Opening up education

Open education book coverToru Iiyoshi made reference to a new book ‘Opening up education’ that he is co-editor for as part of the plenary at the Openlearn conference. This looks to be an interesting book with chapters from international researchers involved in the Open Educational movement. In the spirit of the movement the book will be available in both print form and electronically (see the MIT press release for more info). Of course there are parallels here with Radioheads recent announcement of making their new album available effectively free and so this is yet another example of a challenging of existing business models. He went on to talk about three levels of ‘openness’:

  • Open technology
  • Open content
  • Open knowledge
  • Interestingly different levels of ‘openness’ were also mentioned by quite a few of the other conference presenters. This is yet another example of how the broader context of ‘technology’ and its ‘use/impact’ is intimately intertwined with philosophical and political positions.

    One ironic comment from the panel that struck me however was that originally the intention was for the production of the book to be highly collaborative but when deadlines loomed authors reverted to concentrating on their own chapter. We found something pretty similar with the ‘Contemporary perspectives in e-learning’ book - truly collaborative writing is very difficult and I am not sure we have yet mastered how to best harness new technoloiges to support this. Of course many are experimenting with collaborative production via wikis and this may be a way forward but I suspect there will always be a bit of a tension between individual work and collective writing…

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