Will Quality Learning Become A Free Resource For All?
A Modest Manifesto
by David Wiley
= must have
David Wiley has recently posted an interesting manifesto calling for a growing development and distribution of free learning resources: A Modest Manifesto
Here are a few inspiring excerpts from it:
"It is high time for instructional technologists to get serious about extending free, high quality educational opportunities to everyone. Literally."
This manifesto provides initial context, rationale, and roadmap for taking the first steps.
Why bother trying to create these opportunities at all? Isn't the idea of extending free, high quality educational opportunity to everyone a pipedream?
If you thought this was a reasonable question to ask, you don't need to read any further. Thanks for your time.
Why is this a task for instructional technologists?
Instructional technologists are a group of people who care about facilitating learning and believe that technologies can play an important mediational role. As people who have some understanding of both learning processes and advanced technologies, we are uniquely qualified to take up the gauntlet.
"...Digital resources, assets, media, and archives which are network-accessible are nonrivalrous in nature. (This means that use of digital resources is noncompetitive. For example, if I check a book about learning objects out of the university library it is not available for you to read. However, if I read an electronic book about learning objects on a webpage, you are able to simultaneously read the electronic book. The music recording industry, motion picture industry, and commercial publishing industry have learned that not only can multiple users access a given mp3, mpg, or pdf simultaneously, but users can make zero cost perfect copies of digital media.)"
Where are free, high quality digital educational resources supposed to come from? Don't they cost money to create, store, manage, and deliver?
High quality digital educational resources cost large amounts of money to create. However, an increasingly large number of organizations are willing to bear the cost of such development and share the results freely with others.
For example, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation provided $11 million to MIT's OpenCourseWare project, which will "make MIT course materials that are used in the teaching of almost all undergraduate and graduate subjects available on the Web, free of charge, to any user anywhere in the world" (MIT).
Carnegie Mellon has a project called the "Open Learning Initiative" which is similar in spirit.
In the U. S., the NSF, DARPA, NASA, and a host of other agencies have put nearly $100 million into digital library projects which either create high quality digital educational resources, make the same easier to use to impact teaching and learning, or strive to broaden the research base underlying our understanding of the use of high quality digital educational resources.
Other collections containing some free, high quality educational resources include Connexions, the Math Forum, the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC), the Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM), the National Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Digital Library (NSDL), SMETE.ORG, the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (NVLM), the Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE), and the list goes on.
There are already literally tens of thousands of free, high quality digital educational resources. And the number will only grow larger. Because of the nonrivalrous nature of digital educational resources, these resources need only be created once.
So how can I help?
What can I do?
How do I contribute?
If you've made it to this point and still think you'd like to be involved, leave a comment below indicating your interest.
There are a wide variety of ways to contribute to this effort, including:
1) releasing your own educational materials online for free (or at least free for educational uses; visit
http://creativecommons.org/ for licensing options),
2) volunteering your time in an online support group,
3) conducting learning objects research,
4) conducting research into help seeking from distributed sources, and
5) conducting research around interactions between reusable educational media and distributed support networks.
Full Modest Manifesto at:
You can read the original post here.
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