I talk to folks a lot about open licensing and Creative Commons. Most folks have no familiarity with these topics, but I’m happy to say that the awareness level is rising. One question I’ve gotten several times lately is “What if you use something that is marked with an open license but it really isn’t?” (e.g. an uploader has posted something that they don’t own and that is actually all rights reserved).
Like most questions related to digital content, there is an non-digital analogue. :) We know how to recognize pirated movies or books through physical signs — they often don’t look like their authentic sources. This can be true for digital piracies as well. Here are some tips to help you make sure the content you think is open really is:
- Get your open content from reliable sources. Sites like Wikipedia closely monitor content that is posted under an open license to make sure it is truly open.
- If something looks like it probably isn’t open licensed, don’t use it. (If, for example, you find a purportedly open licensed video from a commercial movie like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” it probably isn’t really open.)
- If the creator and the uploader are obviously two different people, be skeptical.
- When it doubt, double-check and ask.
Mostly this comes down to having good judgement, a 21st century skill if there ever was one (timeless even, one hopes).
And I suppose for the still concerned, no one is going to find too much fault with you if you resuse a resource that was posted as open but in fact wasn’t.
** UDPATE** New handout on creating ebooks with Calibre
In my 4T Virtual conference session today, there was a lot of interest in how to make ebooks with open content, so I’m writing this short post with more details. (We’ll also be doing this at ISTE 2012 this year, so stay tuned for more resources and handouts on this.)
Here are steps for one, very easy way to do this:
- Create your ebook content in Word (or LibreOffice…or even in Google Docs, exporting to a Word doc afterward), including images, etc.
Make sure your images are your own or open licensed for sharing, and cite your sources!
- Export the document to HTML (filtered) by doing Save As… with a Save As Type of “Web Page, Filtered.”
- Download and install Calibre, a free, open source ebook tool.
- Open Calibre, click Add Books, and add your HTML document.
- Your book will then appear in the list in the main part of the screen. Highlight it and click Edit metadata to add a title, author, cover, etc.
- You can continue going through the wizard, or close it and select Convert books to select your format.
EPUB and MOBI (Kindle) are two of the most popular formats.
- Your final ebooks will be in a folder called Calibre Library in your documents folder. You can also click Path: Click to open to navigate directly to that folder.
In the interest of getting this post up quickly, this is brief. If you have questions or need clarifications, post here or drop me an email. Hope this is useful.
And thanks again Liz Kolb and her team for putting together this great online learning opportunity!
We are gearing up for an exciting summer at the P2PU School of Ed. (In case you’ve missed it, this initiative is all about free, open, peer-centered professional development for K-12 teachers).
Here is what we are planning for June and July. If you’d like to participate, please sign up. We’re also looking for co-facilitators for new groups and are always eager to get suggestions for new offerings.
PhET Simulations for Science and Math
Description: PhET simulations are designed to provide an open exploratory environment that can be used in many different educational settings. In this three week course, you will learn about how the sims are designed, will examine some best practices for use, and will explore/create lessons you can use with your students.
Dates: July 9-29, 2012
Global Dialog: International and Comparative Perspectives on Education
Description: This 1-month seminar is for educators, learners and parents who are keen to discuss and compare education systems from around the world. The course is divided into 4 modules each containing 1 or 2 short online videos, an optional reading, online asynchronous discussions and an optional synchronous discussion (via Skype) around the following topics: global definitions of learning and education, cross-country education borrowing and lending, educating the whole person, and creating sustainable education systems.
Dates: June 4 – July 1, 2012
ePortfolios for Teachers
Description: A group to explore the use and development of online portfolios as a personal learning tool for teachers. We’ll look at what purpose portfolios can serve, different tools for assembling an online portfolio, what kinds of artifacts can be collected, and how more formal credit might be tied to portfolios. Participants will have an opportunity to begin building an eportfolio if they choose.
Dates: July 9-29, 2012
Making Writing and Literacy Learning Connections
Description: If “digital” is how we write, share, and participate today and into the future, what does that mean for the teaching of writing and for learning?
Join a National Writing Project study group as we explore these questions together through our own experiences and those of the NWP Digital Is community. Each week we’ll focus on a different aspect of inquiry and practice related to writing, teaching and connected learning.
