Moving From “Stealing” to “Remixing” With Credit

Eileen Lennon recently shared this image with me (and the world) on the “8 Characteristics of the Innovator’s Mindset” from my book:

This visual is incredible, and I appreciate Eileen taking and building on my work.

Here are the apparent benefits to Eileen:

  1. She has created something of value that others can use.
  2. She has dug deeper into her learning by building on the work of someone else.
  3. She has created something that will help her build a more extensive network.

Here are the obvious benefits to me:

  1. Eileen has promoted my work and brought more attention to it.
  2. She has created something visual that may have brought a different audience into what I have shared through a visual.
  3. I get to dig deeper into my work by going through the reader’s interpretation of what I am saying.

Through the opportunity to remix, both the originator of the content and the “remixer” benefit.

So why I am bringing this up?

Because in education, we talk about “stealing” each other’s ideas. I despise this, and it sets a bad precedent for our students.  We should use terms like “remixing”, “altering” or “build on” (all with references) but never “stealing.”  Personally, I get frustrated when I see an idea that I have worked on just taken and used by others without reference. I have had school leaders take my blogs, and post them on staff pages as their own.  It is frustrating and can feel entirely defeating.

I wrote this post, “4 Reasons Why Referencing Others Is a Good Thing,” and gave some suggestions on why you should ALWAYS reference to the work of others:

  1. It shows that you are well read.
  2. It raises up the profession as a whole.  
  3. Great leaders give credit. 
  4. It is an honor to be referenced by someone else. Pay it forward.

I do my best to be thoughtful of my work, and if I have a great quote in my head, I Google it before I put it out there.  It is hard to come up with an original idea, but it is important we do our best to give credit.  I always tell people that do presentations that it is always better to over-reference than under-reference. 

Simply stated, stealing might benefit one party, while hurting another.  Building on the work of others with proper referencing creates a win-win opportunity.  As a profession, let’s get rid of the idea of “stealing” the work of others, even if made in jest. We are all better when we lift up the work of others, instead of claiming someone else’s ideas as our own.

Source: George Couros

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