EC&I 831

Open Education – It’s a Game Changer!

There were three words that came to mind after our discussion this week around open education: connections, sharing and time.

Why these three words you might ask?

Disclaimer: I understand there are sometimes legal and professional implications that might factor in to some of the points I make in the post below.

In my mind, the first two go hand in hand so let’s start there!

Connections and Sharing:

When we open ourselves up to the possibilities that can come from connecting with others the outcomes are endless! What would happen if everyone decided to connect with one new person each day? Taking something positive from that connection, sharing that with someone tomorrow and continuing on from there. We would all learn something new everyday and so would the person we are sharing that with. It doesn’t matter how or when we connect but that we do it. Each piece of knowledge that we share comes from someone or something else.  There is always something to be learned  and it doesn’t matter where that learning comes from.

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Photo Credit: Top Images via Compfight cc

I like to think that I have started to make connections in positive ways and am building myself a PLN that will allow me to continue to grow and think deeper about education. I remember about a couple years ago lurking through my twitter feed and seeing something about a MOOC and having not a clue what it was! I continued to lurk for the next few weeks and slowly pieced together what it was. I have yet to participate in a MOOC but absolutely have it on my list of things to do. How can I go wrong, connecting with others who are interested in something similar, making connections and growing together?

I felt frustrated after watching Laws The Choke Creativity – Larry Lessig  and then again after reading Boycott Locked Down Academic Journals- Danah Boyd. Insert disclaimer here! However, I am going to continue on with my thoughts! Why are we as a society, so scared of letting other people have access to what we are great at? Why are we so nervous to share openly the pieces and works that we have created? I certainly get that there are many factors at play but sharing makes us better! I think perhaps the larger problem lies in that we don’t build each other up enough.

I think perhaps it’s important to point out that I do believe there needs to be some guidelines around sharing. People work hard and create some pretty magnificent things. Should an artist, singer, actor, photographer, writer, etc. do the work that they do and then have anyone be able to share it claiming it as their own? No and I think that’s why Copyright and Creative Commons are important. I’ll be honest, there are times when I don’t completely understand the difference between the two but after this week and thanks to the Creative Commons site, I have learned quite a bit more. I had no idea that Creative Commons was an organization or that there were different kinds of Creative Commons licenses. I found the piece What’s the Difference Between Copyright and Creative Commons? to be helpful as I tried to understand the difference between the two. In this piece the writer shares that:

“Creative Commons is actually a license that is applied to a work that is protected by copyright. It’s not separate from copyright, but instead is a way of easily sharing copyrighted work.”

Connecting and sharing build growth. This brings me to the third word that stuck with me.

Time: 

Change takes time and it takes those that are willing to put in that time to teach others about the importance and benefits of whatever it might be they are trying to change. In our case that would be education. We are seeing such a need for growth in our education system through the kids that walk into our classrooms every day. It is going to take time and work to show the benefits of growing and learning being a cohesive process built on connections and sharing. However, that is time well worth spending! As the students and teachers in this video suggest, it’s time to break some rules and change the game!

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