The Reflective Educator

Education ∪ Math ∪ Technology

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Open educational resources

Educators, I have some bad news to give you. You aren’t going to get rich. It doesn’t matter how many of your lessons you carefully hoard, or how many great ideas you keep to yourself, none of that is going to make you rich. You will probably never publish your "book" and you aren’t going to get famous.

You could however make a difference. You could give what you’ve got away for free and help make the world a better place. The technology exists to make it relatively easy to share your project ideas, assessments, lesson plans, curriculum, thoughts, whatever you are working on with students. The problem is right now, not enough educators are sharing what they are doing.

The main reason we as educators do not share more of what we do, is that we lack time. We don’t see the value in sharing what we do because it takes effort to upload & share our ideas, and the return is not immediate obvious. Getting that test written, or deciding what you are going to cover for the next week is tedious. To this I say, let your students help you out. Instead of having your students write summaries and rewrite notes from class, have them share the great ideas you come up with collectively with the world. Enable your students to help you. Petition your administration for collaboration time to polish your ideas with your colleagues and then share the result with the world.

Another reason not to share resources is that what we do is fairly specific to our group of students. Many of us customize what we do to the particular group of students we have. To this I say, share the core of what you are doing then, and not all of the details which make it work for your specific case.

Michael Nielsen makes the case in the TED video for Open Science, but in my mind, the same should hold true for education. The resources you make for your classes should be owned by the public, since in the long run, we all benefit. We need to move toward a more open collective experience in education, an Open Education, rather than our current isolated walled garden approach.