How Classroom Culture Opens Up When Students Can ‘Patent’ Ideas

Katrina Schwartz, NPR | Mind/Shift, Aug 08, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

To me the moral of this story is the opposite of that intended by the author. We are told here about a classroom where innovation abounds and ideas are shared freely when students can 'patent' their ideas, thereby protecting them from use by other students in the same class. A mechanism of points and even a moot 'patent court' round out the trappings on the in-class marketplace. But of course the only thing being protected here is the first student to copy an idea from outside the class, and of course the culture of openness and sharing that could be fostered by cooperative learning is instead replaced with unproductive overhead and wasted time spent in 'court'. To the best thief go the spoils. Just like real life.

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