I recently checked this site in response to someone who was trying to start a discussion here by insulting teachers.

Supposedly, teachers are not being quick enough to embrace something called a "open content curriculum" which appears to be the buzz words for something so new, no one can define it as yet. The discussion referred me to the website http://creativecommons.org/ which I have visited several times. Seems the site is a so-called "non-profit" that solicits donations without having any project of goal that the donations contribute to. They profide a "Free" license to do what you can do with your work with or without the license. It just tells people how they can use your resources. Since you don't register for the license, you would have no more or less legal standing than if you merely stated on the site how you are willing to share your work. Under the heading of "opportunities", they are offering no jobs, bur seeking volunteers. The staff appears to be made up mostly of young people, some not out of college yet, who are volunteering. The annual audit shows contributions received in the millions with nothing going out but small amounts in expenses, which obviously are not spent on a payroll. The annual statement indicates that the company owns millions in "assets". The link to show examples of their "users" leads to a choice of search engines which produce the usual output for what you put in. There is a disclaimer saying that you can't know if anyone has their license, unless you communicate with the owner of the site.

In short, unless someone else knows anything positive about this site, I would suggest that those who are making web content steer clear of it. Certainly, don't "donate" any money to them.

And, please, teachers, don't be offput from questioning possible scams and unsupported "facts" by being told you are "unprofessional".

Being a professional does not mean being a patsy for those with ulterior motives.

Tags: Commons, Creatuve, content, copyright, issues, licensing, of, web

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I will preface what I am about to say by admitting that I read the thread that you and indigo had your tit for tat discussion on, so I expect your question is partly originated from that issue.

Creative Commons licenses have been around for quite a while. Perhaps their most popular use today is through Flickr where where users can upload photos under a creative commons license - which means that they waive the usual copyright restrictions you associate with published work, in order that their photos can be used by anyone for just about anything as long as the end user attributes the original artist. This has been extended in various other markets on the internet and is seen as an altruistic way to support various causes/industries.

Now, as for the website you mentioned, I do not know much about that specifically, but I believe they are the people responsible for initiating the creative commons license in the first place. I see no ulterior motive or compulsion to donate.
Jonathon,

Thank you for a good response. I will have to check out Flickr when I am looking for pictures for my website. Since most of the time, I use a picture from a site as an icon for that site, I have never yet had any copyright issues on my site.

As to the site, the donations really concern me. I don't know what they are doing with the money. From the annual report, it seems they are being invested in "assets"

And, yeah, I did go a bit ballistic over the contentions that teachers are not moving fast enough to adopt the latest in technology. The government has educators' hands tied to prevent adoption of methodology that is not "proven effective" by data, and some clueless people, who take pleasure in blaming teachers, want to blame teachers for adhering to government mandates. I truly suspect that back when I was introducing my students to the Internet, those complaining were still banging on their high chairs!

As to the accusation that my attempt to keep idiots from treating teachers unprofessionally makes me a "troll", I can only say that Indigo sounds like a student complaining to the AP when sent to the office for disrupting the class.
Politics aside, would you consider the White House to be a reliable indicator of the legitimacy of Creative Commons? Change.gov uses a CC-By license. (CC-By is the Creative Commons Attribution Only license.) On Whitehouse.gov, all the government-created content is public domain (as it always is), but third party content is also under CC-By. Do you genuinely believe the White House is supporting a "scam"? Do you believe that they would use this license if it had no legal weight?

If the White House doesn't convince you, what about Steve Hargadon, who created this site? Do you think he's supporting a scam, or that he's been duped? If so, why are you here using a group he created?

