It would be somewhat stating the obvious that today's youth have an absolute talent at embracing technology and making it their own. You could even argue that computing skills are taken up before walking with playtime apps targeting toddlers. By the time young people reach secondary education, their digital skills are established and they are well versed creators, curators and users of content. They have limitless and quick access to music, films and literature and are capable of creating their own content through blogs, vlogs and creative photography.
How very different from my own first experience of a computer in the 80s, a commodore 16 with its taped games and lengthy instructions, basic graphics and a crash course in programming language to fire it up.
Living their lives online today's young people can be under the impression that if something is discoverable on the Internet, then it must be free to use. They aren't aware that by downloading or using someone else's work, they are potentially infringing on copyright. Similarly, they aren't aware about the rights that are there to protect their own work from being used without their permission. It's therefore essential that young people are equipped with the skills to become responsible digital citizens at a far younger age, with an awareness of copyright and the intellectual property (IP) in what they and others create, share and consume.
With this in mind we developed Nancy and the Meerkats in partnership with Fun Kids Radio to introduce concepts of IP to primary school children, in an engaging and entertaining way.
The five minute cartoons tell the story of Nancy, a French bulldog and her band, the meerkats who battle ideas-stealing nemesis Kitty Perry whilst helping out friend Ed Shearling in his battle to conquer the charts. During the series the menagerie tackle trade marks, cyber bullying and sharing and creating content online. To support the delivery of the cartoons, we have developed accompanying lesson plans for Key Stage 2 to further explore the concepts, plus a competition with the chance to win a musical experience day for your class with UK Music. These resources can be used in the classroom to get students engaged and enjoy learning about IP and copyright.
Nancy & the Meerkats is just one of a series of resources the IPO have developed for schools and Universities. All the resources have been mapped against UK Curriculums and are free to download and use from www.crackingideas.com.
Want to chat more about IP in education? We shall be at the Big Bang Fair 2018 from Wednesday 14 March and the Education Show from Thursday 15 March, both at Birmingham NEC. There will be free resources, competitions and a chance to try the infamous karaoke shower!
About the Author
Catherine joined the Campaigns and Education team at the Intellectual Property Office in 2013. Before this Catherine spent 12 years in marketing roles in education and travel.