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EdTech Update





Being grandpa

For the next few days I'm being a grandpa, not a blogger. Have a happy 4th!

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How has the read-write web impacted copyright?

From an e-mail this week, Nadine asks:

Could you elaborate about how wiki’s and blogs in education are impacted (or not) by intellectual property? One of my principals in my district is taking a class for her Doctorate. She is not involved with Web2.0 technology at all so she relies on me for all things technology. She's asked me this question several times. While sitting in a session this morning (at the time you were presenting), she once again told me that her professor is looking for more information.

I've given her a lot of info about the proliferation of open source - a collaborative, sharing culture and creative commons, which I think is pretty much all you have to know when creating content on a blog or wiki. Maybe I'm completely off base so I'd like if you could give me some more input on her behalf.

An interesting question (that I am sure I fully understand) meriting a discussion, I believe. I'll start it and hope others will contribute their ideas.

My sense is that the read-write web has created a good deal of urgency to everyone understanding and applying  copyright law and fair use policies. What really separates Web 2.0 from Web 1.0 is that any idiot can publish of public content with no financial investment, no technical skills and no writing ability (or original thoughts). This means:

  • that anyone who publishes ought to have a firm grasp on what is legal and ethical in regard to the use of others' intellectual property as a part of his own creation.
  • that anyone who publishes ought to have a firm grasp on what IP protection he would like applied to his own work.

The biggest difference to me is not the copyright laws or how they are applied, but in the number of people who now need to understand and apply them on a very regular basis.

The increase in the number of people being impacted by copyright laws - either as producer or consumer - has given rise to some populist-type calls for reform - Free Software movement, Creative Commons, Electronic Freedom Foundation, etc. And the ease with which IP can be distributed online is forcing new economic models of how creators profit from their work.

Oh, Nadine, I suspect anyone smart enough to get a doctorate ought to be smart enough to realize he/she should know a little something about this Web 2.0 business and how it may impact education. But I hope this helps.


I've created a page of links to all my fair use ethics scenarios here. I hope they prove to be good discussion starters...


The NECC lovefest to all things 2.0 reflection

Home from NECC in DC. Great to be gone; great to be home. Going to try to summarize a few thoughts about this year's giant lovefest to all things that go beep two-point-oh.

  • I can't say that I took away any real exciting ideas or products or strategies from this year's event. Might have been my choice of sessions, might be the low time on the innovation cycle, or maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention. Talked to several others who felt the same way. Google Apps for Education was the biggest product buzz going by far. Cloud-computing the buzz word.
  • If someone had presented about one more fabulous Web 2.0 or iPod tool that would make my life easier, I was going to snap and slap him. Yes, I voluntarily attended three more-or-less back-to-back sessions on gadgets, tools and such, so it is my fault. It did seem that many more people were aware of the tools being introduced as indicated by hand raising polls in session. "So how many of you are aware of Animoto." Half the room went, "Well, duh!" and the other half went, "Way cool!" Differentiated instruction for educators, anyone?
  • Scott McLeod gave the best concurrent session of the conference, talking about disruptive technologies. I believe it was recorded and will try to post the link when made available. A current that seemed to run through the conference was the anticipation/dread of social learning/educational networking being a truly disruptive technology. Some frustrated educators trying to make systemic change in their schools are viewing something disruptive as their only hope.
  • The vendor area was overwhelming and obnoxious and had an air of desperation. I was there for about an hour. There has to be a better way for commercial folks to get ISTE members excited and informed about their products and financially support the organization.
  • When will ISTE move to a paperless conference? The conference program book now outweighs my laptop. It's so bloated that finding information is difficult. Oh, vendors - the first thing that gets dumped are those catalogs and flyers in the conference bag. (And I don't even look at all those mailed flyers prior to the conference either.) Let's save some trees here, people. Seemed like everyone brought a laptop - with a high percentage of them being netbooks.
  • Lot's 'o librarians at NECC this year. We are a force thanks to the outstanding leadership of the SIGMS. Peggy, Debbie and Lisa - you are great! Chris Harris gets my vote for the most visionary speaker I heard. He promoted getting in touch with our inner "geeks" and learn how to imbed 2.0 tools like ZoHo's in our library webpages.
  • NECC 09 was "twitter-ific" with microblogging going mainstream. As a presenter, it's a bit unnerving to think the rest of the world knows you stink even before you session ends.
  • Once again, a humbling moment after my session when a young woman came up afterwards, "complimenting" me by saying that it was inspiring to see a man of my advanced years using a wiki. Good grief. Not quite as bad as being told a couple years ago that I was "lively" for a guy my age.
  • The reception at the Library of Congress on Tuesday was very nice, although we were probably the rudest audience I'd ever experienced (and they cut off the flow of wine at 7:30). The LOC gets top billing for the most beautiful interior of any building in DC, perhaps the world.
  • It was good to see reason and thoughtfulness trounce glibness and cheap shots in the Lemke/Stager debate about the need for physical schools on Tuesday morning. Buildings are tools and can be well used or poorly used, and we can all agree education - buildings, networks and approaches - all need to improve.
  • As always, seeing and visiting with friends, old and new, are the best part of NECC. And thanks to everyone who came up to say hello and tell me something that I had done was helpful or appreciated. It's a little embarrassing, but I kind of like it.

Next year NECC will be in Denver. See ya, there.

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