Sharing is caring

 Some rights reserved by Niklas Wikström

Copyrighting is an interesting idea, and one that is viewed differently across cultures and countries. Where I live now, I’m not sure any copyright laws are seen as worthy of following.  I see illegally downloaded video shops on the corners, people in the markets selling “designer” brand articles, really cheap software in not so original packaging.  While I don’t frequent these stores or purchase their products I see heaps of people who do.  They aren’t really concerned about the copyright, they want the information or the product.

Having access to so much information online has changed the way we interact with our different communities.  I think a lot of us feel entitled to certain things online, and at times, people over step copyright laws to have access to these things they feel they have a right to. 
As always, I’m trying to link the ideas between environmental education and educational technology. Permaculture principles seem to fit into so much of what we talk about.  

Fair Share

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 Some rights reserved by London Permaculture

When I think about Fair Share I think about three basic concepts, taking what we need, sharing what is useful for others and balancing our lives. 

People need things, and we should be able to take what we need.  There is so much information online that I have used.  Some of it as a university student who has access to academic papers (which aren’t always available for free), some if it was available by writers who have made their work free and some is from people who contribute to wikis for sharing in the co-creation of information. 
We should share things we don’t “need”.  My blog is creative commons licensed. I don’t need to make money off this blog, I want to share ideas, create conversations and build a community.  The tag line on the permaculture principles webpage is

We are provided with times of abundance which enables us to share with others 

I feel with access to the internet we literally have an over abundance of information and data.  I feel that in order to successful contribute to this data though we need to continue to use creative commons licenses.  Our students often search for images, and there is an incredible amount of almost everything.  When we use the google tool bar for licensed for reuse, or explore the flick creative commons page we find there is less than an abundance.  As a class we talk about this, we talk about how we need to continue to contribute to the creative commons so we can share our abundance. 
As “prosumers” we can’t forget the importance of sharing our work.  While being online is an incredibly opportunity to consume, we need to remember to produce as well.  Sharing our ideas, thoughts, and work is so important. 
We can contribute by producing images, or just by crediting who creates the work we share or use. 
Balancing our lives is another important aspect of Fair Share.  We can’t spend all our time online, we need to appreciate all the aspects of our lives and communities. 
We do need to change some of our copyright habits, creative commons has been great for me and my students.  We can use images to enhance our learning, we can site these sources properly and we have started producing creative commons work so we can all share and grow.  

Sustainability and Technology

This is one of my biggest concerns, and finally I read about it on Edudemic.

I’m not really sure how I feel about this though.  While it does talk about rare earth elements and how important they are, I guess I was hoping for more about the how and the why to teach it.

Many tech teachers (well the ones that I know) all feel this is important, but with limited explicit tech teaching time, we may miss out on these opportunities to talk about recycling products that have things we desperately need if we are to continue this style of life.

AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Dell’s Official Flickr Page

While I think it is great that companies like Dell (above) and Apple (when you search for it) have recycling programs, I think we have to move beyond that for tech.  By making producers responsible for the goods they create, making the source responsible for recycling, upcycling, repurposing whatever we might be better off.

For those tinkerers and people who want to mess around with the device, they can pay a premium to own it, but other than that, I think our devices should be rented, returned, upgraded and then brought back into our hands, or our classrooms or whatever.

Here in Cambodia, we can’t access these types of recycling programs, so we are just contributing to massive waste by living in a place with no access to these programs (I do go to Singapore often, and would bring my products there, but it seems like a hefty price to pay both with engine fuel and cash to recycle something small like an iPad).

Awhile ago I read in the Big Issue that many Australians have extra mobile phones just hanging around the house, so all of these rare earth elements can’t be extracted. If producers were responsible, I’m sure it would cut down on this type of waste.

Not really sure where I’m headed with this, but how can we teach about sustainability while using technology, any ideas?

Sustainability and Tech

It is budget time and as I ask for more devices for my students, I wonder about the social and environmental cost behind my request. I’ve seen the videos and heard the horror stories of the “recycling” plants in China and around the world. I worry about the personal cost to people in these situations too, and wonder what is being done about it.

Since our school has started an iPad program I thought I would look into how Apple was thinking about sustainability. Apple says they are committed to transparency and are a member of different third party organizations to confirm this. I started reading their report on sustainable practice.

I guess I realized that everyone wants to be committed to sustainable practice but actual action is harder to take.  From their report it looks like Apple firmly believes in helping their workers (including third party workers) gain fair wages, working conditions and success.  I think all these things are true, but I do wonder about third party monitoring.

Going back to earlier post ideas, I wonder about recycling and design process.  How can we start designing computers and tablets, and whatever else to be fully repurposed.  I heard a program (forever ago it seems) on the CBC about tech designers looking at how the companies would have to be responsible for the waste (it would be included in the price or something) they then started talking about renting equipment.  The point was you could pay the company (Apple, Samsung, Motorola, etc.) for a specific package, when the time to renew that package came up the company would take the phone and hopefully reuse the different components to make a new phone or tablet, etc.

Cradle to Cradle has been a focus for me these last couple of weeks, if it doesn’t show.

Cradle to Cradle

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the holiday season, gift giving and how those thoughts impact the environment.

Aitana Leret Garcia » DP2.- Cradle to cradle: Waste = Food : taken from -

Aitana Leret Garcia » DP2.- Cradle to cradle: Waste = Food : taken from –

So I bought a back pack for my travels around with this philosophy.

I got it from kickstarter if you want to check it out

Anyway, with my focus on permaculture the last couple of weeks as an individual and my focus on design as a teacher this cradle to cradle philosophy has really got me wondering about how we can teach students more about the ideas behind sustainable design.

Taken from

I read this book three years ago, and was really concerned that tech people weren’t buying into this philosophy.  So I want to make lessons that incorporate this idea.  I love the idea of publishing ebooks rather than wasting paper, but we’re still using important resources in order to produce the tech to make the ebooks.

How can we bring the cradle to cradle philosophy to class?

I think a lot about my implicit and explicit teaching.  When I work with students how can I reinforce the idea of sustainable design explicitly and through my implicit actions?  This is my focus for this week: being really aware of how I promote sustainable design.  Any help is more than welcome.

Permaculture Principles

I’ve been reading this book on permaculture recently.  I’ve looked through these ideas before, but one of them really caught my attention this week.

The edge of the Pacific Ocean

To me, especially when teaching, I feel like my colleagues and I don’t do enough of this.  Too often we are trying to really focus on teaching the bulk of students and making the curriculum work. We don’t often look towards the edges of our students.  I also wonder how often we look to the edges of our teaching and learning.  How often are we just looking towards accepted practice rather than trying to try something new?

I do realize that with students we need to make sure we are doing the best we can, and often parents have  a memory of school that they want to see in the classroom.  So, what does teaching on the margins and edges look like?

More than that I guess is what are we doing as teachers to have students look to the edges?  I want students to be able to see the great things that are happening at the edges of our natural worlds and our tech worlds.

I guess more than anything this idea of looking towards the edges really gave me hope on mixing my two passions.  Where two things meet is an opportunity to discover great diversity. Having people who can see two different worldviews (embracing permaculture principles as well design technology) is the way I want our world to exist. I think it is here where design will change the world.

Please message or post about how we can use the edges and margins to enhance education.