Re: copyleft v. copyright RE: [xmca] Subtleties of Presentation Media

From: David H Kirshner (
Date: Mon Feb 19 2007 - 06:36:26 PST

Resending: I sent this a couple of days ago, but it didn't seem to get


There seem to be 3 issues floating around in the discussion, thus far.

On the efficacy of PowerPoint as a pedagogical tool, I use that medium only
sparingly, and discourage its use by my mathematics education student
teachers. My reason is not that it obviates the need for the student to
attend (I don't really see how getting hold of the PowerPoint slides
substitutes for being there, as the medium isn't complete), but, as david
notes, because it's monologic, freezing the curriculum to the instructor's
original plan, rather than dialogic, open to emergent shifts in plan in
response to student response.

As regards ownership conceived as a concern for maintaining the imprimatur
of the author, I do have to confess that that may have been a small part of
my anxiety about giving over my PowerPoint presentation to someone else.
But, in fact, having my name emblazoned on each and every slide would have
done nothing whatsoever to alleviate my concern.

The major issue, for me, is the loss of authorship in another
sense--related to Tony's note about the "INTEGRITY of expression." Because
the PowerPoint medium is incomplete--because the oral presentation is
inherently part of the medium--someone else using my slides integrates
their interpretation into my presentation. Having my name emblazoned on
each slide only makes matters worse, as the apparent claim that this is
David Kirshner's presentation is reinforced. Now in ordinary
representational media like published print, people regularly commandeer
another's ideas, often interpreting text in a way the author might find to
be a misrepresentation. But because of the nature of those media, one can
later parse the issue of ownership through the usual avenues of rebuttal or
even denouncement. Not so with PowerPoint. To use my PowerPoint slide is to


                      Tony Whitson
                      <twhitson who-is-at UDel.Ed To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
                      u> <>
                      Sent by: cc: (bcc: David H Kirshner/dkirsh/LSU)
                      xmca-bounces who-is-at webe Subject: copyleft v. copyright RE: [xmca] Subtleties of
             Presentation Media
                      02/17/2007 12:19
                      Please respond to
                      "eXtended Mind,

I followed the wikipedia link under #2 in my previous message just to
check that the link is working; it works, and when I got there I was
reminded theat those licensing provisions are referred to as "copyleft,"
as opposed to "copyright."

On Sat, 17 Feb 2007, Tony Whitson wrote:

> David, I agree that the idea of copyright is relevant, but also possibly
> misleading insofar as we in the US have become accustomed to thinking of
> copyright as a protection for intellectual property as an economic asset.

> That's not the only (or perhaps even the original) function of copyright,

> which also serves the function of protecting the INTEGRITY of expression,

> including such things as your concern to preserve the signification of
> authorship within specific discourse.
> Two things:
> 1. an example in use: I think you have a digitized copy of the slides
> Etienne Wenger's presentation to the Research on Math Ed SIG at AERA last

