Sunday, 20 February 2011

Open Source Education

Killing Music

                                 By Nina Paley

New long post in 'Articles' section:

Thoughts on Open Source Education

This explores the current 'Don't ask, don't tell' culture when it comes to teachers and copyright (come on, we all photocopy sometimes, no?), followed by a look at the origins of copyright and ways how teachers can bypass this without "breakin' the law."

A wonderful example of 'open source' education this past year has been Jason Renshaw's English Raven blog. An experienced teacher and materials writer, he has shared some great ideas and practical tips for lessons.  The best thing about them?  The fact they are so simple and completely adaptable.  His Wizard English Grid, for example, consists of  blank squares.  And that's it.  Yet the number of different speaking activities you could do with it are endless.  More recently, he has challenged teachers to do the same: share adaptable materials with teacher's notes.  One teacher who has took him up on the challenge has started a new blog, Magpie Moments, to document how some of Jason's ideas are working in a different context and how she has adapted them. 

This is the future: collaborative and open, without the need for gatekeepers (i.e. publishers) to decide what is to be printed or not.  



  1. Great post, and really liked the article "Thoughts on Open Source Education" - very well thought out and expressed.

    So is this the future?

    Gosh, I certainly hope so. But there's a lot of work to be done... Not just with the material and sharing processes, but the mindsets of so many in education.


    - Jason

  2. Thanks for the kind words. The main point I was trying to make in the article is that at the moment, at least in the "liberal democracies", the internet shows us what publishing and printing could have been without the more insiduous copyright laws. We are in danger -if we allow big corporations to apply the same outmoded laws to cyberspace - of destroying the freedoms we currently have.

    We need to look at alternative ways of revenue generation for teachers/writers that mean they keep the majority of their share and not hand most of it to a publisher.

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  6. I'm for open source education and hooray for photopiers. :) Teachers should follow the way of Jason Renshaw. We shouldn't be restricted by copyrights. Anyway, it's for our students. The end goal is that students learn. So we shouldn't commercialize learning.

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