Sharing Material Moral Dilemma

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ebeli, Aug 20, 2016.

  1. ebeli

    ebeli Rookie

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    I understand that my material was hosted on servers which my district had access to, that was my downfall and lesson learned for sure!

    I've known many people who host material on their personal gmail and now I know why. I have no problem sharing but I would like credit for my work and to give my consent.

    I denied my material because our communication was through email and it is a delicate topic, I would've preferred to meet face to face and talk about Sharing material and project/labs I've done. That is collaboration. I don't like that I discovered my material automatically shared with him and no one notified me, no one asked.

    I made myself available to him and he decided not to contact me or see me once he had access to it. Im not saying it's his fault, he doesn't know I created it, for all he knows I probably inherited it.

    I would've preferred a notification through email or in person.
     
  2. ebeli

    ebeli Rookie

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    Yes! And the institution that took my material is a college level class.

    Pearson has powerpoints for instructors but I created my own.
     
  3. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I totally agree. Ultimately, I want students to be the most successful with what they do.

    What bothers me, though, is if resources are shared or passed on, but credit is not given to the original creator. And I'm sure this is a problem in all careers, not just teaching. It would suck if an administrator was observing a lesson or a new activity that was being implemented, and announced, "Wow, look at this awesome lesson/activity that this person came up with! What a great teacher they are!" when actually that person just used resources from another teacher but the administrator is not aware. I'm all for collaboration, but I also appreciate credit given when credit is due. It's two sided... it's nice if that second teacher says something like, Isn't this a great game for teaching ___? Mrs. Smith introduced me to it. Not practical all the time, of course, but still a good thing to consider.
     
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  4. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    This is why I'm very selective about what goes on the school server. Maybe (probably?) it's petty, but if I spend significant amount of time developing and fine-tuning something, I'm going to be pretty selective about who uses it, especially if I made it on my own time.
     
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  5. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I think of two thoughts while reading this:
    • It'd be good to put "created by mathmagic" or something on what is created, so that there's that opportunity. For example, if I was wanting credit, that might've been something to put in the corner of the math extension menus that I created. That being said, some people would still chop it off or what not. But it would definitely cut down the lack of crediting.
    • You'd almost hope that teachers are being more complimented on their work with the students or the way in which they craft the instruction...or even with the "finding" / deciding on good materials, and not so much the actual materials themselves: the latter part could easily be told by the teacher to the supervisor if applicable, which would certainly heighten how they should be looked at, but otherwise the other aspects seem to be the more important part of the process. For example, the math menus: if someone was utilizing them to better differentiate during their math lessons, that would raise them up, evaluative-wise, but not so much just the menus themselves which I had created.
    I guess I'm just stuck in between. Credit is great and important, but not a hill I'd die on or worry too much about (especially since most of the time, the credit is given). Maybe I'm just too self-destructive in that sense?
     
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  6. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Here's the thing with that: this is true for any teaching. We need to be experts (or, at a utter bare minimum, the ability to become experts ahead of teaching material) on what it is we are teaching. Thus, I need to be an expert (content and pedagogy-wise) at multi-digit multiplication. A middle school SS teacher needs to be an expert on state or US history, etc....

    That being said, you can be an expert, but not have materials easily available to utilize that expertise in teaching students. Case-in-point: a few years ago, I was teaching in a district that was going through a curriculum change in math, and only had a "binder" with a variety of random/mixed resources loosely attached to the various topics. I was definitely an expert within math: both having got a BS degree, and knowing the many strategies students could/would use behind it. It was tough, though, because I had to fumble around through tons of materials to figure out what would best fit those needs that I knew the students would have. I did create some of my own, and I used some of what was there, but it was time consuming like none other! Note that I'm not saying what they did was necessarily right/wrong, but more that teaching - at any level - requires more than just that personal/background knowledge/expertise.
     
  7. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I guess I belong to the group who doesn't care if you use materials I have created for your students. If it was my job to create materials for pay I might think differently. Until then, use away.
     
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  8. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I don't mind sharing my materials, but I do feel I have the rights over them. I am not ok (although I think the employer has the right) with admin going into my files and freely distributing what I have created.

    I also think a lot of teachers are straight up lazy and put little to no effort into designing lessons for their students and simply leech from others.
     
  9. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    I've been thinking about this and, to be honest, I would be very angry if my contract was terminated or I was denied tenure or I was not leaving by choice, and my hard work was handed over to my replacement. But other than those circumstances, I think sharing my product is fine with me, especially if it means some new teacher has an easier start to their teaching career than I did.
     
