everything is a Remix Remastered (2015 HD) from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.


Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy by Lawrence Lessig

Here is a link to a hard copy if you prefer: Amazon

But, how does copyright play into this idea of “remxing”?

Teaching Copyright

Question posed in CEP811:

What connections do you see between the general idea of making as human, Ferguson’s ideas, Lessig’s ideas, the Maker Education Initiative and the work you do as an educator? Anything?

As a teacher, I admit freely that I am a thief.

I spend hours scouring the internet for the best possible materials to engage my students. I steal from other educators, pop culture, from the students themselves; whatever I have to do to grab the students’ attention and direct it towards what our learning goal is. I want to focus my energy on the students’ learning not creating every bit of material I use from scratch. Does this mean that I do not create myself? Absolutely not, I am constantly tweaking, revising, adapting, improvising, adjusting, molding, cutting, adding, slicing, ripping. Images, videos, sounds, speeches, articles, everything is free game. All is fair in love, war, and education. When you are trying to teach (entertain) adolescents, by gum, you do what you gotta do.

As a man of science, I am completely in sync with this idea of building on the knowledge that came before us. If you know anything about science, you understand that scientists constantly build on each other’s work. Otherwise, we would still have people arguing that the Earth is the center of the universe (not that there isn’t anyone that does that, they are just not people of science). Simply put, we as a species cannot move forward if we are all continually working on the same problems over and over again. A shared knowledge is what has allowed the human race to flourish. In this age of information, we have the opportunity to propel our race even further into the depths of understanding.

I completely understand and support the ideas behind the laws of Copyright. No one should be allowed to steal someone else’s idea, and gain from it while the original creator suffers. However, copyright laws are not always used in this light. In an age where lawsuits are running rampant, copyright law is being utilized for profit, even when the transformed secondary material poses no threat to the original content.

I would argue that this practice does nothing more than stifle creativity, and thus, halts the progress of our collective knowledge, and prevents our species from moving forward in our thinking and understanding of the world around us. This puts copyright law directly at odds with the universal idea of education.

So, how do we move forward from this point? Where do we draw the line between copyright infringement, and creative expression? How do we allow our culture to enjoy the opportunity to analyze the medium that inspires it without stifling creativity in the process? There are many other questions to be asked, and hopefully my studies will help me reflect on solutions to these problems.

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