Why should education leaders pay attention to “open” technology and innovation?
1. As education leaders, we seek to improve education while reducing cost for our schools and students.
2. As education leaders, we desire to improve education while building upon the experience and resources of other communities.
3. For education leaders and teachers, time is a precious asset that should not be wasted. Sharing data and technology can help save time.
There is a common perception that open technology is only useful to those geeks at work who keep our computers going. Do you use the Internet? Since you’re reading this blog article, we know that the answer is “yes.” Our lives have all been improved by open source software. How? As of May 2012, 62% of the web servers on the Internet use an open source software known as Apache web server, a free software application that serves web page content. If Apache web server did not exist, it’s very possible that surfing the Internet would be more expensive. Do you have an Android phone or tablet? If the answer is yes, you are a user of Linux, a free operating system. If Linux did not exist, the cost of your Android phone and tablet would be much more expensive.
In general, when communities decide to share and pool resources, the world saves time and money. In many cases, open data and technology can help inspire innovation and community engagement. Open technology encourages us to build upon the lessons and experience of other communities. I wanted to share a brief list of tools and organizations that are helping to improve education through open source, open data, and open innovation.
10 resources inspiring improvements in education through open innovation
1. Ocwconsortium.org – Under the banner of “open course,” institutions of higher education have started sharing course materials for free! The OCWConsortium.org aggregates open course materials into a single searchable website.
2. Raspberrypi.org – If you’re going to teach the next generation of computer science hackers, students may need a computer for experimentation. The folks from Rasberrypi.org offer a fully functional computer for $25 to $35.
3. Art of community – Great projects, reforms and movements start with community. I greatly encourage anyone interested in building a community for a cause or project to consider reading this book, “The art of community.” It’s free too!
4. Schoolforge.net – SchoolForge advocates the use of open texts and lessons, open curricula, free software and open source in education.
5. Moodle – Moodle is a free Course Management System (CMS). This free web application enables educators to create effective online learning sites.
6. OpenIdeo – OpenIDEO provides a “global community that will draw on your optimism, inspiration, ideas and opinions to solve problems together for the collective social good.” It would be awesome to see more education related challenges here.
7. Knight foundation – The Knight foundation supports open innovation that creates engaged communities and democracy. I appreciated their last “news challenge” motivating innovators to share project ideas for improving communities using open data, networks, and mobile technology.
8. WordPress – WordPress has become a dominant blog platform for many change makers. Corporations often use this software as a general purpose platform for designing websites.
9. Data.gov – Data.gov helps to “increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.” Check out the education related data sets.
10. Creativecommons.org/education – The creative commons license has created a legal platform for sharing ideas, media, and resources. Learn more about education materials shared under creative commons license.
As you create educational resources, how can you share your work to help other educators, students and schools?