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BBC NEWS | Technology | Patent battle over teaching tools

August 17, 2006

This report has got me worried. I’m looking to trial an online environment in my school with some of my classes over the next year. I’ve been investigating various options, and have been playing around with Moodle with a view to using it to deliver a VLE as an extension to the work done in class. I also like the thought that the security features it offers make it about as safe as it is possible to make such an environment in a school setting.

In order to proceed with the testing I am having to work very hard to persuade the powers that be that Moodle is a genuinely free facility (remember, I work in education so money is a luxury)… and suddenly, Blackboard decide that they own educational software used to deliver e-learning. (Blackboard were granted US Patent #6,988,138 covering the delivery of online content etc. on July 26th 2006). Almost immediately, Blackboard have sued desire2learn. This might be the thin end of a very dangerous wedge if we as educators want to keep trying and providing free software to help us be better teachers.

If you want to know more, or if you want to do more, then head over to noedupatents.org for a plain English explanation of what’s at stake and how you can help. It’s actually worth it for thr link to the history of virtual learning environments… or maybe it’s only me that’s sad enough to be interested in this…

Link to BBC NEWS | Technology | Patent battle over teaching tools

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