Monday, January 13, 2014

Educators - Please Embody the Spirit of Open Source

I am eternally grateful to the teacher who preceded me at my current position. She was incredibly organized, meticulous, and helpful in the transition. Anything she had every done was fair game, and she was always available for ideas.

When I moved to the high school, I was given the "keys" to a moodle course where certain classes I would be taking over (just a week before school would start) were housed.  I was also fortunate enough to be shared on a wiki for a different class.

So why do I still hear stories of teachers not sharing their stuff?

Why is there such a site as Teachers Pay Teachers? After all, it seems wrong to me that to make a few extra bucks after the backs of people in the very same boat as you.

Aren't we all in this together? The spirit of Ubuntu - that I am successful because we are successful.

Isn't it all about the kids? I know many would argue that we aren't working slaves - but this isn't a discussion about salary or benefits or working conditions.

I understand the hard work that goes into creating a really cool project. After all, I've done it myself. But I could never imagine making someone pay for what I created. 

I think through every single day the tools I use "for free" - Google Apps, Chrome, Screenr, Screencast-o-matic, Facebook, and Twitter just to name a few.  Yes, are they taking something from me - of course. But I don't see it being that much different than just giving attribution. Think of great collaborative efforts like Wikipedia or Linux. People from all over the world gave their time freely to create those things, and continue to this day.

We really need to be open source with education. Allowing our work to be mixed, remixed, nixed, used, reused, and globally accessible is far more rewarding than a few bucks from TeachersPayTeachers. After all, don't we want our students to be able to share their work with the world?  Let us set a good example for them, all the while creating a better education for them. I might have something good, you might have something good. Let's share, exchange, and improve the things we both do to make the lives of our students even better.

After all, it is the "Open Source and Free for All" philosophy that is the embodiment of what public education should be.

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