Board wants to own work by teachers, students

If a high school student writes an app for a class assignment or a teacher develops great lesson plans, who owns the copyright?  In Prince George’s County, Maryland, the school board proposes claiming ownership of all work created for school use by students or teachers — even if it’s done on their own time with their own resources.

There’s a growing online market for teacher lesson plans, Kevin Welner,  director of the University of Colorado’s National Education Policy Center, told the Washington Post.  “I think it’s just the district saying, ‘If there is some brilliant idea that one of our teachers comes up with, we want be in on that. Not only be in on that, but to have it all,’ ” he said.

Claiming the right to students’ work is unlikely to hold up in court.

For Adrienne Paul and her sister, Abigail Schiavello, who wrote a 28-page book more than a decade ago in elementary school for a project that landed them a national television interview with Rosie O’Donnell and a $10,000 check from the American Cancer Society, the policy — had it been in effect — would have meant they would not have been able to sell the rights to Our Mom Has Cancer.

Board Chair Verjeana M. Jacobs said it was not the board’s “intention to declare ownership” of students’ work, just to “get the recognition.” The language should be changed before final approval, she said.

If a teacher develops lessons, software, apps or anything else on her own time, why should the rights belong to the school district?

There can be big money in educational apps. An independent developer made $700,000 in two years from an app aimed at homeschoolers.

 

Teacher earns $1 million for lesson plans

Deanna Jump, a 43-year-old kindergarten teacher, earned more than $1 million last year selling lesson plans to other teachers, reports Businessweek.

Jump, who blogs at Mrs. Jump’s Class and teaches in Warner Robins, Georgia,, is the most successful of 15,000 teachers marketing their original classroom materials through the online marketplace, TeachersPayTeachers (TPT). While teaching full-time, she’s created 93  teaching units and sold 161,000 copies for $8 each.

“My units usually cover about two weeks’ worth of material,” she says. “So if you want to teach about dinosaurs, you’d buy my dinosaur unit, and it has everything you need from language arts, math, science experiments, and a list of books you can use as resources. So once you print out the unit, you just have to add a few books to read aloud to your class, and everything else is there, ready to go for you.”

Two other teachers have earned $300,000, and 23 others have earned over $100,000, according to site founder Paul Edelman, a former middle school teacher.

YouTube launches teachers’ site

YouTube.com/Teachers will show ways to use video in the classroom, writes James Sanders, a middle school history teacher at KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy. That includes “lesson plan suggestions, highlights of great educational content on YouTube, and training on how to film your own educational videos.”

I use videos to spark classroom discussions, increase instructional time by assigning videos as homework, and create playlists for each lesson so students can dive deeper into specific areas that interest them. I also found countless educational videos on YouTube that energize and excite my students about a number of topics, such as medieval history.

This summer, YouTube Teacher’s Studio featured award-winning teacher trainers Jim Sill and Ramsey Musallam, who led workshops on “Finding your inner Spielberg” and “FlipTeaching.”  Sanders taught about using YouTube as a powerful educational tool.

Below is “Monster Foam Science Experiment.”