By the way, rather than calling something a "so-called 'non-profit,'" you can verify whether an organization is actually a tax deductible 501(c) organization on the IRS.gov site. You shouldn't take my word that Creative Commons Corporation appears there; you should go see it for yourself.
Christy,

You make some good points. But, what do they use the donations for?
According to the 2008 audited financial statement (available from their About page), most of the money goes to the salaries of the staff. They may not be hiring right now, but in 2008 they spent just over $2 million on salaries, employment taxes, and benefits. Other significant expenses include Travel and Conferences, Legal Fees, Consulting and Design, and Occupancy. Total expenses were $3.9 million. The details are on page 6 of the PDF, under the heading "Creative Commons Corporation Statement of Functional Expenses."

Reading your initial message, it looks like you may have found this document and saw the Assets and Liabilities on page 4, where $8.7 million in assets are listed. I don't generally spend much time reading financial reports, but I believe that Assets includes the value of everything the organization owns, such as buildings and computers. So it would make sense for the assets listed to be higher than what they spent in a year on salaries and other expenses.

Note that this financial statement covers all the subsidiaries of Creative Commons too, such as the Science Commons. Just as an example of what those salaries are used for, the Science Commons has developed software to help researchers at universities archive their journal articles and ways for scientists to contribute data to shared databases where many scientists can benefit from the data pools.

Does that help demystify this a bit for you?
I have to admit to being a little surprised by this discussion thread. Obviously, there is additional conversation taking place that I need to look at that may have led to some of the emotions.

Creative Commons is one of the most fascinating historical changes in how we view the sharing of material--moving from a system that tried to protect our rights by restricting use of material we had created to a system that protects our rights by defining how we are willing to share. Like Wikipedia, which uses a Creative Commons license itself, this is an incredible and historic shift in how we think about contribution and sharing. Founded by Stanford Law Professor Larry Lessig, Creative Commons is a substantive effort to create a legal framework for those who want to share versus those who want to restrict the use of their creative materials. (See the Wikipedia article on Creative Commons here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_commons.)

I'll be interviewing Esther Wojcicki, the new board chair for Creative Commons, in my http://www.FutureofEducation.com interview series soon. She's been a high school teacher since 1987, and you can read more about her at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esther_Wojcicki.

Creative Commons is a very real deal. Far from a scam, this is likely to be one of the most significant cultural evolutions of our time. It's a great discussion topic for here--hope we can get past the negativity.
Steve,

Welcome to my temper tantrum. I opened this thread to learn more about Creative Commons than they showed on their website. There are still issues about the site that concern me, such as the fact that you can get a FREE license, but it is not logged and registered,. so how much protection can it provide?

If you want the emotion behind this, look for the thread about why teachers are "so slow" at adopting the new ideas, or just take a look at Kiev's response on this You can find what irritated me, by looking for Indigo's responses and following those threads.

I find the complaints of the youngsters to be on very shakey grounds. They claim they want to collaborate, but they want to exclude anyone who is not on the same page as them on adoption of the newest coming down the pike. The first thing they would learn by collaborating with the oldsters is that there is ALWAYS something new coming down the pike. All that glitters is not gold! If you constantly adopt the new, you will never perfect YOUR methodology which is the hallmark of the professional teacher. You will always be a twig blowing in the wind.
I truly suspect that back when I was introducing my students to the Internet, those complaining were still banging on their high chairs!>>

I usually try to stay out of stuff like this but sometimes one just can't stay silent.

I just finished teaching a unit on logic and critical thinking to my 7/8 class. It would have taken them, who were surely in highchairs at the dawn of the Internet, roughly 20 seconds to point out your ad hominem attack. What the heck does the age of the deliverer have to do with the argument?

As far as "attacking teachers" goes, I will gladly continue to do it as a high-chair using youngin' myself. You can blame The Man all you want but the fact remains no other profession is as non-collaborative as teaching is. It continues to shock me how little sharing there is among teachers. Hopefully things like Creative Commons can start to break that hold. I, however, don't believe it is a copyright issue but a "I've been teaching for 30 years and if it worked then why fix it?" issue.
Kiev,

You are part of the problem, not part of the solution. In reading the comment I made about the complainer being too young to be taken seriously, you may have noted that I also mentioned my pioneering efforts as a teacher while they were too young to notice.

