Creativity powers the best classrooms.

Teachers tapping new ideas and tools create better ways to facilitate learning, while their students gain knowledge, make intellectual connections and demonstrate learning through their own creations.

And with all this creative power comes responsibility: an obligation to understand and respect intellectual property law when building on the work of others.

What’s great for students — and educators — to know is that intellectual property law also protects their own creations, says Kristina Ishmael, an educational consultant and senior project manager for learning technologies at New America, a think tank in Washington, D.C.

Related content: 4 steps to understanding copyright

“Whether or not you go through a formal copyright procedure through the U.S. Patent and Trade Office, everything that is created technically has a copyright associated with it,” Ishmael says.

Copyright is a form of intellectual property law that protects all published and unpublished original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture, the U.S. Copyright Office says. And while copyright doesn’t protect facts, ideas and systems, it may protect the way they are expressed.

About the Author:

Chris Frisella is a freelance writer who explores educational technology and its power to reshape learning and lives.