The future is open

I've just been watching the TED video above of Don Tapscott sharing his four principles for the open world:

  1. Collaboration – organisations becoming more porous, open and fluid
  2. Transparency – greater visibility of what is going on
  3. Sharing – giving away assetts in order to achieve/gain more
  4. Empowerment – the disaggregation of power, an open world brings freedom

It's an excellent summary from Don of what he's written about in his books, Wikinomics and Macrowikinomics, both enduring favourites of mine because of the stories that are told in them and the thoughts that are stimulated as a result. 

Don's main point is "The arc of history is toward openness, and its a positive one!"

Of course I'm biased, because I happen to agree with Don about the shift towards opennes – it's been a feature of CORE's ten trends for some time now. And there's plenty of evidence that this shift (or 'arc') is occurring. 

This morning I read that the UNESCO member States unanimously approved the "Paris OER Declaration” (pdf) at the 2012 World Open Educational Resources (OER) Congress last week. The Declaration recommends UNESCO member States:

  • Foster awareness and use of OER.
  • Facilitate enabling environments for use of
  • Information and Communications Technologies (ICT).
  • Reinforce the development of strategies and policies on OER.
  • Promote the understanding and use of open licensing frameworks.
  • Support capacity building for the sustainable development of quality learning materials.
  • Foster strategic alliances for OER.
  • Encourage the development and adaptation of OER in a variety of languages and cultural contexts.
  • Encourage research on OER.
  • Facilitate finding, retrieving and sharing of OER.
  • Encourage the open licensing of educational materials produced with public funds.

This is ground-breaking stuff – but the momentum will only continue as these recommendations are actually implemented, and to be frank, that's more likely to occur within and among the general population that as a result of specific government interventions. 

In a recent article in the Huffington Post, Mark Drapeau asked "Should governments crowdsouce science  research funding?" – posing a question that gets at the heart of the sort of thing Don is discussing in his TED presentation. In an age where the cost of such research is sky-rocketing, this is the principle of 'sharing' in action. 

There are significant implications in all of this for schools and our education system as a whole – both in terms of the way we operate, and in terms of the values and beliefs around open-ness that we model and espouse in our curriculum. 

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