edReformer has been writing about The Open School of Utah for quite some time and I have been remiss in addressing some of the design implications of open schooling (btw, here’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan praising the school just before minute 15).
Open School of Utah’s curriculum is a least in part, completely available for public review and use. They have put a significant chunk of their daily teaching and learning material. This includes videos as texts and a variety of downloadable worksheets, notes, and guides to help you move through the learning material. The functionality is impressive.
Open source schooling–schooling that makes use of open public resources and that shares it’s own resources with the public–is a powerful statement of purpose. It suggests that education should be democratic, shared, public, and free. As edReformer explicates:
The Open High School of Utah takes innovation one step further. They actually share their open source curriculum with anyone worldwide, for free, making OHSU the first secondary school in the world to create their curriculum from open educational resources and then share those courses back as OER available to all. The process of creating and sharing curriculum based on OER is similar to the advent of the printing press, which made information available to the masses rather than a select few.
The idea that we would share our work as educators across contexts so that individual teachers and individual schools can adapt tools and materials to their own purposes and needs shouldn’t be revolutionary and in some senses, it isn’t.Thievery of good ideas is common practice in many schools. I have often told to my mentees that teaching is an art of thievery and synthesis.
However, despite the rise of powerful new educational and organizational tools, schools are barely touching the edges of what might be effectively shared and are far from using the full potential of the communicative and interactive technologies available to them (check out Shirky’s book, Here Comes the Everybody by for a really interesting take on the rise of new tools for organizing).
Moodle.org is a great starting place for creating open source schooling, Edmodo.com provides a facebook-like learning environment, and The Open Source Schools blog is a British blog that covers the issues of open schools. More resources to come.