The Dilemma of Copyright

I believe I am becoming a nerd for education… That may be a little embarrassing to admit, however, facing the facts now seems like a better idea than being in denial until the day I wake up and look at myself in the mirror and realize I’m wearing suspenders, large glasses, and a pocket protector. (P.S. Dr. Garcia’s shirt had fake pens in the pocket on Monday… it just keeps getting better and better!)


            The reason why I am admitting I have become a nerd for education is the fact that an assignment I read for EDUC 331 has become interesting enough to me that I feel the need to blog about it.


            The article can be accessed HERE if you are interested in reading it (if you haven’t already for your Education Technology class).


            For those of you who aren’t going to read it, here’s the main idea:

The article discusses the idea of copyright within the field of education. Your first thought may go straight to MLA, APA, and plagiarism (don’t worry, your teachers haven’t made you into robots). However, this article was actually about the use of copyright by educators for their ideas and lesson plans and notes and curriculum and textbooks and on and on. It discusses the idea of ‘ethics’ behind copyright within the context that when educators become stingy, or scream out “MINE!” about their research and/or teaching methods, it actually inhibits learning on a national and global scale. I.E. If other teachers and/or the general public has to pay for your ideas, it is making your knowledge inaccessible and therefore inhibiting further learning.


            Think about it for a second… If you spent years creating a lesson plan with countless hours of research and glitter pens, would you want some newbee (spelling?) teacher to come along and take it, without so much as a lick of credit to you, and implement it into their classroom? It may be a tough pill to swallow.


            However, from the other side, what is our main goal as being educators anyway? Aren’t we doing this job in order to SHARE our ideas, thoughts and knowledge for the benefit of students and society in general? Isn’t that the very definition of being a teacher? In my opinion, it is a tough dilemma between “How the heck am I going to get paid and credited for my ‘lack-of-social-life-crazy-hours-poured-into-research’ ideas” and “Peace-be-to-all-the-world-benefit-the-whole-society-and-be-as-humble-as-Mother-Teresea” strategy.


            As a future educator, I personally would love if lesson plans, curriculum ideas, etc. could be found easily online and were free. I feel like the accessibility of these things could only make me a better teacher by seeing where veteran teachers have ‘learned their lessons’ so to speak.


            However, I do see the other side of researchers (not just educators, but also scientists) getting their livelihood from their research. If all of their ideas and knowledge are put online and are accessible for free to all humanity, whose going to put the bread on the table for their family?


            Just some thoughts on copyright and what that means for future educators… I swear, the farther I dive into this major, the more I realize how complicated, overwhelming, daunting, and rewarding teaching is.


Alex Reynolds


DISCLAIMER: This blog was written and published by Alex Reynolds and all information needs to be cited properly or a fine of $1,000 will ensue. 


One thought on “The Dilemma of Copyright

  1. Alex,

    This was a really intriguing post. You bring up some great questions. I can see both sides of the situation. But, I would say that if the educator is getting their income from a source, other than their research, should make their lesson plans and other methods of teaching free to the public. If it would benefit the profession as a whole, then it should be given freely. But if they rely on their research as a source, then their information should be gain for a price. I know this might sound like a double standard, but I know how important it is for a person to make a living. I’m mostly saying that if an educator has a great idea, and they wouldn’t significantly gain from selling it, then why not give it away for free to everyone. Really tough question to ponder.

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