Can Microsoft teach tots digital-age virtue?
Conflict of counterfeit interest
Topics has also made an effort to fit Microsoft's curriculum into US state standards, a keys means of appealing to America's teachers.
As Nofsinger points out, for better or worse, standards have become a driving force much of modern classroom instruction. Topics has even created a standards matrix (PDF warning) paper to illustrate how the program can be fit into a subject.
For instance, a language arts teacher may be mandated to find an activity involving students communicating their ideas beyond writing. There are various units in the IPR curriculum that have a classroom create its own multimedia presentation.
Topics also claims the course can make certain subjects more relevant to teens. While micro and macro economics may not appeal to kids — applying the subjects through an IPR screen can put economic principals in more context.
The curriculum is currently in a testing phase, which will end in March. Nofsinger said about 50 to 75 teachers are trying out a few of the lesson plans across the US, providing extensive feedback. A similar-sized group of educators are reading the material over and will weigh in at the end of testing. Topics said it wants to launch the program officially during the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in July.
"Generally, you want to roll out an education campaign in the fall. That's when teachers are looking for this sort of thing," said Nofsinger.
Later, Topics wants to make the program more available internationally, although Nofsinger admits the finer points of intellectual property law will need major retooling based on the country it's deployed in.
With Microsoft funding the project, Topics will offer the curriculum gratis for download. The organization will also look at partnering with some teacher organizations, advertise at educational conferences, use direct mail, and rely on teachers to spread the word.
A question from the IPR curriculum:
What effect does illegal music downloading have on the songwriter?
a) None, if he or she does not find out about it.
b) None. Only the record companies lose money.
c) The songwriter can suffer monetary losses.
d) I am not sure.
Supplied answer: c
Counterfeit or copied goods are a good idea when:
a) You do not have the money to buy them.
b) They are given to you as a gift.
c) Never, the risks outweigh the benefits.
d) I do not know what counterfeit goods are.
Supplied answer: c
Next page: OMG IP iz kool LOLZ