> time we were in San Diego. Notice the copyright in the bottom corner of
> slide. Acrobat provides security settings to allow protection of the
> integrity of the complete document.
> 2. another example with links on licensing options: See
> If you go down to the links that explain licensing, the links lead to an
> array of possibilities, which provide ways to preserve integrity without
> restricting circulation.
> I will prepare a different post on Presentation Media per se. I'm doing
> relatively mindless scanning now while listening to the US Senate Floor
> debate. So far the one speech that rose above the usual, IMHO, is one by
> Levin demolishing the argument that debate in the US Senate "emboldens
> enemies" and "demoralizes our troops."
> On Fri, 16 Feb 2007, David H Kirshner wrote:
>> Michael,
>> I think what links your musings about connectivity to my PowerPoint
>> is the shift from representational media to presentational media. The
>> PowerPoint medium is obviously presentational. But what's subtly
>> is the gradual drift of other media from representational to
>> presentational. For instance, what could be more representational than a
>> picture, except that with new technologies these static representations
>> can
>> be enjoined by the original creator, or by subsequent participants to
>> become something else. The key, of course, is digitalization. The analog
>> medium of pictures is static. The digitalization of the picture enables
>> to participate in subsequent performance, hence it loses it's place in
>> time, and with that it's originary vectors, such as its owner.
>> David
>> "Michael Glassman"
>> <MGlassman who-is-at ehe.ohio To: "eXtended
>> Culture, Activity"
>>> <>
>> Sent by: cc: (bcc: David H
>> Kirshner/dkirsh/LSU)
>> xmca-bounces who-is-at weber. Subject: RE: [xmca]
>> Subtleties of Presentation Media
>> 02/16/2007 05:17 PM
>> Please respond to
>> "eXtended Mind,
>> Culture, Activity"
>> David,
>> What an interesting story. I have been doing some reading and thinking
>> connectivity lately and have come to the conclusion that three little
>> letters - www - are going to change our universe in ways that we can't
>> imagine. One of the ways I believe it is going to change things is by
>> changing the concept of boundaries, and the notion that ideas can
>> can be treated as property. That's right - I think there is a real
>> possibility that intellectual property will become a thing of the past.
>> Is
>> this a good thing or a bad thing. It's hard to say, but I think it is
>> coming. Industries that live on intellectual property rights - like
>> recording, publishing, entertainment - are fighting like mad, but I'm
>> sure they will be able to do anything to stop the wave.
>> So getting back to your particular scenario. What would have been the
>> difference if the TA found your Power Point presentation on the
>> and downloaded it, or better yet hyperlinked it (so many of my students
>> bring their portables to class - and at Cornell my nephew had to buy one

>> as
>> a freshman). And then some of those students thought there was
>> interesting and hyperlinked it to some people they know. Unless you had
>> trackback function, you wouldn't even know where it was going or who was
>> using it. People would change it, people would add to it, people would
>> desecrate it. But every person using the idea would be equal because
>> was important were the ideas that you created and they took on a life of
>> their own. Perhaps the slides would come back to you in a form you
>> even recognize. But it wouldn't matter because you connected with all
>> these people - your ideas became viral rather than remaining
>> The only thing that creates boundaries on the ideas is rationality. Of
>> cours there may be a really dark side to this whole phenomenon, there
>> always is. But like I said, I'm thinkng we need to redefine our ideas
>> boundaries and ownership.
>> Michael
>> ________________________________
>> From: on behalf of David H Kirshner
>> Sent: Fri 2/16/2007 11:07 AM
>> To:
>> Subject: [xmca] Subtleties of Presentation Media
>> A few days ago I gave a PowerPoint presentation of my research to our
>> department. After the presentation, a graduate teaching assistant in the
>> department whom I've known for a number of years asked me if he could
>> a copy of the presentation so that he could follow-up with one of his
>> classes (some of his students also were at the presentation). I
>> immediately
>> agreed, but after some debate with myself, I decided to give him hard
>> of the slides instead. The medium of PowerPoint would erode the
>> between him and me.
>> Here's a snippet from my note to him. I wonder if this phenomenon has
>> observed/discussed before in the media literature.
>> Comments welcome.
>> David Kirshner
>> _______________________________________________
>> Hi xxxx,
>> I've copied out all of my slides (about 50), and left them in your
>> mailbox.
>> I'd intended to send you the PowerPoint presentation itself, but in the
>> end
>> felt uncomfortable about doing that.
>> It's an interesting media phenomenon. If I give you photocopies of the
>> slides and you distribute them for discussion to your students, it's
>> clear what are the boundaries between my contribution, and yours. The
>> slides are mine, the discussion is yours. However, the PowerPoint medium

>> is
>> inherently incomplete. If you present my slides as a PowerPoint
>> presentation, it no longer is possible to clearly demarcate our
>> boundaries.
>> That's because the in the PowerPoint setting, the slides are inseparable
>> from the commentary. Thus it's not possible to distinguish what part of
>> the
>> commentary is you and what part is me.
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
>> (See attached file: winmail.dat)
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
> Tony Whitson
> UD School of Education
> NEWARK DE 19716
> _______________________________
> "those who fail to reread
> are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
> -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)

Tony Whitson
UD School of Education

"those who fail to reread
  are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
                   -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
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