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  10. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I know there are lazy teachers. However, I think there are a tremendous amount of teachers who, for one reason or another, just aren't creative types and struggle to invent new materials. I have seen these types of teachers who can take prepared materials and work wonders with their students. So, if it helps you, use my stuff.
     
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  11. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Right, but that is why I like control over my stuff. I will gladly share with those that are trying and contribute. I am not sharing and providing for leeches.
     
  12. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    But what about the students of those non-contributing teachers? They probably already have a diminished learning experience, why exacerbate it?
     
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  13. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Because the teacher needs to improve. If the teacher does not learn to improve then EVERY single year for up to 30+ years all of those students will have a diminished experience. The teacher "laziness, negative attitude, delivery of lessons, reaching students at their level, lack of growth mindset, ability to differentiate...etc" needs to be improved, not covered up like a band aid for a given lesson or time.

    What is the saying? Give a hungry person a fish and they will eat for a day, teach him to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.? Think that is it.
     
  14. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    My observation has been that the leeches aren't fooling anyone, and the truth finds a way to win out. I have shared, I have borrowed, I have created, and I have tried to create and failed miserably. Life is not a straight line, and there are so many things that can come into play that it makes my head swim. I once worked with a teacher who was clueless about the content. They knew that and hired him anyway. What do you do? Let them fail, or actually teach the teacher until they are competent to teach alone? It came down to the students involved, so I created lesson plans, educated the educator, and shared along the way. Eventually that teacher found their own voice and taught themselves. I think that falls into the category to giving a helping hand to the next person in line, for a greater good. Since I had to simplify many of the lessons that were taught to match teacher skill, my work is still available on my home computer intact.

    For what it is worth, the teacher finally became a pretty good science teacher, and I could take some pride when I heard stuff coming out of his mouth that I know came from mine. I am, after all, still charged to teach, and I did. When I started as an AR teacher, I didn't even know what questions to ask. I like to think that my content knowledge was there, but many procedurals were lacking. I am grateful to everyone who offered a helping hand along the way, and I am inclined to do the same. What I would really enjoy would be someone taking my work and improving on it! Then I would just borrow it back. That is karma.
     
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  15. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Exactly!!!!!
    I share everything I create with those that are willing to collaborate and are working to be better teachers. This is the exact opposite of a lazy, poor teacher. In fact this is an example of a teacher I would want to hire.

    A lazy poor teacher(imo) takes things to fill up their day, not to IMPROVE as a teacher. Your example is exactly how I think of sharing material and collaborating.
     
  16. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    I believe this is something that is starting to be tested: http://www.nea.org/home/37583.htm

    Regarding the original post/ topic, I think that, as others have suggested, you should check your contract. If you signed a contract that stated that material you work belongs to the school, then you are SOL and also should read more thoroughly before you sign contracts.

    While I agree that it would be kind to be asked permission in this scenario, I think you sound like someone I would not want to work with. You originally said you only had a textbook, no materials, but then later you said that there were slideshows that you chose not to use. Which is it?
     
  17. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Could be, it also brings up the moral and ethical dilema of those who choose to purchase off of the site. People that agree their material belongs to the district really should not be purchasing anything as well, knowing it does not belong to the seller.
     
  18. ebeli

    ebeli Rookie

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    For my college and HS material I put a lot of "off the clock" hours. For the college class I am part time and do not get office hours.

    For the HS I do get prep time but being that I inherited the class from a teacher who was unqualified so there was no material or textbook, I had to literally create material and a course outline. A lot of my work was done off the clock.

    The college class- has a textbook and online materials from Pearson I made my own to teach as well and my own labs. I don't have office hours or prep time here.

    HS- no textbook or material, and actually I have shared my material with a teacher from another high school. I gave him FULL access to my folders and told him to use it as he wished. I even offered to show him how to use certain software to teach it.


    Phillyteacher: I'm not hiding anything you'll just have to go back and read.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
  19. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    If you use their resources, it becomes their property. It's not really about "rebelling," it's simply about understanding the rules. When I worked at Target we had to sign this thing that said if we invented or created anything while employed, it became their property. HAHAH When you work these jobs, you sign your life over. It's sad, but true. Be pissed, but realize there's not much you can do. Learn from it: create on your own time, with your own resources and DON'T connect it at all with the school.
     
  20. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    And what if I buy material from TPT and save it to my drive, does the school now own someone else's work or how would a school differentiate between my and someone else's work?
     
  21. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Depending on how the copyright was written, the school no more owns the TPT work any more than a book with reproducible master's in it. The school can't sell the information as their own.

