Last Monday I had my van stolen – I was travelling across England and had stopped to deliver a workshop. The van was loaded with possessions, all my hi-fi, hard drives, software and furniture polishes gone. A particular loss was an Arezzo record deck – I’d suggested the name (after Guido Arezzo the Italian monk who invented the musical score) to a friend who runs SRM Tech when he developed a wonderful perspex vinyl record player a few years back. You will see why the name is significant in a moment After saving up and paying him in instalments I had the third prototype S/N3 in the van. The other big loss was my inheritance, Dad’s table saw an Elu flip over 171 no less, and lots of furniture thats probably part of a roadside pyre by now.
I had one of those jaw-dropping moments as I walked across the car park and realised I wouldn’t be driving to deliver my keynote. I won’t say where it happened – suffice to say it was mainland UK and I continued my journey home to Ireland as a foot passenger. It took a few days to recover and realise that all I had lost was stuff and you work – and recover.
Then Friday it got worse – I had my ideas stolen. Somebody dropped me an email suggesting I check out the Larnaca Declaration. A group of academics had gathered in Larnaca in autumn with their leader publishing the rather grandly named “Declaration” in December 2012. Why didn’t they call it a “proposal” and carry out a little more research into what already existed in the field I wonder. Basically the big idea in the paper is a direct appropriation without attribution of my Learning choreography / Learning Score idea – the idea of laying a lesson out in time and composing it as you might compose a piece of music. I developed it in 2004/5 as a concept and piece of software in Flash – before the later Learning Score software and imminent Windows 8 app (www.learningscore.com). Even more troubling is that many of the delegates were personally familiar with my ideas and tools – I’d done presentations for them. I talk about the Musical Score for lesson planning idea here
The “Declaration” asks?
Can we apply the lesson of music notation to education? Could we develop a way to describe the activities of educators and learners in classrooms (and online) so that great teaching ideas could be conveyed from one educator to another? Can we help to make implicit, private teaching ideas into explicit, shared ideas?
How novel ! The answer of course is yes we could and I have already done it.
I wrote to the author James Dalziel and said I was concerned that the ideas contained are represented in my Learning Score idea and the software . So far – no answer. I would appreciate any colleagues familiar with the Learning Score (currently in use by 1500 teachers around the world) having a read of the Declaration and emailing me a short thought on whether they think it uses my prior and declared ideas. I may need some support as these are large institutions. You can read the whole declaration here http://www.larnacadeclaration.org It also gives a useful summary of current developments in Learning Design.
As luck would have it I’m on a short lecture tour to Australia in February/March 20013 – I think I’ll be popping into Macquarie University to discuss this further. Email me if you fancy a PerkyLearning workshop looking at how we up the challenge, build struggle and broaden the bandwidth of learning opportunities.
I’ll also be having a chat with Australian Government “Office for Learning and Teaching” (who part funded the paper) to let them know that they are unwittingly funding conceptual land-grabbing with scant research.
Can some good come out of this? – I’m sure it can – I have learned afresh that our ideas are more important than our possessions.
I am also happy to work with all parties -to bring powerful tools to teachers and learners - The Learning Score and the Learning Event Generator are provided free to educators around the world – but not for much longer I’m afraid. At the moment I’m finding it a little hard to keep confidence in the education world where ideas are not respected and attribution is rare .
Watch this space – I’ll keep you posted. If anyone has a contact for a good international IPR lawyer I’m in the market. I’m also in the market for a VW T4 Transporter van – old & cheap please:)