open source

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Open source conference: From information to innovative knowledge

On April 16, I will join Dr. Cristóbal Cobo and colleagues at UNAM in Mexico City for an “Open source conference: From information to innovative knowledge.” I will frame my talk around my Education 1.0 – 3.0 taxonomy, and discuss how co-seminars/open seminars help to create relevant educational experiences for modern learners.

Since I will deliver my talk by video conference from the University of Minnesota, faculty, students, and readers of Education Futures are invited to join me in Education Sciences Building room 325. (The conference will start at 5pm sharp, so please plan to arrive early.)

Conferencia Open Source

U Iowa students: "No open access for you!"

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, University of Iowa students pedal backward on the global trend of opening access to information and knowledge:

The University of Iowa has backtracked on a plan to post all graduate students’ theses online and make them freely available to the public. The reversal came in response to vigorous protests last week from students in the university’s prestigious graduate program in writing…

More at: (registration/sacrifice of first born child required)

BarCamp unconferences

A couple twitters from pfhyper got me intrigued by BarCamp unconferences:

BarCamp is an international network of user generated conferences — open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants — often focusing on early-stage web applications, and related open source technologies, social protocols, and open data formats. (From Wikipedia)

As BYO-WiFi events, the rules seem quite simple:

Attendees must give a demo, a session, or help with one, or otherwise volunteer / contribute in some way to support the event. All presentations are scheduled the day they happen. Prepare in advance, but come early to get a slot on the wall. The people present at the event will select the demos or presentations they want to see.

Presenters are responsible for making sure that notes/slides/audio/video of their presentations are published on the web for the benefit of all and those who can’t be present.

These self-organizing conversations are perhaps exactly what the human capital development/knowledge production community needs to tap into!

Education Futures mailbag

With many folks away at SXSW, CIES and AERA, the next couple weeks are going to be quiet. What better time than now to catch-up on the mail!

First, Elaine Wooton sent a note a couple weeks ago in regard to my chart of Education 1.0/2.0/3.0:

I am part of a group starting a school outside D.C. called The Freedom School ( Modeled after the Subdury Valley School ( and sort of Summerhill in England. Democratic. Kids do whatever they want all day (in an environment the adults try to ensure is “rich” with opportunities) as long as they follow the rules that they made. Total age-mixing, no curriculum unless they want it… We are actually a homeschool coop that looks just like a school, because Maryland is “complicated” (the complication is about building codes, not about starting a “school”). (Next year, the co-op will run 5 days/week with a paid staff person.)

Holy cow! …a school/coop that tries to embrace the creativity inherent in kids rather than beating it out is worth following!

She also wrote:

Strangely, the kids have had “school” 3x week since September, and have formulated many, many rules about computer access. As it stands right now, they made a rule that they can only use the computers for play from 10-12 (academics are fine any time), so that they are entirely available for other activities in the afternoon. There have also been rules about time on/time off. Also, in this environment, the computer is a social thing, usually functioning as a triangle – two kids/one computer. One kid as the user and one as a coach (or backseat driver). The typical computer lab situation in schools is totally different, 25 headphoned kids on 25 machines. I think the public school computers should always have 2 jacks, so there can be that triangle. But I digress…

That is a fascinating example of a self-organizing system. I’ve seen this happen in other classrooms where adults make an effort to step aside, too. Kids are much better at teaching each other about technology and “managing” technology than adults. What would happen if these kids worked with each other (and with adults) to develop new technologies to support their learning and knowledge-producing environments?

Second, Mark Surman posted a critique of my critique of the Cape Town Declaration, where I “worry” that “open course materials will do little to change education.” I had asked: Is there something else that we should focus on where we can use new technological and social models to develop innovative tools for education? Mark responds:

The answer is: of course! There are dozens of things that pop to mind immediately: Tools that capture, share and evolve the tacit knowledge involved in teaching practices (LAMS). Peer-to-peer learning platforms where students support each other and teachers become more like facilitators (Kusasa). Sites that connect ‘amateur’ teachers with interested learners (The School of Everything). For-credit classes that embed students in the real time, hands on learning environment of an open source software community (Seneca College). Or simply DIY learning by doing, which is the point of the web and open source in the first place (Wikipedia). While most of these are nascent examples yet to scale or even prove themselves, they hint at where things are going.

It surprises me how many people jump to the conclusion that the Cape Town Declaration ignores all this. The people who wrote the Declaration — and I suspect most people who signed it — totally get how education can and is changing.

The problem is that the Cape Town Declaration doesn’t say any of that. Maybe a new declaration is needed?

