When does crowdsourcing become plagiarism?

I love crowdsourcing.

It’s a fantastic way to generate ideas for the classroom, document conferences, find links to resources or help attend conferences. I’m forever stealing and remixing ideas I’ve seen online in the classroom it makes be a better teacher.

Yet over the last few months I’ve found myself concerned about the nature of some requests.

“I need a lesson for the water cycle.”

“Have you got a unit plan for narrative writing?”

These sort of queries make me worry.

Finding inspiration from others is one thing. Cut and pasting lessons or even entire units is another. To me it short-changes learning for the kids.

If we are moving away from the old model of standardised education, this requires learning be personalised.

Teachers need to know their kids, their contexts and adjust and adapt accordingly. They can’t do that if they are following lesson plans created by someone else for another set of kids.

At what point does harnessing the collaborative expertise of the internet become out and out plagiarism?


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