    It does bring up a point about teachers who purchase from TPT in order to provide their lessons for the class. Do they own the TPT source once used for the class or did the teacher just inadvertently buy something for the school? With a book with masters the teacher could take that away. The most the school could do would be re-use copies that may have been left over. With a computer file, it lasts. Even if deleted it can be restored from back-up provided your district provides proper computer protocols.
     
  22. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    This was an interesting article, especially because it says the school may even own things that you create outside of school hours and on your own equipment. I can't imagine anyone ever actually holding someone accountable to that law, but it sounds like a school could claim ownership of anything that a teacher has created if they wanted to.
     
  23. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Why not? If a teacher creates something, that technically belongs to the school, how does the school not own the rights? A reproducible text book created by the district cannot be sold to other districts? I believe my district has done exactly this.
     
  24. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Don't know.

    Eithically, I would say that if you believe the district owns material a teacher creates, then you are "guilty" of buying stolen material, imo. So a district would not want to claim it as there own in your example. That is my thinking.

    For me personally, I don't care at all what my contract says with regards to this issue. What I create on "my time" is mine...period. Now, I have no desire to sell anything I create.
     
  25. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    "The clock" isn't relevant. If you create something in the course of doing the job you are paid for, the product is the property of whoever is paying you to do the job.
     
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  26. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    “Under the law,” explains Chmielewski, “this may not make a difference. The issue is whether you created the materials as part of your job duties.”

    If you decided as a 4th grade teacher to create a 6th grade science curriculum at home on your own computer, the district could not own that. It was not done for the job. Now, if the administrator indicated that next school year you would move to 6th grade to teach science and you spent the summer creating the same curriculum, you could not sell it because it is the districts. Even though it was done in the summer it was done for the job. The only questionable part is what if you were not moved to 6th grade, could it still be the school's since they originally had you slated for 6th grade. I could see them winning if they had written proof you were going to be moved and that was the reason you create the lessons.
     
  27. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Why not? Can't the school claim that they are a PLC community and everyone is working together for the benefit of the students at their school? Making grade level placement irrelevent?
     
  28. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Maybe I wasn't clear.

    Yes, a reproducible text or curriculum created all from non-copyrighted-by-someone-else materials can be sold to other districts. However, the district couldn't have the curriculum consist of copyrighted TPT lessons and copyrighted reproducible teacher masters from books and sell that without express permission from those for which they are using already copyrighted materials. The district would have to get permission and negotiate a deal with the owners of the copyrights in order to sell the package.

    If your district is using curriculum that has taken copyrighted materials from TPT sites (even if they bought it) and copyrighted information from books that were purchased and uses it in their own sellable curriculum, they could be sued by the owners of the copyrighted materials they are misusing.

    Now, if you are saying their teachers have created from scratch (or their curriculum experts) a curriculum and they are selling it, that is acceptable because they own the copyright to all of the materials opposed to using purchased TPT or purchased books as bits and pieces of their created package.
     
  29. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    OK, thats what I was thinking.
     
  30. ebeli

    ebeli Rookie

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    Yeah but usually PLC is done with your department and Sharing with other departments is done by appointment.

    I think that if you created 6th grade material as a 4th grade teacher and had no knowledge that you were going to teach a 6th grade class then it should be your material. If you did it on your spare time, as a hobbie, at home, in your computer.

    Schools don't own you. I can see and understand why material created as a teacher belongs to them. It's kind of like if I created a flyer for my company to use, the flyer belongs to them because they hired me to do a flyer. That makes sense!


    But I wonder what the rules are in college level courses because a lot of professors have personal experiences and backgrounds. I started my teaching career teaching college classes and professors always had their name in their material so I always assumed that because they created it, it was theirs. I am new to the teaching profession in K-12 and so far I think the rules stink!

    Now here's another question, some of the material I had in my google drive was material that another teacher shared with me, he gave me his consent and asked me not to share it! This pofessor is at a university, and some of the material I created for the HS, so does this give the college the right to take my material? Material that I personally did not own and other material that I created for a teaching position at another school?

    It gets messy I know.

    I think the simpler thing to do is start hosting my own files and if admin comes to me I would strictly share what I created during the dates I was employed.

