Why Open Source? 6 Reasons + 1.

We are at a tipping point in education and it is exciting to be on the leading edge of great change! The change that is coming is in what materials we use to teach – how students access information.  Traditional content is being challenged by Open Source.

The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. (The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Malcolm Gladwell)

Why change?  Why seek teaching resources from anywhere other than a traditional textbook?

I offer 6 reasons (and one bonus reason!) below: value, accessibility, alignment, quality, availability, and money. I would like to add that it is not surprising, though, in a time of HGTV and DIY, that teachers are creative and they utilize their digital access to content in classrooms around the world.

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I had the opportunity to share the work of the TASA on iTunes U Project with members of the Texas Association of School Administrators and Texas Association of School Boards at the TASA/TASB 2015 Convention yesterday.  In addition to the history and future of the project, I wanted to share the vision of possibility – a possibility of inquiry-based, learner-centered classrooms powered by the content housed in the course resource collections on iTunes U.  Once again (this work has been shared many times), the feedback from the administrators at the presentation was overwhelmingly positive.  With many staying after to ask questions, seek more information and even request my contact information to connect their staff with me to begin implementation.  What I am struggling with lately is why this resource is not utilized by more educators.  If I believe this work represents what is right for kids, content that supports powerful teaching and learning, I cannot determine why it is not used to the extent expected.  It’s free.  It’s aligned to the standards.  It’s written for teachers, by teachers.

The problem is not convincing educators or administrators – the content speaks for itself!  The problem is not the price.  The primary barrier keeping educators across the state from implementing transformative practices in their classrooms with their students is AWARENESS.

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One thing I know: once educators choose to take a risk, transfer the power in their classrooms to their students, create an inquiry-based environment for learning, they do not go back to traditional teaching.  In fact, speaking to educators using open source content that supports authentic problem solving, I am always amazed by their humbleness.  It’s no big deal, I’m just doing what’s good for kids – why wouldn’t I do this? Why wouldn’t you do this????

Awareness.  That’s it.  Recognize the power of a changed classroom.