Evaluating teaching materials and educational software for their commercial potential: Issues for academics and teachers to consider


  • James Dalziel


The commercial potential of newly developed teaching materials and educational software is a frequent undercurrent in discussions of modern education. While commercialisation of teaching materials does not necessarily require computer systems, in practice the vast majority of current interest has been provoked by recent developments in computing, and more particularly, the rise of the Internet. This paper reviews some of the major issues that teachers and academics face when considering the commercialisation of educational materials, and presents a framework to assist in the evaluation of potential commercial products and services for the modern educational world. From an educational developer's perspective (academic or teacher), relevant issues include: the ownership of educational materials (intellectual property), the relationship between educational developers and their employers, the role of copyright and patents, and the positive and negative aspects of collaboration. The importance of business planning in the early stages of evaluating the commercial potential of educational materials is emphasised, as is the importance of partnerships with other appropriate organisations. An evaluation of the current commercial opportunities for educational materials is framed within an understanding of current directions in national and global education.