Educators care/Video Signpost - Stephen Downes/Transcript

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Transcript of Video Signpost, prepared by Stephen Downes

Welcome to the first session of Open Content Licensing for Educators. I’m Stephen Downes, and it is my pleasure to be able to introduce this topic to you. You may be asking, why is open licensing important at all? For that matter, why does openness matter in education at all?

The first answer you’re likely to read elsewhere is that it’s about saving money. Just a few weeks ago, for example, Harvard University announced that it could no longer afford expensive journal subscriptions. Harvard University!

And if you’re like me and took out student loans in order to go to university, you’ll know to the penny how much your textbooks cost you. After tuition and housing, they are a college student’s biggest expense.

Governments around the world, meanwhile, spend billions of dollars supplying schools with textbooks, work books, library books, and other resources. In countries where money is scarce, it can be hard to access learning materials at all.

But you know, it’s not just about the money.

One of the things we’ve learned over the years putting education on the internet is that it’s not simply about the content, it’s about the sharing. That’s why teachers are so important in schools, and that’s why we learn from each other in classrooms and labs.

Education isn’t just a one way street. It isn’t just about reading a book or watching a video. It’s about answering back, saying what you’ve learned out loud, trying new things, writing essays, playing sports or games, singing, laughing and learning together.

And a big part of this is what we do with the resources we use for learning. We used to write in the margins of books or use yellow highlighter; now we post these relevant passages to the web. We used to cut out magazine pictures to make collages and projects to hang on the wall, now we create slide shows or Tumblr blogs or add them to Pinterest.

The classroom, where we share our learning, has moved online, and we need to be able to move our stuff there too – our own writings and artwork, and we need to be able to share what we’ve found out there with each other. This kind of communication isn’t just important to learning, it’s the core of it. We need open licensing to make this happen. We need open licensing so that teachers and governments can create textbooks that can be shared freely both inside and outside schools, and we need open licensing so we can share our own work with the rest of the world.

When we attach a Creative Commons license to our own work, we are making it possible for other people to learn from us, no matter where they may be. We make it possible for other people to watch, learn, question, and develop their own ideas and their own practices.

Open licensing isn’t just about saving money. It’s about learning from each other. The way we used to learn. The way we want to learn. The way we learn best.

So I hope you’ll enjoy this first session of the course, this open course, and it’s with pleasure that I’m able to introduce you to it today. Thank you. I’m Stephen Downes.