The goal of this activity is have students produce, on their
own, one primarily material and one primarily non-material product
and to compare the nature of the good produced and to gain a deeper
understanding of the nature of information goods.
This activity aims to create an intriguing opening to the Software and
Freedom Curriculum and to introduce and frame the concepts the
section on information
goods. It aims to help students find their own answers to a
number of important questions that might include:
- What is an information good? How is different than a material
- What are the ways that information can be controlled? How is
this control different or similar to ownership?
This activity is is designed to use and build upon work assigned
to the students for other purposes and potentially in other
In general terms, the required material includes:
- Two assignments from the students' normal schoolwork.
- Permission and collaboration from the teachers assigning the
assignments above (if applicable).
The two assignments should be different and should be chosen so
that one falls into each of the following rough categories:
- An assignment whose fulfillment involves or centers around
primarily material or physical product. The project could be in any
number of subjects. The essential criteria is the product
fulfilling the assignment must not be easily or effectively
copyable by students. Examples might include:
- An assignment to create a collage out of magazines around a
theme or in response to readings in an history, English, or art
- An assignment to create a model or poster for a science
- A sculpture, drawing, painting, or other physical art
- An assignment whose fulfillment involves or centers around a
primarily non-material or information product. As in the first
example, the subject does not matter but the work must be
easily copied and of the kind that students could easily
collaborate together upon, divide work around. It should be the
type of assignment that in an academic environment students could
cheat on. Examples might include:
- A traditional style math assignment formed of a list of
problems and solutions.
- A foreign language worksheet that ask for translations of
words, sentences, etc.
- A science or humanities assignment of any type that asks for
"answers" to questions where there are correct answer.
Teachers will need to have one assignment of each type
coordinated in advance. Both assignments should be brief (i.e., not
assigned for more than several days) and the assignments should be
coordinated so that they are assigned on the same day, due on the
same day, and assigned according to the instructions below.