The internet has made it easier to access, share, and create content. This truism has huge implications for education; with access to the Web, educators and students have escaped the confines of the classroom. The ability to share lesson plans, collaborate on lessons, and peer produce projects is exciting—but with it brings many potential effectiveness issues, infrastructural issues, and copyright issues.
We interviewed teachers at Amistad, a New Haven charter school, regarding their thoughts on collaborative education and fair use, and gleaned interesting insights. After examining their comments and doing some research, we broke down collaborative education into three main systems, and analyzed each: An intra-school-network system of sharing lesson plans; a system where teachers sell lesson plans; and a system where teachers share lesson plans freely. Each system had quite a few pros and cons.
Alongside Nick Bramble at the Yale ISP, we submitted these analyses to the FCC. We also worked with Nick to help draft a piece addressing fair use issues in education. With new technologies and no clear rules, fair use in education is a topic that must be addressed and made clearer. With regards to our project, sharing materials and lesson plans online creates a vibrant atmosphere that, unfortunately, is setting itself up for abuse/lawsuits. If educational copyright issues aren’t made clearer, the potential that this peer-to-peer atmosphere creates may be stifled.
To see some of our contributions, check out this document (.doc).