[IAEP] Volunteer-driven development of educational software
caroline at solutiongrove.com
Tue Nov 18 21:56:23 EST 2008
I agree with you. I'm going to say what I think are similar things with
some of what I've seen in my professional work and learned from other Sugar
community members and school thrown in.
Everyone thinks that educational publishing is headed for a market
disruption. I recommend reading "Disrupting Class" by Clay Christensen.
The Sugar community should not feel alone in trying to change the economic
model of how educational content created and disseminated. I'm actually
going to use the term "Learning Objects" instead of content just to
reinforce that I think we are talking about not just words and pictures but
activities, programs. While Sugar Community is not alone it could
definitely be a very important player in changing the model.
At the college level the California State system is creating the
technological infrastructure to allow professors to create course packs with
chapter of text books and other copyright materials then the students pay
for the course pack, and only the chapters they need, rather then having to
buy the hard copy text books. CA is a big enough player to be able to get
the publishers to participate. The system will be interoperable with Moodle
so Sugar should be able to benefit from this system when its built. There
is also work being done on federated search of learning objects through LMS
systems including Moodle. I've seen stuff from MIT and the EU at various
conferences I've been to.
Martin says that in Australia and NZ they are starting to notice that the
goverment specifies the content for the text books and is the only one that
pays for the text books, but that they don't own the copywrite on the
content and are facing restrictions on how they use it. So, I think there
is definitely evidence for Edward is saying, that governements could decide
to just pay for learning object creation and release it without
restriction. Walter says there are more school districts in the US then in
the rest of the world combined. So I expect to see this model outside the US
rather then inside.
In the US I do see quite a bit of free content creation. The US Federal
Government does fund the creation quite a bit of cool stuff in the National
Science Digitial Library. PBS Teachers domain has good stuff. Merlot and
Curriki seem like good choices for collaborating with in creating and
managing open source content.
One of Solution Grove's customers in creating a middle school science
curriculum using LAMS and Moodle to organize and deliver a combination of
free and paid existing learning objects. The teacher, now turned fulltime
curriculum expert, is drawing from an incredibly wide range of sources and
is finding great stuff. For an individual teacher to find and assemble into
lesson plans and then usie all this free content, in accordance with thier
governmental curriculum, all alone, on a regular basis seems like a
herculean task. A lot of what text books do is make things easy for
teachers. We need to find a way for technology to make finding and using
high quality content easy for the teacher. Christensen's book talks about
Facilitated User Networks. This means creating systems that allow teachers,
parents and students to all find, use, contribute and modify learning
objects. I do think Sugar has a potentially big role in this, especially in
I urge the community to not feel alone, but rather a part of a larger
movement towards making this happen. Certainly the OLPC deployments have
unique requirements, but in general this is a great area to look for
partners and connect with the rest of the educational community.
On Tue, Nov 18, 2008 at 9:00 PM, Edward Cherlin <echerlin at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Nov 10, 2008 at 5:45 PM, Bert Freudenberg <bert at freudenbergs.de>
> > Cutting this important part out of another discussion ...
> > On 10.11.2008, at 20:49, Jecel Assumpcao Jr wrote:
> >> Of course, this all supposes the open source model. If someone gets
> >> paid
> >> to do a Python Etoys or a GNU Smalltalk one then I wouldn't be at all
> >> surprised to see a good quality implementation created from scratch in
> >> just a couple of months.
> > I have been thinking about this for quite a while - how valid is the
> > assumption that a volunteer community would be able to create software
> > that they do not intend to use themselves?
> I think we all have seen that it doesn't work that way. With rare
> exceptions, programmers either program to scratch their own itches, or
> because they get paid. I will address this issue in my Sugar Camp talk
> tomorrow. Earth Treasury intends to work with many others to get
> governments in the OLPC countries to pay for textbook and software
> development. I have to talk to Nicholas about this, too, of course.
> The business case for the countries is that XOs plus electronic
> textbooks cost less than published textbooks (or soon will, even in
> the countries with the lowest textbook expenditure), and can teach
> much better. This is in part because we can integrate XO Activities
> into the textbooks and lesson plans, topic by topic and lesson by
> lesson. We can integrate multimedia, simulations, math, puzzles...into
> every subject, including gym/PE/PT. We can structure lessons around
> collaborative discovery, guided by the teachers, and not random In
> the case of US state education systems, another benefit is that they
> can use textbooks that are not on the California and Texas lists.
> So to make that sale to any beyond the Early Adopters, we have to
> demonstrate all that, and get professional educational researchers to
> measure the results. Anybody who is interested in volunteering on the
> code side of this would be welcome. We also need people with knowledge
> of every elementary school subject, teachers, tech writers, students,
> and parents.
> Silent Thunder (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) is my name
> And Children are my nation.
> The Cosmos is my dwelling place, The Truth my destination.
> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
Caroline at SolutionGrove.com
617-500-3488 - Office
505-213-3268 - Fax
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