As I was looking at blogs of some of my fellow COETAILERS, I came across a post by Chris Goodman, who teaches at International School Manila http://www.ismanila.org/ on re-mixing http://www.coetail.com/chemgoody/2012/04/16/what-the-is-going-on/
His comments on mentor teachers sharing and passing on ideas and resources resonated with me because that had been my experience as well when I started teaching. However, just like him I have come across more and more teachers who are reluctant to collaborate on the basis on ‘intellectual property.’ I think that is not the real reason but that is a personal opinion. Either way I think it is sad. If teachers (who are supposed to model sharing and collaboration) are becoming hesitant to pass on the ‘tricks of the trade’ that have proved successful, then our profession is in trouble.
As part of a small school I have had the opportunity to re-mix and re-create some documents that are being used to set up systems at our school in the areas of curriculum mapping and curriculum mapping. Interestingly these documents do not belong to me (or to any of the other committee members). At our school there is a fine print in our contract that says that any material created by a teacher is actually the property of the school. I think this is true of other places as well – so why are the teachers hesitant to share?
I am also intrigued by this idea that educators are not willing to share openly and yet some of the brightest minds in the world are. The concept of Open Access http://www.plos.org/about/open-access/ where “scholarly information is available to everyone, free of most licensing and copyright barriers- for the benefit of global knowledge flow, innovation and socio-economic development” is one that is developing rapidly and being supported by organizations such as UNESCO http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/access-to-knowledge/open-access-to-scientific-information/
I don’t think these guys are too worried that they are not going to get the credit (rightly deserved) or that their work should not be remixed. Why then are some educators? I still believe that there are more educators who believe in ‘open access’ in education as well and who do want to collaborate and share freely. They are the ones that we should be looking at and celebrating! What do you think?