The idea of educating a community of learners dates back to ancient times. As the institution of education has evolved, changes have been made to address the needs of the people, the available technology, and the future endeavors of its learners. As the 2.0 world hurls us into the future, a new idea has appeared on the landscape that has the potential to change the face of education yet again.
The Open Education Movement is simple: Share. With that, as with everything, come some pros and cons. The three different users of Open Education look upon the positives and negavites quite differently.
Institutions like MIT are looking to give free access to knowledge and draw the best and the brightest students to their campus (WesternUniversity, 2012). Having an OER (Open Educaiton Resource) allows for them to do this. The thing institutions have to consider is the financial burden of having to sustain the cow and then give the milk away for free. It seems more institutions are looking to add open courseware and free online classes as a way of exploring the future of education and how it can impact the intelligence and knowledge of the population. The other side of the institutional coin, however, holds an interest in profiting from online content. Places like Google and iTunes currently support the OER on a free basis, but there is a drive for commercialization and motivation not to give things away for free. In the meantime, these corporate entities are forefront of Open Education Movement.
Individuals who use OER enjoy the ability to collaborate and establish a name by adding resources to the OER world (WesternUniversity). The down fall is the lack of recognition that comes with the way that OERs work and the coping with the disincentivization of OERs.
Consumers have other hurdles, like the interface and navigation of OERs. The presumption is that as this format develops, the interface will improve, but another concern is the quality of information. The benefits, however, far outweigh the drawbacks. Consumers are presented with a vast quantity of free, easily accessible, and excellent materials to learn from about an array of topics. This format allows for a new perspective and approach to learning that has the potential to change education.
Personally, I see the vast amount of information available on the internet as a goldmine. Currently, open-education projects are already attracting millions of users per month (Baraniuk, 2006). The way to make that information easily accessible to people that otherwise would not have access is the key. Additionally, I see changes in the public education sector as to how we operate the k-12 classroom. Harnessing the information and expertise available on the internet to remove the lecture model from the public education sector could change how successful students are in the classroom and also increase the skillset youth have to bring to the workplace. Using global resources and information in a collaboration format with the tools online could help the youth of today become better problem solvers, improve their critical thinking, and work well with others. And it all starts with the simple idea of sharing. I have learning activity materials in my classroom dripping with my blood, sweat, and tears. I’m not sure if I would be willing to give it away. When you look at the education setting that you are in, do you think you would want to share the materials you make? Or does the lack of recognition or monetary incentive prevent you from wanting to share?
Baraniuk, R. (2006). The open education movement is gaining speed, but potential roadblocks lie ahead. Open Technology. Retrieved from
WesternUniversity (Producer). (2012). Democratizing access to knowledge: find out what open educational resources (OER) have to offer. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2IPOgl0ZE8
All images are courtesy of Microsoft.