Supporting openness….

In case you hadn’t heard….. the Capetown Open Education Declaration and Budapest Open Access Initiative want you to declare your support for openness.

In the case of the Capetown Open Education Declaration this means agreeing in principal to the idea that “everyone should have the freedom to use, customize, improve and redistribute educational resources without constraint”.  What the declaration states generally is that we should actively contribute to a store of educational resources that anyone can then use.

The Budapest Open Access Initiative speaks to openness from the perspective of access to research and scholarly works through peer reviewed scholarly journals.  In this case it is about the sharing of knowledge in order to “accelerate research, enrich education, share the learning of the rich with the poor and the poor with the rich, make this literature as useful as it can be, and lay the foundation for uniting humanity in a common intellectual conversation and quest for knowledge”.

Both of these initiatives speak in general terms to the public good and I agree with the ideas 100%.  From an educational standpoint [K-12 in particular] because we simply can no longer afford to pay the high costs associated with packaged and delivered resources from traditional publishers and because open access to peer reviewed journals might help to close existing equity gaps in knowledge.  There is also something to be said for the leveraging of the collective capacity of educators to produce content appropriate to their context….technology has strengthened this ability.

I have not signed either declaration yet but would have no qualms in doing so.  I feel strongly as an educator [working in a publicly funded system] that anything we produce should be freely available to others. Given the rapidly expanding access to mobile technologies, cloud computing environments and the notion of personalized learning it seems that freely available digital resources are required….including the research and data that drives educational decision making.  I see initiatives like this as important catalysts for or at least supports for change.

What the Capetown Initiative in particular can’t speak to is the increasing requirement for all learners to have a personal learning device or devices to access and contribute to the ever growing collection of learning content.

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3 Responses to Supporting openness….

  1. Linda says:

    Many researchers and institutions already have access to a legitimate mechanism to provide free access to peer reviewed research and scholarly articles: self-archiving refereed final drafts on institutional websites/repositories – see more on this in a post by Steve Harnard:

  2. Pingback: Copyrights of publicly funded research « Damo’s World

  3. I appreciate the standpoint of how your school can no longer afford to pay for the “high costs” that often come with certain learning resources. Recently an organization I know of received status as a charitable organization, and this allowed them access to Microsoft Office applications at a greatly subsidized cost.

    Since one of their goals is to conduct free computer training this is enabling them to setup more computer labs and thereby reach a larger number of students with their training. I was glad to hear for this development, but I imagine that if they had not received this “status” many learners would not be able to access this program.

    Key point that you concluded with: if you had access to free online resources would, for example, your learners, (or all learners at large) afford having their own means to access them? Could institutes gain funding for this and would it be more sustainable to have laptops in your classroom, which would last several years, versus buying textbooks each year?

    After reading through the different articles I believe we still have a ways to go before society sees the need and implements these recommendations. Thanks for sharing your post; I look forward to reading your ongoing contributions.

    Jonathan Bauer

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