Chance Favours the Connected Mind

My teaching career has been made possible by sharing. I will give a, not so brief, brief summary.

As a first year teacher I moved to a small town and taught in a k-12 school. I mostly relied on the resources from my own highschool experience. I was that student that never threw away my stuff and that first year I basically taught as I had been taught 5 years previously in my own high school. The notes and assignments that had been used on me I used on my students and this made it possible for me to have enough time to innovate some new stuff. Which I did digitally so that I would not lose it.

Then I got married and moved across the country to Victoria BC and could not find teaching work for a few years. When I did it was in a small private k-9 school looking to expand to highschool. I was hired as the grade 10 everything teacher. That year was a lot of work. I did not have resources that I could borrow from others. It was a different curriculum than the Saskatchewan one, and since it was a small private school I was not part of a union that could provide me with supports. I had to develop a lot of stuff. I remember we went to a teacher conference late in the year with other private schools and I took a USB stick and basically hunted down everyone who taught anything similar to what I taught and I asked them for their resources, their lessons. They delivered. I still had a lot of work to do, but I was given whole year plans for the maths and sciences that I was teaching.

The next few years at the school I would go on to develop many resources of my own and I remembered the help that I had received from others so I would take my USB stick full of information to conferences to share. As cloud storage and high speed internet became more prevalent I started to use dropbox and eventually google drive to share everything between multiple devices. By my 5th year at the school my wife and I were feeling it was time to return to Saskatchewan. I told the school, and in that final year I kept a careful digital record of every lesson for each class to give to my replacement. I knew that my job was a hard one and that being able to tell a potential employee that this resource existed would make it easier for them to find a replacement. (I was teaching 12 separate courses, some of them splits between different subjects of different grades because that is all that would work for the schedule of the small school.)

When I arrived in Regina at a much bigger school, although still k-12 and private, I found a very different environment than what I left behind. I was a part of a department here. The private school was an associate school so we actually work very closely with the public system helping them when we can, and receiving help from them. The science teachers of Regina meet about once a month at the board office to share resources. We call this the Science Curriculum Advisory Council. These meetings often have any or all of us sharing what has worked, what hasn’t, and how to prepare lessons for new curriculum, etc. That first year I was handed so many full year plan resources, by amazing teachers who have sat on curriculum writing boards. Within a few years I was piloting courses for Regina public and did the same for other teachers. I shared whole year plans of the courses that I had taught.

The sharing is not just limited to Regina though. My cousin is an amazing science teacher in the Saskatoon region, and when she was starting I handed her the full chemistry and physics year plans. She has in turn shared stuff that she has developed back with me. There is also a provincial shared google drive by all of the science teachers in the province. Anyone is allowed to contribute and take from it. It is moderated by three amazing teachers and I will occasionally put things into it, and get contacted by other teachers asking for clarification or help understanding a lesson, but never criticism.

So there is a sharing culture that exists in the sciences in this province, and I love it. So why does this exist in Saskatchewan for me, and why didn’t it in BC to the same extent? What was different about the architecture of the environment as Steven Johnson likes to call it? The biggest difference was isolation. In my little school in BC we were not part of any larger body except for 2 days a year. We were not part of the school division, we were so small that I was the entire math and science department, and I had no professional body of colleagues to call upon. In Regina my school has mulitple science teachers to share ideas with, I belong to a division that has purposefully built a program and environment of sharing. While I was able to innovate to a certain extent while working in BC, it was those times that I connected with others and shared resources at conferences that really gave me the ideas and the room to innovate more. Here in Saskatchewan it has been the cross pollination of ideas at council meetings, and seeing what others do with my stuff that has helped me be more creative. There is also an accountability factor. I produce better stuff and hold myself to a higher standard knowing that someone else will someday likely look at and want to use my materials.

I found myself really agreeing with everything that Steven Johnson said in his TED talk: Where do Good Ideas Come From. Also I think I have a new favourite mantra that I can take from it. “Chance favours the connected mind.” So, with that in mind I have been reflecting on my sharing and what things have helped me share more and less in the past. Sharing for me requires the following:

