Some Free February Appy-ness with a new piece of free software for teachers from Microsoft every day in February. Many of these items are unknown heroes, but they all share two things in common: 1) They are useful for teachers or students and 2) they are free.
Creative Commons add-in for Office
If you want to share your lesson plans or curriculum with other people, one of the useful things to be able to do is to add a description of what you’re happy for people to do with it.
For example, you might be okay with other teachers using your awesome volcano illustration to teach their students, but you might not be happy if somebody used it to create a best-selling T-Shirt and Mug collection. Or if a textbook publisher used it in a book they sell without asking you. That’s what the Creative Commons licence was created for - allowing you to add a note to your resources telling people what they can do with it.
You can read a lot more about the licences for Creative Commons on the Creative Commons Australia website. There is also an interesting case study of Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand, who have an institutional-wide approach to licensing open access education resources. And here in Australia, the University of Queensland use it to license their OpenCourseWare.
The Creative Commons Add-in for Office allows you to save your files from Word, PowerPoint and Excel with the Creative Commons licence embedded into your document, presentation or spreadsheet. This is a great way to build the habits of sharing and collaboration, whilst keeping appropriate control over your work whilst encouraging other people to use it!
Essentially, the Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office is a small piece of code that adds a "Creative Commons" item to the File menu in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The "Creative Commons" menu item brings up a dialog that allows the use to choose a Creative Commons license for their document. The cool part is that the license is fetched from the Creative Commons web site via a web service exposed by Creative Commons. This web services allows the add-in to stay current with licenses should they change. You read more about the different types of CC licences here.
Where can I find out how to use it?
There are detailed step-by-step instructions for using the Creative Commons Add-in for Office, including screen shots of each stage on the Creative Commons website
Where do I get the Creative Commons Add-In from?
There are two versions of the Add-In: