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IP Outreach: Creative Directions

November 2009

Photo: ©Crown Copyright 2009
Photo: ©Crown Copyright 2009

Creative Directions, an intellectual property (IP) education initiative of the New Zealand Ministry of Education, is an online professional support kit designed to help teachers encourage student creativity and raise IP awareness. This article was submitted to the WIPO Magazine by the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand.

Creative Directions’ primary aim is to boost teachers’ ability to engage in conversations about IP with their students, to assist them in:

  • understanding the value of their own creativity;
  • knowing how to respect and be inspired by others’ creative works; and
  • developing an entrepreneurial attitude.

The Creative Directions professional online support kit is tailored to the New Zealand media studies curriculum and covers everything from performers’ rights through to New Zealand school licensing schemes. It gives teachers guidance in helping students learn about IP.

The kit stimulates students and teachers to think about the IP assets they create – and use. New Zealand media studies students often have out-of-school careers as musicians, photographers or web designers. They want to show their work to family, friends and fans as well as future employers, while avoiding potential legal hassles.

To be successful, the kit had to immediately capture interest by being relevant and target-audience focused. Text was carefully crafted so that key messages were clear and not overloaded with information.

Behind the scenes

Creative Directions is no traditional textbook or IP outreach program; its online format combines practical information, classroom-ready material and hyperlinks to information on IP, so that students can start learning about IP in a varied and stimulating way.

Just as students in media studies themselves collaborate on multimedia works, representatives from the Ministry of Education and the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ), the music and film industry and teachers worked together to produce the Creative Directions kit as a public-private sector partnership. The project began with a series of round table discussions on the content, layout and interactive design of the kit. Teacher feedback and classroom trials helped to hone information delivery.

Content was continually reviewed to ensure it covered:

  • what IP is about, from creation through to commercialization;
  • how to legally acquire material for classroom-based teaching and student projects; and
  • whom to contact for specific information or industry insights.

Learning experiences

The public-private sector partnership helped transform Creative Directions into a robust teaching and learning tool. The starting point was the pedagogy of the national curriculum framework for which information was gathered and reworked into the discovery and investigation format of the kit.

The project brought together a group of dedicated, talented people with a wealth of varied academic and life experience. That knowledge pool was tapped by asking probing target-audience focused questions, and such open discussion generated new content for Creative Directions.

“Everyone, including the teacher, is a learner.” – The New Zealand National Curriculum (2007), page 34.

Everyone who worked on Creative Directions learned something new – whether about the number of IP assets and owners that can be involved in a single multimedia product or how students’ attitudes change when they discover they have already built up an IP portfolio of original copyright works.

The WIPO Magazine is intended to help broaden public understanding of intellectual property and of WIPO’s work, and is not an official document of WIPO. The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of WIPO concerning the legal status of any country, territory or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. This publication is not intended to reflect the views of the Member States or the WIPO Secretariat. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by WIPO in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.