  1. Be prepared to share. Whenever I develop a lesson or a worksheet, or anything I want to be able to reuse it so I store it digitally in a common format that can be edited later. I give it a useful name so that I can search for it later, and I file it in a subject folder sorted by year and semester. So often I have been able to find a resource to share with a colleague with a quick directory search for the keyword in the name, or by looking in the subject folder from the semester I think I did that lesson in.
  2. Ask others for resources by offering your own. I have found that if I offer what little I have I will often get much more back. In that first year in Regina at that first meeting I remember giving away a simple little vocabulary worksheet creation tool that could work for any subject that I had programmed in excel. I got back an entire biology 30 and physics 30 course. It was easier to start the conversation by offering than asking.
  3. Share what you got, even incomplete stuff. You never know if your half-baked idea will help someone come up with something else. The year that I piloted health science 20 I shared everything that I developed. Even the lessons that flopped. Teachers could go through the stuff, and if they did not like something they just would not use it. The partial share gives them the room to innovate.
  4. Give credit where credit is due. I share stuff that I did not create with others, but I always ask permission first. The easiest way to do this is to ask the person that you are getting something from if you can share it with others in the future, and if you can share their contact information with others. Most people will just say to share it and not worry about mentioning them, others will say yeah and you can direct anyone with questions about it back to me. If they say don’t share it, then I mark the file as un-sharable. (Very rare). This makes it easier than tracking down people later to ask.

So my whole career has been made possible by sharing. The things that I have learned this semester about open education resources, and about better ways to connect using social media only excite me more. I am now looking for how best to share digitally in the digital world. Most people do not have time to look through a stack of resources and instead use quick searches to find what they need online. I would like to find an online open community that I could post my work into to help contribute, and also to be able to make withdraws from.

Well those are my thoughts on how sharing has impacted me and my career. Let me know what you think, and thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read all of that.

 

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ARDUINO MOTOR CONTROLLER PART 3: Fresh Eyes

So in part 1 I explain the plan for the motor controller and get the hardware configured correctly. In part 2 I go through the program and realize that I cannot make it work for my equipment. This is not the fault of the program or programmer, I just have different equipment than they do.  Also without going through that step I would not have learned all sorts of stuff about libraries, servos, and how the serial port works. Now in part 3 I decide to start fresh. My new plan is to try to see what others did and to try to write the code myself based rather than trying to rewrite someone else’s code.

I had spent a long time searching the internet to try to find another example of how to write the arduino code for using ESCs with DC motors and I kept getting nothing expect the one that I had already tried. I decided to try youtube. I came across this video with +80K views so I figured he likely knew what he was talking about.

Some things you will notice if you actually watch this video. He talks about the need to use the servo library as well. He also talks about the need to arm the ESC. Some things that he mentions that I did not know about with arduinos are PWM (pulse width modulation) aparently you need to have the motor attached to a PWM pin. He also mentions that you can tell if a pin is a PWM because it will have a ~ beside it. I tried his code, it did not work for my equipment.

So I decided to go back to the manufacturer’s site and read more carefully through all of the documentation. So some things I noticed.

  1. They do not mention arming, but they do talk about how to calibrate the ESC.
  2. They mention pulse lengths.
Screenshot from https://www.fingertechrobotics.com/proddetail.php?prod=ft-tinyESCv2

I decide that I need to know more about how pulse lengths work on the arduino. I have used PWM in other languages, but I need to know a few specifics about how the arduino does it. For example, how long is a full pulse? PWM works buy turning the pin on and off quickly so that is it only on for a fraction of the time. Since this is happening so quickly it is like turning the power level down to that level. So an LED that is on a PWM pin of 50% would be dimmer than one on a PWM pin of 100%. So I look for an example and I find a tutorial on the Arduino website on PWMs.

In this tutorial they mention that most pins on the arduino have a frequency of 500hz and that the period of time is the inverse of this. They also mention that you do this using a function called analogWrite(value). So I look up the reference material for analogWrite(value) and find that pin 9 is a 480 hz pin which means that the inverse is 2083 microsecond. This would be above the 2000 microsecond threshold for full forward according to Fingertech so I should be able to use this pin to send signals to the ESC.

After reading how analogWrite() works I decide to write a simple code to test and see if I can get away without arming the ESC. The way that it works is that it sends a value between 0 and 255. So I need to divide 2083 (full pulse width) by 255 to find out how many microseconds each step of analogWrite is. 2083/255 = 8.16. So 2000 microseconds is 2000/8.16 = 244 and 1000 microseconds is 1000/8.16 = 122 and neutral is 1500/8.16 = 183.

So, I wrote a code that sent a 244 signal to the motor for 2 seconds. Then a neutral signal of 183 for a tenth of a second, followed by a 122 signal for 2 seconds. Then another neutral signal for a tenth of a second. I put this in a simple loop and loaded it. IT WORKED!

