Sunday, February 8, 2009

Partner? Educational Use?

Our school districts spend many millions of dollars to adopt reading, math, science and social studies textbooks and series resources. They have been for years the partners that school districts and teachers have counted on to help our students to learn in a organized and thoughtful way.

Something distressing has come to my attention that I think others need to be aware of- Tim Holt's Blog "Intended Consequences" David Vs. Goliath: The Right Thing vs. Copyright has a podcast in which first grade teacher Janice Schlottmann explains what she would like to do with the little books that her students use to practice their reading. The school district has purchased multiple copies of the books, purchased the audio recordings and now she wants to record herself reading the books so that her students and the parents can listen on a podcast from home. As any responsible teacher would do, she requested permission from Houghton Mifflin and was denied this electronic use. This teacher is not interested in selling or profiting in any way from this educational use of these books. Her students were going to be able to benefit from listening at home and following along with the words in the book.

The copyright violation that the company is claiming is not rational or thought out clearly. Prior to the internet, podcasting, and the ease of transmission of audio and video files, these companies that provided educational series had much at stake to keep copyrighted materials free of violations. Now however if these companies wish to stay in business they need to truly partner with the schools, families of the students and the world at large.

We are living in e-times. Without forward thinking educational companies realizing the benefits of integrating technology tools with the purchase of their educational series, we are making the job of our teachers much harder than it has to be.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

When it goes right!

I have been witness to a few incidents this week that have been extraordinary. We as teachers need to be reminded that our efforts are paying off. At times it seems like we are pushing that boulder up the mountain only to see it fall down the other side. Sometimes the effort that we put forth pays out in rewards that we can see. Other times our efforts are never seen by us.

The following was shared with me. It is truly a wonderful thing to witness. A student that had been unwilling to work for their primary teacher in the classroom has had a complete turnaround and is showing tremendous effort and enthusiasm for learning. Another student that has worked very diligently but the school work has been difficult a has had a breakthrough and the concepts are clearer. It makes your heart feel glad, your body jump for joy with excitement and your tired mind renewed with enthusiasm for teaching.

We need to celebrate and remember these times because teaching is challenging for many reasons. We are here for the students. Our reasons for getting into education are many and the daily grind does not often allow us to step back and see our students progress. Keep at it!