Finally, Guy Kawasaki dropped me a line to alert me that Education Futures is listed on his feed aggregator, Alltop, located at:

Alltop is organized as a dashboard with not only education news, but also: autos, career, design, food, gadgets, humor, journalism, religion, social media, sports, venture capital, and much, much more…

The Cape Town Open Education Declaration

Planet Creative Commons from

Calú twittered this yesterday evening: Declaración de Ciudad del Cabo para la Educación Abierta

The English version of the document can be found here. In short, Mark Shuttleworth’s foundation and the Open Society Institute are launching a campaign to “transform education” by calling for open, free educational resources to be placed online:

According to the Declaration, teachers, students and communities would benefit if publishers and governments made publicly-funded educational materials freely available online. This will give students unlimited access to high quality, constantly improving course materials, just as Wikipedia has done in the world of reference materials.

This brings up a good idea: if public education systems are paying top dollar for the creation of textbooks and other course materials, why aren’t these materials being made available to the public for free?

The rest of the declaration calls for open source education, but I’m concerned that, even if adopted, opening course materials would do little to change education. The key problem is that we’re looking to new technologies and new social models based on these technologies to drive educational change –but, in reality, we’re using new technologies and social models to teach what eventually amounts to “the same old garbage.” Such a pathway can only lead to failure.

Is there something else that we should focus on where we can use new technological and social models to develop innovative tools for education?

Moving beyond Education 2.0

There’s a lot of talk about moving to “Education 2.0” –but, what would Education 3.0 look like?

Here’s my take on the Education 1.0 – 3.0 spectrum:

Education 1.0

Education 2.0

Education 3.0

Meaning is… Dictated Socially constructed Socially constructed and contextually reinvented
Technology is… Confiscated at the classroom door (digital refugees) Cautiously adopted (digital immigrants) Everywhere (digital universe)
Teaching is done … Teacher to student Teacher to student and student to student (progressivism) Teacher to student, student to student, student to teacher, people-technology-people (co-constructivism)
Schools are located… In a building (brick) In a building or online (brick and click) Everywhere (thoroughly infused into society: cafes, bowling alleys, bars, workplaces, etc.)
Parents view schools as… Daycare Daycare A place for them to learn, too
Teachers are… Licensed professionals Licensed professionals Everybody, everywhere
Hardware and software in schools… Are purchased at great cost and ignored Are open source and available at lower cost Are available at low cost and are used purposively
Industry views graduates as… Assembly line workers As ill-prepared assembly line workers in a knowledge economy As co-workers or entrepreneurs

Free knowledge, free technology

Open Source Domination - Click to view original at FlickrTo be held in Barcelona from July 15 – 17, 2008:

The Free Knowledge & Free Technology (FKFT) Conference, organised by the Open University of Catalonia and the SELF Consortium, is the first international event focused on the production and sharing of free educational and lifelong learning materials on free software and open standards.

The organizers invite papers on the following topics:

  • Introduction to Free Software and Open Standards, Operating systems, Office tools, Educational tools, ERP, VoIP, and others
  • Technological aspects of e-learning
  • Legal aspects of free technologies and open standards
  • Quality assessment in collaborative authoring systems
  • Business models based on free software
  • Learning standards
  • Free software in society

Is it time to boycott non-open journals?

Danah Boyd joined the call for reforming how academics publish their work by calling for a boycott of non-open-access journals …and, provided a list of suggestions on what needs to be done now:

  • Tenured Faculty and Industry Scholars: Publish only in open-access journals.
  • Disciplinary associations: Help open-access journals gain traction.
  • Tenure committees: Recognize alternate venues and help the universities follow.
  • Young punk scholars: Publish only in open-access journals in protest, especially if you’re in a new field.
  • More conservative young scholars: publish what you need to get tenure and then stop publishing in closed venues immediately upon acquiring tenure.
  • All scholars: Go out of your way to cite articles from open-access journals.
  • All scholars: Start reviewing for open-access journals.
  • Libraries: Begin subscribing to open-access journals and adding them to your catalogue.
  • Universities: Support your faculty in creating open-access journals on your domains.
  • Academic publishers: Wake up or get out.

(The above list is abstracted from her original post.)

I probably fall under the “young punk” category in her list, and publish in both traditional and new media as an attempt to compromise and appeal to both conservative and cutting-edge scholars. How can we move away from a culture of appeasement of 20th century academic culture and refocus our knowledge diffusion toward media formats that are more appealing to younger and more tech-savvy academics –such as blogs, and the spaces where open access journals and other, new, open media interface? How long until the academy will finally accept highly commented and linked blog posts as legitimate, peer-reviewed articles in a tenure review?