It worked and the code is ridiculously simple. All that time messing around loading libraries, trying to arm it, etc wasted. Well not truly wasted, I did learn how to load a library, and also how to run the serial monitor. That will come in handy soon I am sure. But still, look at how short this code is. It took me 15 hours to get to this?! AHHH.

Okay so the last little bit should be easy. I want to have the potentiometer control the motor. I already was able to make it control the LED blinking as I mentioned in part 1 of this series. So I just need to take the input of the potentiometer and put it into analogWrite. There is the small problem that the potentiometer generates values between 0 and 1023. So I need to do some math. The largest value I want is 244 and the smallest is 122. That is a difference of 122. If I divide 1023 by 122 I get 8.4. So my analogWrite could should look like this: analogWrite(RightMotor, (122+(potentiometer/8.4))). This should give me a 122 value when the potentiometer is 0 and a 244 value when the potentiometer is 1023. I try this in the code and IT WORKS FIRST TRY! I actually giggled at this point. Here is the video of it working.

For anyone who is interested here is the link to the code in my google drive account. It is yours, have fun. You will need to setup the potentiometer on pin 5, the two LEDs on pins 12 and 13, and the motor on pin 9. This code will likely only work for the FingerTech tinyESC. For anyone interested I did email the company about the arming process and heard back after all of this that it auto-arms, so yeah, that is cool. This is likely the best ESC on the market, and it is a Saskatchewan company. So shout out for home grown talent!.

ARDUINO MOTOR CONTROLLER PART 2: Not quite

In part one of figuring out how to program the motor controller I made the motor move. I figured it would only take me a little bit of poking around to modify the program that I found. I mean I have programmed in other languages before so I should be able to figure it out, right? Well it turns out as I went through the program I discovered that a lot of the assumptions that the people on the internet made were not true for my equipment, and a lot of assumptions that I was making were not true either. I will take you through the process of how I figured out that I was not figuring it out.

So the first thing I did was to start to read through the code that I had copied. It is somewhat lengthy, but you can read through it here if you want. I will just refer to pieces as I go and I will talk about the things that I learned from them.

Analyzing the code:

1. The first thing that I came across in the code was this.

This is called a library. I had heard of libraries in other programming languages, but had never actually used one. An analogy that might help is to think of it as a language extension. Lets say you are going on a trip and you learn the basics of a language for the country that you are travelling to. How to ask for directions, where the bathrooms are, etc. A library would be like learning a new set of vocabulary words that apply to a specific situation. For example you might learn a whole bunch of winter and skiing words if you were travelling to a winter resort. This particular set of words you would not normally need if travelling to another country, but you needed them for this specific trip. That is like a library in programing.

Obtained via Pixabay. Photo by Tessakay

There are some basic functions (words) that are already loaded into the memory of the arduino, but for some jobs you need more specific, specialized words. So in this case it looked like I was going to need to load a library that deals with servos. So I loaded the library and spent a few minutes reading through the list of functions that it added.

 

 

2. So what is a servo? Well servos are like motors but they turn a precise number of degrees. You can control how many degrees that they change. Some servos are continous rotation and instead you can control how fast they turn. At least that is my current level of understanding. I know that the motor I am using is not a servo, it is a DC motor. I am not sure why I need a servo command in the program. But the motor turned so I will keep looking at what the program does.

3. The next thing in the program that I did not understand fully was the serial window.

You probably have heard about serial ports before. They are the things that you use to connect printers, etc to your computer. Basically my understanding of it was that it was the port that the computer uses to send and recieve information to the device on. I know that in theory, but now for the practical questions I had. How does the device know which information to send back to the computer to display? You might have mulitple sensors attached. How can you see the information from just one of them? This meant more reading. So I read through all of the serial functions in the arduino library.

Okay I figured out how to control which information gets displayed. It is really nice and simple. You say serial.println(pin or variable name). This means that if I want to see why my motor is turning the way it is that I can say serial.println(motorname) and it will show me the information that my motor is receiving. You would add a delay(10) or something like that after to make it so that you have time to read the information.

If you want to use the serial port you CANNOT use pins 0 or 1 for digital input of output pins.

The other really important piece of information that I came across was that I should make sure to avoid using pins 0 and 1 for inputs or outputs. They are dedicated pins for the arduino to recieve (RX) and transmit (TX) information to and from the computer with. Normally you could use them, but not if you want to use the serial port. Since I know that I will want to use the serial port for debugging in the future I will make a habit of never using these pins and will use other pins whenever avaialable.