    Also, back to my original OP now that I've put more thought into it, I do think the school was wrong to go in my files and grab my material because some of that material was copyrighted such as an ebook i purchased for the class, out of pocket. Other material was created not under their contract and other material is borrowed from mentors of mine. I think they should've consulted with me and asked me to hand over material I created under their contract for the new instructor. This makes sense! They are violating copyright rules by simply taking an ebook that I am not authorized to redistribute no matter how easy it is to copy that file even if it is on their servers. The material is copyrighted, period. I have no authorization to share it so if I was to get in trouble for sharing this pdf I can easily point the finger at IT especially since there is no record anywhere that I was warned or notified that my folders (all my folders even those with personal data this is what aggravates me the most) were going to be shared with an individual I have never met for him to use.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
  31. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    You never know for sure how rulings will go, but I see that being a very hard sell at that point unless there is precedent in the school of teachers creating curriculum or lessons for grades and/or subjects for which they are not teaching nor assigned. Going further with your thinking, a teacher couldn't even write a novel or book of any kind on their own time without it being the districts because it could benefit people in the district (students or teachers). The district could go as far as finding that one child reading at the HS level and say the book could be beneficial to him or her.
     
  32. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    How do you determine that a teacher is lazy or a leech? When I was in public school I didn't have time to visit or assess other teachers. I rarely had time to even come out of my own room!
     
  33. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Exactly, I agree. Where is that line? Teachers that are still teaching, how is their material and books they have written not part of the district?

    This is why it is easy for me to say that the work I create is mine. I have no moral or ethical issues with it at this point.
     
  34. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Very very easy. It is not hard at all to tell which teachers come into your room(or others) looking for material for the day for which they have nothing prepared. Teachers who always want your stuff, never offer any of their own, never ask what the purpose of your stuff is, never collaborate about the learning objective of lessons..etc. Simply want "stuff". Of course it does take some time to see the patterns.

    Swansong, you have never worked with a lazy teacher? I have worked with several and over time it is very very easy to see who they are.
     
  35. ebeli

    ebeli Rookie

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    Teaching is a tough profession! We definetly put in a lot of "off hours" creating and developing material as new teachers or whenever curriculum is changed or classes are added, and now that I think about it there should be a way to protect that material or pay us more!. I get on average 5 hours of paid prep and I spend most of it grading. The material I create at home during "off hours" because it is easier for me, I see this as a union issue! They need to pay us for prep hours at home especially as new teachers, we spend most of our weekdays working and doing "homework" for free! And the district wants to claim they own it? Even though I worked beyond my work duties?

    Someone mentioned that some school districts offer extra pay for new teachers, I wasn't offered any of that, so the way I see it, I might have a case here.

    I created the material during off hours, shouldn't the district compensate me or pay me for the material if they want it? After all they didn't give it to me, and they never paid me for those hours, what makes it theirs? Do they own me 24/7?

    If I created the material during paid hours I can see it being theirs, but my free time does not belong to them.

    *AND since it was created in Google Drive with a timestamp! I can definetly see myself having a case here.

    Yeah I don't think I'm petty. I share, I do, but I don't appreciate the sharing of my folders, it is an invasion of my privacy and not all that material was up for grabs.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
  36. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I don't know enough about the law to say if this is legally true or not. It certainly is neither morally or ethically true though. If I take my own time to create something and bring it to school, it shouldn't automatically become school property, any more than it should if I bought a book to use in school.
     
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  37. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    I should have clarified, that is my understanding of the issue from a legal standpoint. I agree with your sentiment that the law doesn't align with what feels morally right.
     
  38. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I think it depends on the district. Most districts made me sign a clause stating that any material I create while employed by them technically belongs to them, however they didn't really care if teachers sell their materials on TeachersPayTeachers. I don't think Districts are legally allowed to sell or make profit in this way anyway (I could be wrong).

    Other districts take this clause more seriously and do not let teachers sell their things on TPT (why? I dunno, simply because they can?).

    It might be that this clause is enacted precisely because of a situation like this, where the district reserves the right to collect and share any curriculum you develop with other teachers in the district. I can understand why they would want to be able to do that, to improve teaching across the board, if the resources helped. I don't necessarily think it's polite to take something that an employee specifically requested to not be shared (whatever their reasons) without their consent or informing, but they do have the right to do that as your employer.
     
  39. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I agree with what you are saying Peregrin. However, your first example is the district simply reserving the right to prohibit you from selling things on TPT or possibly collecting money from the sales.

    I personally don't have a dog in this race. I don't sell any of my material and have no intention of doing so. At the same time, I have no problem buying someones material off TPT regardless of what that district thinks is theirs or not. If a district gives me contract time to create materials then it is the districts materials. If I am independently creating materials for my class at home, then it is mine.
     
  40. TheGr8Catsby

    TheGr8Catsby Rookie

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    You are on a contract, not a time clock. You are creating work for your profession. Your contract specifies minimal working hours, though along with almost all other salaried positions, you have certain requirements that often go outside those working hours.


    The violation of copyright laws occurred when you placed the copyrighted materials onto their server. Since it is their servers, they have all access to them. If you were asked not to share the material, you went against that by putting it on another server.
     
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