The "Open" arguement and how it changes learning

Why do I publish everything I do?

I don’t, I publish about 90% of what I do. I don’t publish all of the School Email source. I do publish nearly all of my music work and most of my educational source code especially the php work I do. I also create free to use resource sites that enable learners and educators to quickly and easily access the content they want to access.

Why be open?

I’m a computer geek, we have an entire community dedicated to sharing code, ideas, thoughts and knowledge. It’s great. In fact its probably the best part of working in IT. For example, Primary School Teaching has 900 man DAYS of code yet 890 of those days were provided for free, by a community of contributors.

How does this translate to educators?

Education created IT, yet IT seems to of outdone education when it comes to sharing resources/ideas/plans and knowledge. How bizarre is that?

I have spent the last few days trying to encourage educators to spend 30 seconds a day uploading their lesson plans to Primary School Teaching and the #1 argument I face is why should I share my hard work with someone who will just steal it? For me this just doesn’t compute. I don’t see how it does in teaching, I don’t understand why teachers won’t share as much as I’m used to.

It should be free to learn.

Shouldn’t it?

When to have closed systems

Only when security is an issue (ie child details) should a system be “closed”. Certain niche systems that require lots of revenue to fund them and have large start up capital may also be closed. If the content is of a high quality then this can be justified.

But if everything is open then how do we make money?

This all sounds a bit communist… Not at all, schools will steal need teachers, learners will still need resources. I get paid for what I release publicly too. There are lots of revenue models other than the simple pay for knowledge.

Today’s great debate

Today was great, I was using twitter(A free service) while talking to some resource creators who felt it was inappropriate that Primary Games Arena(A free service) had an iframe linking to other websites which had games for kids(All freely available games). The argument was that it looked on the website like Primary Games Arena is taking credit for the resources it links to. On each game there is some text that displays who the publisher is of the game.

In my nature I feel that if something is available on a website then referring to that resource should never be a problem as you are making it easier for the learner to learn and/or teacher to teach.

After our short < 1000 word debate we decided that Primary Games Arena will now email each resource creator asking for permission to put games on Primary Games Arena. This is a simple procedure that will take a matter of minutes to accomplish and should keep everyone happy.

Thanks for everyone who got involved in today’s debate.

I do hope we can encourage teachers to share more and for websites to show more respect to the resource creators/authors and publishers who create the content.

This post will probably spark some conversation and I hope that it does because I feel this is an important issue that needs addressing.

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