Sharing ideas that aren’t mine…Ok or not ok?

Last week, we focused on the concept of open education as well as sharing in the open. With education now being “open”, it has evolved greatly. Not only does open education provide us with the opportunity to share, build on knowledge and collaborate, it has also changed the way in which we teach. Now a days, we so rarely see the traditional education practices being performed. By this, I mean a teacher-centered delivery where the teacher delivers information while the students sit quietly in their desks and are expected to receive the information. Open education now offers teachers a variety of ways for content delivery. Furthermore, it changes the ways students can receive information, specifically in a more interactive fashion.

In the video “Why Open Education Matters”, it describes how traditional education does not accommodate to all learners and their specific needs. It also explains how open education “aims to bring quality education to teachers and students everywhere” by providing access to up-to-date materials and resources. With open education, teachers have the ability to adapt information so they may accommodate to their learners. As a teacher, I understand that open education is absolutely essential for both teachers and students. It saves costs for teachers, provides flexibility and offers students diverse learning experiences.

Kirby Ferguson’s videos “Everything is a Remix” demonstrates how we learn through the process of copying existing content. He states, “creativity isn’t magic, it happens by applying ordinary tools of thought to existing materials”. By taking an idea, creating variations of that idea and combining them, you have produced a remix/remake of something which already exists, but has been adapted. These videos made me think about my profession and how teachers are reliant on sharing and remaking materials often. So much of this “copying” occurs, yet we refer to it as borrowing or collaboration, rather than copying. Personally, I have spent many hours creating my own learning material and I have always shared my resources with my colleagues. I do not relate sharing to copying, but maybe I should? I am starting to wonder if there is a difference between the two now? Should I take pride in creating my own materials if somewhere down the road I got these ideas from existing content?

Ferguson explains, “Nobody starts out original”. This is very true. Ashley states “I am not responsible for creating the material that I am responsible to provide to students, this has been studied and developed by scholars, medical professionals, and scientists”. Like Ashley, I am not responsible for creating the material I provide to my students. Although I have the option to adapt content in ways to which better suit our students learning needs, I am not the original creator of that content. I am provided with the resources I need in order to teach the skills and concepts directed by the Saskatchewan curriculum.

Ze Frank’s Ted Talk focuses on the concept of sharing online. Within this video, he speaks about the different ways people have shared online and explains how their shared experiences have resonated/impacted the online world. Sharing online allows people to connect and creates a platform to discover others with similar interests. I felt happy after viewing this video because many of the content he speaks of result in positive practices of sharing online. Furthermore, he demonstrates how sharing online has the potential to inspire others. I agree with Marley when she explains, “so much of what is online is negative or at least that is what is shown in the media”. Therefore, it was refreshing to listen to a variety of shared experiences that ended on a positive note.

Therefore, as teachers, I believe we have the responsibility to sit down with our students and review what it means to “copy”. We can also have a discussion with our students about how many ideas are existing and that we can still take an idea, create variations, combine and adapt it. Perhaps showing our students different examples of specific ideas (as Ferguson did in his videos) and demonstrate how these ideas have been adapted differently would be a fun and interactive mini-lesson! How would you explain the concept of sharing ideas with your students?  What would you focus on specifically?

Thanks for stopping by!

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2 thoughts on “Sharing ideas that aren’t mine…Ok or not ok?

  1. Pingback: Channing Degelman

  2. In my next Social 9 class (my blogging project) we are going to do a mini-lesson on attribution and the definition of copying, how to source your ideas on the blog and touch on sourcing on paper (the “traditional” citation). I have not allowed students to post any form of an image to their blog to date because I have not had the opportunity to have this conversation with them. I plan to also integrate the idea of remix to them, as many of them are already familiar with it.

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