Friday, August 26, 2011

Learning, learning everywhere! (Open source learning)

 Free online courses on computer science are being offered at Stanford. This, people is what I am talking about. The idea that education-higher education can be free is a reality. The face of education is changing and nothing, but nothing can stop the tide.
Here, I thought I'd include excerpts from a piece I wrote for this blog in 2009:


We have heard of the concept 'open source' in internet circles; anything can be learned over the internet. There is a new openness to educational resources; for example MIT (Open CourseWare) is now offering up to 1800 on line course materials for free - their motto being "unlocking knowledge, empowering minds."

Open source learning as coined by John Taylor Gatto is based on extending this idea to all learning, to everyone. The underlying premises of open source learning is that learning is available everywhere in life and not restricted to 'places of learning'-namely schools. Open source is happening everywhere. How can it not, with the internet as accessible as it is!
Resources of all kinds are every where to be found in the day to day world; people, art galleries and science centres, businesses, professional schools, museums, community centres, libraries.
Of course, much learning happens incidentally and by doing; through games, work, and living. You learn fractions by cooking, history by watching movies, writing by reading books.
Think of it as the newest, most cutting edge vision of the pursuit of knowledge and education. Much deeper than simply another novel way of doing business, it is a different business all together. Open source learning is a shift in consciousness- a fresh wind that is sweeping out the old ideas of what, how and when one should learn.
Questions arise that challenge the entire concept of education at it's roots; whose education anyway? Do we even have the right to impose on another human being our own ideas (the State's ideas, the religious establishments ideas...) of what another person should learn? Crazy? Going too far? Still it goes to the roots of freedom. And it's happening the world over.
As Gatto says, "Nobody can give you and education. You have to take an education." And that means taking here, there everywhere from the world around us, according to what we are interested in, passionate about and not what some one prescribes for us.
"We suppress our genius only because we haven't yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple and glorious. Let them manage themselves."Gatto

2 comments:

nettlejuice said...

Such a simple idea, and yet so very profound.
Love Gatto!
My favorite Gatto quote..."genius is as common as dirt."

rfs said...

I love that quote too! Thanks nettlejuice.

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