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Monday, March 31, 2008

Loose wire blog: Learning in the Open

loose wire blog: "Learning in the Open. Here's a piece I wrote for the WSJ on open source education resources. It's part of the free section of WSJ.com. A revolution of sorts is sweeping education.

Helge: Open source collaboration is closer to me but we can learn from each other

In the past few years, educational material, from handwritten lecture notes to whole courses, has been made available online, free for anyone who wants it. Backed by big-name universities in the U.S., China, Japan and Europe, the Open Education Resources movement is gaining ground, providing access to knowledge so that no one is 'walled in by money, race and other issues,' says Lucifer Chu, a 32-year-old Taiwanese citizen and among the thousands world-wide promoting the effort. He says he has used about half a million dollars from his translation of the 'Lord of the Rings' novels into Chinese to translate engineering, math and other educational material, also from English into Chinese.

Helge: Gaining access to knowledge...

The movement started in the late 1990s, inspired in part by the 'open source' software movement, based on the notion computer programs should be free. Open-source software now powers more than half the world's servers and about 18% of its browsers, according to TheCounter.com, a Web-analysis service by Connecticut-based Internet publisher Jupitermedia Corp. Behind its success are copyright licenses that allow users to use, change and then redistribute the software. Another inspiration was the proliferation of Web sites where millions share photos or write encyclopedia entries."

Helge: Computer programs should be free... Search is free... Blogs are free... Facebook is Free... Jaiku is Free... Twittering is Free. What isn't? We are sharing things. Great. What are we going to see next?
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