"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Friday, August 23, 2013

Issues Other than Learning

Education does focus on learning of students. Resources, however, introduce additional issues to contend when reforming education. Resources used for teaching are created by people. This creativity comes with a price and a tag "All Rights Reserved":
Photo Credit: Compfight

Wikipedia defines Copyright as a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time. Generally, it is "the right to copy", but also gives the copyright holder the right to be credited for the work, to determine who may adapt the work to other forms, who may perform the work, who may financially benefit from it, and other related rights. It is a form of intellectual property (like the patent, the trademark, and the trade secret) applicable to any expressible form of an idea or information that is substantive and discrete.

Curriculum reform in basic education entails a change in learning resources; textbooks, modules, activities, and even exams. All of these resources are created by someone. With copyright, the holder alone can grant permission for copies and adaptations. A recent article on EdWeek, "Common-Core Curricula Spark Teacher Resistance", may initially give the impression that teachers are resisting changes in the curriculum. But the resistance is likewise coming from the creators of learning resources, the publishers:
"...The first came from the publishing world, whose biggest players snubbed the competitive procurement process because of unusual requirements that the materials be free of licensing restrictions that would interfere with New York's desire to make them available for free online...."
How creators of learning resources get credit for their work is not confined to education reform. Copyright is indeed one of the biggest challenges of online learning. Access to peer-reviewed journals are generally limited to paid subscribers. Figures, tables, data are not supposed to be copied from these sources without copyright permission. Requiring publishers to make the content publicly available bring pause to any entrepreneur. With a one-time payment, of course, this is possible, and New York has been able to attract some takers (which comes with a $28 million price tag). So, here is the site where free learning resources intended for the new core-curriculum can be found:


Free Materials
New York state’s contracts for common-core curricula require that the materials be free of licensing and other restrictions that would impede the state from making them available for free online. Four vendors won contracts to develop curriculum and accompanying professional development for the state. Their materials are being posted on New York’s common-core website, www.engageny.org, as they are developed, with the full set scheduled to be complete by December 2014.
English/Language Arts
PreK-2: Core Knowledge Foundation
Grades 3-5: Expeditionary Learning
Grades 6-8: Expeditionary Learning, under subcontract to Public Consulting Group
Grades 9-12: Public Consulting Group
Mathematics
PreK-12: Common Core Inc.

No comments:

Post a Comment