It amazes me how much some youngsters like to rag on their elders. Usually, without knowledge or understanding. If something has indeed worked well for thirty years, why in the world would you want to change it to something that is unproven? That is pure idiocy! As for collaboration, the concept of teachers collaborating is frightening to admins and politicians. I remember about 15 years ago when teaming was all the rage in business, they allowed teachers to collaborate, and when it was going good, it was immediately closed down in favor of fiat from above.

I would also point out, Kiev, that your presence on this forum, and mine, indicates that collaboration is going fine among teachers. That in spite of the politicians who desire to pit one teacher against another within a building or district, to see they fight over a few crumbs called "Merit Pay"

Apparently you do not follow the political news as regards education. Many of your "complaints" would be answered by looking at what the expectations by The Man are for teachers. The Man hates collaborations among any considered "workers", which includes teachers. The battle is on against the most visable of teacher collaborations, the unions.
If something has indeed worked well for thirty years, why in the world would you want to change it to something that is unproven?>>

Final comment before I walk away from this for good.

The world is not the same today as it was 30 years ago.

The battle is on against the most visable of teacher collaborations, the unions.>>

My union has never once offered me any sort of collaboration other than a picnic and a chance to carry signs outside my district office.

When I speak of the lack of collaboration among teachers I'm not speaking of a lack of camaraderie but a lack of true sharing and discussing of what works and what doesn't. I think this thread is indicative of what ends up happening in many so-called collaboration meetings.

And with that I will go on gladly remaining part of the problem.
May I suggest that the tone and tenor of this conversation aren't reflective of the politeness and consideration that I have considered the hallmarks of Classroom 2.0?

I see this as a "discussion" forum, not an "argument" forum. How about taking a short breather on this, thinking about how to be supportive of each other even when disagreeing, and then shifting gears to a more gentle dialog?
Well said Steve.

This is a classic youth vs experience argument. On one side you have someone who has seen a lot attempts and failures (i personally remember my high school investing nearly $6,000 in laser disk technology. Not a smart move). And on the other side you have a wave of new ideas from young teachers because they grew up in a different generation.

To be honest, most new ideas aren't good ones. But not taking risks on new ideas gets you nowhere. Education in the U.S. sides on the latter. That is a bad thing these days. And that's not to blame an individual group of people (teachers, admins, politicians etc), but to blame the industry as a whole.

An example. A 4rd grade teacher wants to run a lesson about Thomas Jefferson. She wants her kids to use internet sources to find information about Jefferson. One student Google's Jefferson and finds the Wikipedia page. She clicks on it. While finding a lot of information there, she stumbled across something that her teacher might not have intended the student to know. The student tells her parents. The parents call the teacher, the school, the school board and the mayor's office. Threatens lawsuits. The entire city firewalls wikipedia from any school computers to avoid a lawsuit.

This happened in a school system I was in. And I was a high school history teacher. I have always told my students that no scholarly work can cite Wikipedia as a source. However, you can use wikipedia to find good research material. There are a list of cited sources at the bottom. The rule was, if something is fit it to print, it was probably worth using. If it's only on the internet, you have to be suspect about citing it. Dig deeper (I also showed them Zotero, for which they couldn't thank me enough).

But the institutional problems hindered my student's research. I showed them other options as well and we got by. But what closing out wikipedia did was not give my students a real life approach to research. If you google any topic, the first website that shows up is wikipedia. If kids aren't taught how to use it, they will use it wrong.

But I digress.

I'm not about to tell you that this creative common thing is the next latest and greatest. I know nothing about it. However I see no need in burning it to the ground because they are asking for donations, or their licensing practices don't make sense. Dig deeper, ask questions. That's what educators do.

P.S. What I do know is that those people are writing the white paper on it, which tells me they don't have all the answers either.

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