On education and digital rights and the internet

I’ve been a fan of Terry Fisher‘s for some time now, even prior to reading Promises to Keep. Thinking about it, I guess it must have been around the time a friend pointed me towards Digital Music: Problems and Possibilities sometime in 2001, though I lost track until sometime in 2004, when Malc pointed me at Chapter 6 of Promises To Keep.

So it was with some eager anticipation that I followed up on Cory’s tip re a paper that Terry co-authored, on The Digital Learning Challenge: Obstacles to Educational Uses of Copyrighted Materials in the Digital Age. Thanks, Cory!. [While the link is to the abstract, it is possible to download the entire paper via the same link. Wouldn’t it be ironic if you couldn’t do that…]

A few quotes:

From the executive summary:

  • We found that provisions of copyright law concerning the educational use of copyrighted material, as well as the business and institutional structures shaped by that law, are amongst the most important obstacles to realising the potential of digital technology in education.

From Part One: The Overview:

  • Perhaps no area holds more potential for such transformation than education. Many diverse and exciting initiatives demonstrate how rich sources of digital information could enhance the transfer of knowledge. Yet at the same time, the change in education arguably has been less radical, especially in comparison to mundane endeavours such as selling a used bicycle …..There are many complex reasons for this slow pace of change, including lack of resources and resistance to new practices.
  • Digital technology makes informative content easier to find, to access, to manipulate and remix, and to disseminate. All of these steps are central to teaching, scholarship, and study.

If you are even vaguely interested in the use of digital technology in education, you should read the paper. It is rich in content and in context. And written by people who care.

A related subject. I wrote some time ago on DOPA and the issues it creates, and many people better versed than me on the subject have commented since. Now I’d always believed that the Numero Uno reason for DOPA, according to its proposers, was to reduce the risk of mature evildoers preying on young unsuspecting students.

Which is why I found a recent study, published by the Crimes Against Children Research Center, both comforting as well as disturbing. Comforting that sexual solicitation of minors by strangers via the web is down. Disturbing that the strangers concerned are using new and adapted techniques and concentrating on getting photos and videos uploaded by the children. Entitled Online Victimisation of Youth: Five Years Later, it is also well worth a read; you can find a copy of the report here.

This is primarily to let you read and digest at leisure, I will comment more fully once I have had the chance to do the same.

2 thoughts on “On education and digital rights and the internet”

  1. Hi David, I had seen Danah’s original piece, not sure if this is an extension or a follow-up. Will take a look. Thanks a lot.

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