4. The next thing that I did not understand was the purpose of the code that I was reading. I understood what instructions it was telling my arduino to do, but I did not understand why it wanted to tell the arduino to do it. As far as I could tell it had to do with something called arming the ESC (see step 5). Everywhere I looked everyone kept talking about arming their ESC before doing anything else. Also they kept saying to check with your manufacturer to see how to arm it. Well I did that, nothing. Hmm. I thought maybe calibration and arming were the same thing, nope. Many forums on the internet talk about the two as separate things. I probably wasted a couple of hours trying to figure out this step. Turns out that the tinyESC doesn’t need this. Still not sure why? If anyone knows let me know.

5. Okay so no matter how long I play with this code I cannot make it turn the motor at any different speed and I think it has something to do with arming. I am frustrated and I do not want to see this code anymore. So I tried a different approach. Join me in part three as I explain what I tried next.

Via Giphy

 

Arduino Motor Controller Part 1: Making a Plan

I am not sure exactly how many parts this series will be. As I publish more of the parts I will return to this post and modify it to have links here to the other parts.

The first thing I did is decide on a goal. I wanted to have a potentiometer control the direction and speed of a motor as I turned it. The reason I wanted this was because my next project is going to be having the motor respond to inputs from sensors that I have not used before, so I wanted to make sure that when the time comes to learn how to wire and program with those sensors that I will have the wiring and programming already correct for the motor part. Everything is baby steps.

After coming up with the goal I reflected on what I already knew and what I would need to adapt from this.

  • I already knew how to use LEDs and I knew that putting a stronger resistor with an LED will make it glow dimly while putting a weak one will make it glow strongly.
  • I also knew that a potentiometer is a variable resistor. This means that as you rotate the dial it will go from being a weak resistor to being a strong one.
  • So what I needed to do first was figure out how to make it so that the potentiometer is set as an input with the middle value set as a neutral and anything below that value triggering a red light and anything above that value triggering a green value.
  • I had found good tutorials for Arduino at Learn Sparkfun before and decided to look there for a potentiometer tutorial. I found one, copied it and within 5 minutes had a blinking LED. As I turned the potentiometer the light blinked faster or slower. (I used their code exactly as it appeared, so if you are trying to replicate this. Follow their wiring guide and their code.)
  • Now to figure out the motor. I knew that the motor and motor controller were from FingerTech Robotics in Saskatoon, so I thought I would start with their website. They had a video of a guy using the ESC (electronic speed controller) with a RC controller (a radio controller) not an arduino. Hmm. I knew from the robot competition last year that I saw students from other schools using an Arduino to control their motors, but how? I googled Arduino TinyESC tutorial and found a tutorial at tech valley projects, it looked hopeful so I dutifully copied it.
  • The motor started to turn. That is fun. I have no idea why. So I think I have the hardware setup, now I have to figure out the programming.

Figuring out the programming turned out to be a lot harder process. Join me in part 2 as I go through the tech valley programming and discover that while the hardware setup is correct that the programming is almost completely wrong and I need to go in a different direction if I actually want to have control over the motor.

The other thought I have about all of this is that it reminds me of one of the lessons from my ECI 831 class on the importance of remixing. There was a great video series that I watched on remixing and the role it plays in creativity and learning called Everything is a Remix. Right now I am in the copy stage of the copy –> Transform –> Combine. Part 2 I will enter into the transform portion of the project as I start to change things in the code.

Original image Available for download at Everything is a Remix

Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoyed the read.

Arduino Motor Control

Okay, this is going to be a quick post with much more detail to follow. For the last two weeks you have likely been wondering what is up with the Arduino project. Well I have been working on it, but I kept holding off on posting because I kept thinking just a few more minutes and I will have something worth sharing. Every few minutes I would hit a new roadblock and it would take me a little more time to work around that roadblock. I finally got the project to work, and I am going to post how I did it in a series of posts that walk through each of the roadblocks. We are looking at probably 15 hours worth of learning on this one. (I know please do not judge me when you see how simple the solution is.)  Writing those posts so that you can understand the learning process and hopefully so that you can learn along with me will take a little bit but I plan on having them all up in the next few days. In the meantime though here is what I accomplished.

I was able to wire up and write a program that would control the direction and speed of a motor with a dial called a potentiometer. So if I turn the dial to the left the motor goes backwards, if I turn it further it speeds up. If I turn the dial to the right it goes forwards, if I turn it further it speeds up more.

