World IP Day!

Happy World Intellectual Property Day!

Okay, not the most exciting of holidays, I’ll admit. And you may be wondering what it has to do with education. Well, a lot of access to and use of materials in education rests on the principle of fair use. Libraries lending print books are able to do so because of first sale doctrine. Intellectual property law exists to create and manage a delicate balance between property and access.

As a librarian, I’m often more focused on access. And I stand by this perspective, as I do believe right now copyright law is too skewed toward profit and locking away content that can benefit society. Naturally, creators should profit from their work. But 70 years past the death of the author is carrying it a bit too far. Some librarians believe in registering copyright – I don’t, especially in the age of online content. Too many unknowing creators would post things online without registering and could be ripped off. I like automatic copyright – it protects the individual. Corporations would never forget to register.

But here we are in an age where copyright conflicts with educational access. First sale doctrine doesn’t apply to e-books. Everything is licensed. Fair use was always a defense, never clear principle.

Open Educational Resources provide some great opportunities which are starting to be leveraged. Web content helps schools provide access without great cost. In education, we often find ourselves at odds with Intellectual Property Law. Respect for authors doesn’t have to mean cutting off access for students. And with open access, creative commons licenses and other new approaches to intellectual property in the internet age, we’re finding ways to work with content creators and create a rich learning environment that might not be affordable in the realm of traditional intellectual property law.

So on this World IP day, let’s celebrate open content and the content creators that make it work – we truly appreciate your contribution to a vibrant intellectual discourse.

And for anybody who is not a librarian and therefore has not seen this 20 million times:

Study on the “Masculine Framing of Science” and its impact on middle schoolers

Interesting study on the social aspect of interest in science among middle school boys and girls. The big question is how to transform such research into programs.

We do know that girls report academic discrimination from peers for violating science and math gender norms [77]. Future research should focus on whether friendships with other girls with similar aspirations help create and reinforce science identities, or if they serve to isolate girls from their female peers. Longitudinal analyses should provide insight into whether girls influence one another’s science career aspirations. It is possible that girls who might otherwise have higher science career aspirations do not, only because they would lose friends or face criticism or fewer options for friendships because of interest in something masculine.


Gender is a fundamental organizing principal and stratifying system in the United States; it is hard to have hope that we can make gender less relevant for science engagement [41]. There are many who are trying to “unbend” gender [111]. There are pockets of progress (e.g., women in the military, running for president, NSF ADVANCE programs) and resistance (e.g., corporate boards, Wall Street, pay gaps, etc.). Our results suggest that social interactions and friendships in middle school are relevant to understanding gendered patterns of science career aspirations. Therefore, efforts to support more girls staying in science may need to go beyond individuals and institutions to facilitate interactions that promote science aspirations.


Learning Myths (from NPR)

Fun little quiz. I remember hearing quite a lot about learning styles, and it’s been pretty thoroughly debunked recently. That said, I think this quote from the learning styles article is worth heeding:

Geoff Barton, headteacher of King Edward VI school in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, who is soon to take over as general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said he hoped the age of neuromyths was over.

“I think the fad about learning styles faded long ago, and I would be surprised if many schools continued to subscribe to the approach. That said, the notion of making teaching and learning more varied in classrooms is helpful and likely to motivate a wider range of students,” he said.

So while the learning styles concept isn’t really useful, it’s still good to mix it up in the classroom to keep students engaged and empower them in different skillsets. One area this matters is group vs. individual learning – important skills can be gained in each. Digital projects offer new methods for expression of ideas, but that doesn’t mean the traditional papers are going away.

5 Cincinnati libraries now offering after-school snacks for food-insecure kids, teens – Story

More than 630,000 children across Ohio live in food insecure households, meaning more than one in four don’t know where their next meal will come from, according to the Children’s Hunger Alliance.

Source: 5 Cincinnati libraries now offering after-school snacks for food-insecure kids, teens – Story

Five Ed Tech Trends on the way out in 2017

After all that fuss about the flipped classroom! Well, like Blended Learning it depends a lot on student access to technology and student ability or willingness to learn outside the classroom. Using a variety of techniques will help with students who don’t all necessarily learn the same way.

While cell phone bans may be going away and I have seen students using phones productively in the classroom, it’s important to remember that these devices are not an effective substitute for access to a computer – I don’t believe the digital divide is going away just because more people have smart phones.

Cell phone bans, Common Core, the Flipped Classroom, Homework and Grading, Tablets

Source: THE Journal, March 2017