In an open access world, are you giving back or just taking?


The same movement that we are seeing toward open educational resources in higher education also is permeating P-12. Many educators have happily tapped into the incredible learning opportunities that are available to them and their students. Our ability to be powerful learners has never been greater.

Lost in all of the eagerness around consumption, however, is a concurrent felt need to contribute. Many educators are willing to take and use free resources as they find them, but far fewer create and share resources for the benefit of others. This lack of reciprocity undercuts the ethos of sharing that helped create – and now sustains – the vigor of our new online information landscape.

One of the best things that we can do to improve our local and virtual learning communities is to take seriously our ability and obligations to be contributors to our shared global information commons. We should do this ourselves as educators and we should have our students do this too.

How often do you, your staff, and/or your students contribute something online (with a Creative Commons license) to benefit others? What can you do as a leader to foster an environment of sharing and giving back, not just taking and using?

Drop me a note if you’re a principal or superintendent who is ready to think seriously about this. I’d love to chat with you.

Image credit: From proprietary to open

4 Responses to “In an open access world, are you giving back or just taking?”

  1. I still continually publish all of my students work and my lessons on a yearly wiki and all the past wikis are archived for access as well. Most kids find it hard to believe that i would put all of it up there, but I am piggy backing on ideas of others and should contribute as well. I am surprised that my district does not force me to remove my creative commons license as they have added an intellectual property clause to the AUP we all sign.

  2. Scott,
    I love this question. I’m glad you are asking it.

    I guess in my experience, though, it seems like many of my teacher friends are sharing with CC licenses. My reason for joining Flickr and subscribing to a pro account is to do just that–contribute back.

    I had learned to “consume” CC images that others created and shared, and I felt obligated to give back. (Privileged and inspired, I should say, because of Angela Maiers: “You are a genius, and the world demands your contribution.”)

    I’m teaching my students to give back too. We have a Krebs’ Class Flickr account too, where students share pictures with a CC license too.

    Thanks for asking,

  3. The district I work in paid for a membership to A school district here in Arizona runs it. It is broken down by our state standards and performance objectives and has user created material for the objectives.

    At the beginning of the year we were told that we would be required to add to it, but that part of it hasn’t been brought up again. Hopefully we get back to the sharing aspect sometime, but I think it may be hard to convince people to share when it is “required”. Maybe I’ll just upload some lesson resources and ask others at my site if they have yet. Just nudge them a bit!

  4. Here is my AP Art History blog, where I share all my course info, including past tests and review sheets. I think people are using it.

    I also have an academic program, run now as an extra-curricular, that stresses collaboration, sharing and working for a common good. You can check out our work here:

    Kudos for raising this important point!

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