I know that sounds so simple, and in the end the program actually is simple. That does not mean that the learning process to figure out how to make it do that was simple. There were definitely moments where I started to question if I would figure it out or if I was going to have to find a computer engineer to help me. The good thing is that I very much understand the system now and will definetly be able to help others with this, which is why I chose this project in the first place.

Alright, enough talk. Here is the video.

Okay. So that might not look like much, but seriously it took me about 15 hours to figure all of it out. I had to use a ton of internet resources, and I now know a lot more about how the arduino uno works. Also there is something called PWM which is really neat. So check back in the next couple of days to learn all the things I had to overcome to do it.

Take the Red Pill

This week in ECI 831 we were given a long laundry list of resources to go through and evaluate. Each of them was an OER (Open Educational Resource) repository or something similar to that. Sapna does an excellent job of explaining what those are for anyone who does not know. Now, I consider myself to be a techie teacher aware of many online tools, but boy was I in for a surprise. I knew that theoretically there were free resources online, but most of the time when I went looking for them I came across piecemeal stuff of middling quality. I would find a worksheet here and a somewhat useful resource there. I had found a few go to sites for simulations for science classes, but I did not expect to find whole courses, well thought out lesson plans, and more online. At least I did not expect to find these things for free.

I am going to confess that I have not yet had time to evaluate all of the sites that we were given. For anyone not in the course, I have included a list of the resources.

    1. Connexions
    2. OER Commons
    3. Archive.org (and Archive.org Education)
    4. MERLOT
    5. Open Courseware Consortium
    6. CK12 Foundation
    7. Curriki
    8. Khan Academy
    9. Lab Space
    10. Open Textbook Library
    11. American Institute of Mathematics
    12. Open Learn
    13. TED Ed
    14. Wiki Educator
    15. P2PU
    16. OpenStax
    17. MOOC Providers: Coursera, Udacity, EdX
    18. A long list of many more repositories, directories, and resources here.

I made it a little over 75% of the way through the list and found myself enjoying one of the resources so much that I needed to just camp out there for a little while. There is some really useful stuff in this list and I do plan on evaluating them all for myself eventually. (I created a rubric that I am working on filling in, but it takes time.)

Here are my thoughts.

Wow, um. So why do I buy educational resources? Why do any of us buy educational resources? I mean I understand why the school would need to purchase physical resources like chemicals for my science lab, and equipment, but I no longer think that I could ever purchase another textbook, worksheet package, or anything like that unless it was absolutely magical. I weep at the fact that I have spent obscene amounts of my own money over my career so far on resources that are no better than what I found for free last week.

I would say that OERs are definitely the future. If you think about the cost for a province to purchase 10,000 textbooks (In a recent speech the minister of education said students should have access to textbooks) for a single grade in a single subject you are looking at a minimum of $600,000 if you can get the books for $50 each. The province would save money if instead it paid an expert teacher, or team of teachers, to develop a textbook and made it available online as an OER. Each teacher in the province could then access it and modify it as needed. You could have a shared repository for it and have teachers upload any lessons and modifications that they make. This would level the learning experience across the province much more. Since not every student has electronic devices available the province would have to print some copies of it, negating some of the savings, but even if you printed and coil bound 5000 copies at about $25 each you would still only spend $225,000 for the OER and the printed material. This would also mean that the textbooks and supporting resources would better match our curriculum than textbooks that we purchase that were developed for other larger markets. BC is already starting to do this as well as other jurisdictions. At a local school level, I know that I will never recommend the purchase of a textbook again without first scouring the internet first for appropriate free materials first. (I modified the image below to create a meme that expresses how I feel about this).

Adapted by Chris Reed from http://shamelesspride.com/red-pill-blue-pill/the-matrix-red-or-blue-pill_original/

So it is clear that OERs are awesome and exist in abundance, but what is the quality like? I really liked ck-12 because it focused so heavily on my area of teaching, maths and sciences at the high school level. Many of the other OERs were focused at the university level, which is great for me to review, but not so helpful to anyone other than my grade 12 students who are looking for supplementary material.

