Ian Munro's Creative Commons in Schools Presentation
Using & sharing digital resources
Ministry of Education
12 MARCH 2014
The current situation
Almost every day in every school, teachers create resources that already
exist in the same, or different schools:
• Some teachers can be very protective of their own resources – the
reasons may include:
• Their results are good and they are confident their own material gives
them an edge over other teachers
• They believe all teachers should have to prepare their own material
• They do not want to risk having others criticise their work
Fortunately these attitudes are not as common as they were – but
unfortunately they still endure.
Teaching is evolving with technology. Newer teaching styles encourage:
• a more learner-centric approach; and
• the breaking down of many of the older barriers to sharing.
Moving into digital resources creates issues:
• Storage – does an artefact have to be stored?
• where should it be stored?
• can it be linked instead?
• Whose is it?
We often encourage students and/or staff to work collaboratively. This can
cause intellectual property issues because many people have contributed to
the creation of the artefact and ownership can be ‘fuzzy’.
We also encourage the 3R’s:
• Re-mix; and
The outcome can be an artefact or series of artefacts – unlike any of the
original artefacts it was sourced from. And it can now be applied in a new or
different way with a different emphasis, or purpose.
BUT whose is it?
Attitudes and IP
Traditionally, some teachers have had fairly casual attitudes towards intellectual
property. Digital technology opens up availability, but is accompanied with its own
• It is now very easy to locate and share resource material from around the
• The digital world effectively sits on your (and your students’) computers
• The ownership of digital resources can be very difficult to establish
• Have your ever thought about the true ownership of your ‘own’ resources?
What has been your practice when you moved schools – did you assume you could
take all your own resources and anything else you could lay your hands on?
Does your school have a policy covering resource ownership?
Many teachers find it difficult to accept that the Intellectual
Property of material they create while teaching at a school is
actually the property of the school board
Sharing digital resources
In the February 2011 earthquake, many teachers lost temporary or permanent access
to resources such as laptops, desktops, file-servers, portable drives, books, worksheets,
lesson plans etc.
• We were asked if replacement digital resources could be obtained from other
schools (not Christchurch) and made available online, particularly for examination
• We wanted excellent material so we talked to NZQA about identifying schools across
the country whose students had achieved consistently high results in NCEA over a
period of years
Sharing digital resources
• We assumed that great results were most likely a combination of:
• quality teaching;
• good resources; and
• the students themselves.
• As hoped, almost all schools wanted to help but a few came back with some
• Would the resources be made available to any other schools?
• How could we ensure file security once in the hands of the end-user?
• Other schools said:
• “whatever you need we will make available”
• “what a wonderful opportunity to create an online digital resources repository
for all schools”
Sharing digital resources– cont
Common difficulties emerged with nearly all schools – remember these schools had
what everyone thought were excellent digital resources. They included:
1. Vagueness about the ownership of the Intellectual Property (IP)
2. The excessive number of file formats in the resources – some familiar and some
3. The excessive size of some files
4. The location of files with very similar, or identical, names in different places
5. Links that pointed to locations that no longer existed or locations outside the
6. The absence of any methodical organisation of the folders and files
7. The absence of a naming schema meant many file names were meaningless
• Metadata is data describing context, content and structure of documents. With
each document you can add-in ‘metadata’ which includes words and properties of
a document that will help someone to search and locate it.
• In Word, you enter this under: File (or Office button) > Prepare > Properties and
you have headings including: Subject, title, author, keywords, category, comments
etc. This makes the document easy to find.
Schools and metadata
The use of metadata is not common in teacher-created resources
• The search engine we used for Christchurch teachers to search and access the files
was based on the very powerful search engine from the Koha library package. (It
searches mainly on metadata)
• The schools themselves were really surprised how long it took to put their
resources together so that the files could be easily accessed and meaningful to
• How easy is it in your school for a new teacher to locate relevant files?
• What is the key data that would be needed to describe any file so it would be easy
to find and be the resource you were expecting?
The key tags that we used included:
• NZQA standard name
• NZQA unit standard identification number
• internal or external
• author and or school
• media type
• licence type
• resource type
• student worksheet, lesson plan, unit plan, course outline etc
• This takes time while working on the file but enables any file to be quickly
searched for and correctly identified
What to think about – if you want to share resources
• Ownership and IP
• How to organise folders
• File naming and formats
• File type and storage
• File location
Establish a Creative Commons licensing policy