Dates: July 9-29, 2012
Syndicated Education in Distributed Learning Environments
Description: In education, schools create coherence based on ‘Conceptual Orientation’ (i.e. sense making), illustrating how theories and knowledge are related. Following the emerging trend of Distributed Learning Environments used in Networked Learning, teachers also need to include ‘Spatial Orientation’ (i.e. way finding) to answer questions like: Where do I find useful Learning Resources (i.e. salience)? How are these resources interconnected (i.e. pattern recognition)? What is the underlying message (i.e. trajectory)? During this course, you will create, deliver and manage an educational event that aggregates the latest work from participants within the cohort into one location. This allows Peer-to-Peer (P2P) learning and keep the work they do in their own Personal Learning Environment (PLE).
Dates: June 25-July 14, 2012
Reimagining Developmental/Basic English Curriculum
Description: A design charrette for teachers, developers, content experts, and interested others to share, explore and create transformative practices, essential content and skills necessary for student success in college. This course, produced in collaboration with the National Repository of Online Courses (NROC), will take a systems approach to examining current content, standards and assessments, invite thought leaders/practitioners to discuss emergent trends in curriculum redesign, collaboratively explore transformative approaches and the role of digital and social media, and technology, to improve access and success for any student needing remediation.
Dates: July 9-20, 2012
Curating Our Digital Lives
We curate our digital lives each and every day. How can we use curation tools, techniques and practices to support ourselves in our own learning and support youth as they engage in academic learning and production? Join this three-week-long discussion, facilitated in collaboration with the National Writing Project, to share your thoughts and to hear from others.
Dates: July 9-29, 2012
On Sat. May 19 at 1:oo pm Eastern, I’m going to be doing a free online workshop on “Remixing Open Educational Resources for Your Classroom” (webinar link here) as a part of the Virtual 4T Conference. CEUs are available for this session.
This 2-hour workshop will be almost entirely hands-on (and online?!?!). I’m trying a new format. It will look something like this:
- 15 minute intro – What is remixing? What is OER?
- 1-1/2 hour – Using open content (a list of resources supplied), participants will remix for topics/lessons of their choice.
- Everyone chooses a lesson or topic that they’d like to address. They will also pick a final remix format (web page, PowerPoint, ebook, movie, etc.).
- Participants can work individually or in small groups.
- There will be a shared wikispace where people can collaborate or post their work if they like (or they can use their own space).
- I’ll be available for support throughout the two hours (and by email afterward).
The idea of doing an online workshop that is primarily hands-on with “on call” support available is new for me. I’m excited about it.
I’m hoping some great remixed, shareable content comes out of this! Hope you can join us.
And stay tuned for a debrief afterward on how this format worked.
** UPDATE **
This workshop went great! Here is an archive recording of it.
David Bornstein’s excellent book How to Change the World, which is about social entrepreneurs, the citizen sector, and the work of the Ashoka Foundation, concludes with a very interesting discussion of the use of metrics and analytics to value social enterprises. He says, in part:
Citizen groups and funders should remain cautious when embracing numerical assessments. The quest for quantifiable social returns or outcomes has become an obsession in a sector that envies the efficiency of business capital markets. Given this obsession, it is important to remember that numbers have an unfortunate tendency to supersede other kinds of knowing. The human mind is a miracle of subtlety: It can assimilate thousands of pieces of information — impressions, experiences, intuition — and produce wonderfully nuanced decisions. Numbers are problematic to the extent that they give the illusion of providing more truth than they actually do. They also favor what is easiest to measure, not what is most important.
He goes on to say that there are many areas of society in which we accept informed judgement, rather than pure analytics, as the best way to make decisions, for example, in our court system with the standard of reasonable doubt.
Rather than just using analytics to judge social enterprises, Bornstein suggests that citizen sector research analysts might be employed to assess efficacy using a variety of criteria and ultimately expert judgement.
Some particularly important points to me in this discussion include:
- By focusing on analytics, we naturally target our activities toward those numbers, not to our real goals.
- It is hard to resist gaming the analytics, again to the detriment of our real goals.
- Quality of service in the social sector is more than analytics.
This may seem counter-intuitive, but it applies to many things I am involved in right now. Online and blended learning. Assessment. Professional learning.
You can’t just boil those things down to numbers, and by trying to do so, we may be compromising our core missions.