So what makes ck-12 great? Well, it has a teacher and a student side to it which means that there are different focuses on the kind of resources that it brings up for you. As a student it tries to bring up things that will help you learn the material. It is like a study guide or a tutor. It will suggest simulations and learning activities for the material that you are trying to master. It will also find groups to connect you with that are interested in the same kind of material that you are. There was a tool called stoodle that allowed you to ask for help, but also to offer it to others. It is like a big online study chat session. I can see this being really useful to students trying to learn more about a subject when they do not have access to a teacher. The teacher side presents resources differently. It is more trying to help you plan a lesson or a unit. It has a concept mapping tool to help you figure out how the ideas in a unit connect together. When you search for resources you can also narrow it by the type of standard you want it to match. While most of the standards are American you can still use them as a useful guide. I was able to find lots of material for the test concept that I looked up. I made a screencast of it below in case you want a quick peek at how it works.

I am converted to OERs and cannot see myself easily handing money over to anyone in the future for a resource without it doing a lot of things for me. At this point though I am still a taker. I need to learn how to help others by sharing my resources better. As a first step here is the link for the covalent bonding lesson handout that I developed for my class tomorrow. All rights granted. Have fun with it.

Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think in the comments.

 

Standing on the Shoulders of Other Teachers

I really enjoyed the viewings/readings that we had this week for my ECI 831 class. For those of you not in the course (I believe that I have one or two family members reading this at this point) it was about the idea of open education and open media.

To quickly give a definition for those of you not in the course, open education is basically the idea that resources are provided online in a format that is available for anyone to use to teach. This makes teaching and learning more democratic. It can be afforded by anyone with an internet connection then. If you have 3 minutes I really encourage you to watch the first video.

Open education is not just about helping out poor students or poor schools. It is about helping everyone have access to the best resources. As a teacher I do not have time to learn or dream up all of the great activities that I could be doing with my students. Open education means that I can find amazing resources and see ways of teaching things that never would have occured to me.

 

Now before I can just go and use something I have certain legal obligations. I need to make sure that I have the right to show it, that I am attributing it correctly, I need to make sure that I am following the copyright rules. Every year as a school staff we spend a whole staff meeting near the beginning of the year going over the Copyright Matters! handbook for teachers that tells us what we can and cannot use. I never want to be the teacher that:

Obtained via Quickmemes http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3oxj2r

Which leads me to a point that Larry Lessig makes in his TED talk “Laws that Choke Creativity.” At the end of his talk he points out the fact that our system of regulation is causing all of us to willfully break the law. He says, 

“We need to recognize you can’t kill the instinct the technology produces. We can only criminalize it. We can’t stop our kids from using it. We can only drive it underground. We can’t make our kids passive again. We can only make them, quote, “pirates.” And is that good? We live in this weird time. It’s kind of age of prohibitions, where in many areas of our life, we live life constantly against the law. Ordinary people live life against the law, and that’s what I — we are doing to our kids. They live life knowing they live it against the law. That realization is extraordinarily corrosive, extraordinarily corrupting.”

Almost everyone is violating copyright, not by accident, but on purpose. Many of us will use a netlix login from another country to gain access to content. Some will torrent movies, music, etc. My students at a Christian school, supposedly with good law abiding students often tell me of illegaly downloading music, movies, etc. I challenged one student on it saying that his use of an illegally download dreamweaver program made by Adobe was morally wrong. He simply laughed at me and said that they should not have made it so expensive and he might have actually purchased it. Larry’s point about this being a dangerous behaviour is correct. We do want to teach our students about critical thinking and about how to advocate for justice, but we want to make sure that they also understand that there is a difference between protest and just outright deciding that a law is inconvient for us and therefore should not apply. Also if we do that then the law does not change, in order to change the law we actually have to challenge the laws and demand that they change, not just ignore them. 

This is where creative commons and open education become so much more important now in this age of extreme copyright protection. These movements allow everyone, teachers included, to fairly and openly use material for appropriate uses and still allows for content creators to get money for when their materials are used for commerical purposes. The system is not perfect but it is improving things. People are also starting to connect more with the content creators through this system and it is leading to new collaborations, like Ze Frank talked about in his Ted talk, “My Web Playroom.

So in closing I find myself heavily in favour of the sharing economy of teaching resources. I often use material that I have found online. To paraphrase Isaac Newton, who was paraphrasing Bernard Chartes, “If my lessons have been better than those who went before me it is because I have been standing on the shoulders of other teachers.” It is important to note that the sharing economy only works if multiple people do it. We cannot just be takers, but must be givers as well. We can do this by posting materials online in blogs like this. We can also do it be sharing google drives with teacher groups, etc. None of us as teachers have gotten where we are on our own, and we must continue the tradition of sharing those resources that we develop or improve upon.