Sunday, September 27, 2009

Access Copyright Decision - the impact, and the possibilities for change

Ontario school boards have been recently informed that they face huge retroactive copyright bills following Access Copyright Board's decision. (read the news coverage of this story )
This average 6-figure $$ charge per board covers the retroactive copyright charges for photocopying texts in schools...

While this comes at a time that many boards are struggling to balance budgets, it should come as no surprise... the boards have been challenging the payment of copyright fees in education and have known a ruling was coming for over a year now. .... so that's a can of worms I'm not going into...

The silver lining... an opportunity for change

What I *do* want to comment on is the opportunity, or silver-lining for education in this ruling. The paper-bound era of the photocopied classroom needs to be rethought.
This ruling makes a solid case toward using online / digital resources in the classroom; resources which add currency and relevancy, are primary-sourced, and cover broader scoop. They are much friendlier to environment too!
... And there are MANY solid digital and online resources provided for educational use:

• The excellent online journals and databases provided to the entire province through Resources Ontario are just one prime example - they cover resources from EBSCO, Gale, Cedrom, etc.

• The amazing "primary-source" digitized originals included in the discovery portal add a richness to the study of social sciences, civics and heritage that make a photocopied page pale in comparison.

Using these, and similar resources, students' assignment work can be expressed in full digital, multimedia formats... boosting student interest and engagement.

Surely it's time to step away from the binder of photocopied handouts as student notebook!

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