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Saturday, 11 August 2012

Share Everything

One of the most surprising things to happen during the last term of a crazy school year where I transformed my teaching and status, was being contacted by a school in Portsmouth who had seen a scheme of work I had been trailing with my Year 9's through www.ictwithmissp.co.uk They asked if they could use it and have access o the online resources that went with it. Obviously they could only see the lessons as I laid them out for students to access through my blended learning model.

I said "Yes, of course, here is all the gubbins you will need."

I told this story to other teachers both within my own department, school and to teaching friends outside of school. They all asked the same question "Why did you just hand it over? Why didn't you ask for money?"

My answer "Share Everything."

I have an open source attitude to teaching. Firstly, education should be free, and every child should have access to the same resources. This obviously doesn't happen in any education system. The richest children will always have access to the best of everything meaning the wealthy will stay wealthy and the poor will stay poor (but that's a separate argument). Secondly, like open source coding, the collaboration of minds improves the software, everyone contributing a piece to move forward. If a few of my own lesson plans or ideas are a starting point, and then a teacher in Portsmouth improves them and then a teacher from Preston adds an idea, we ALL benefit! Let's stop giving our money to third party companies who don't know anything about teaching.  Stop teaching the curriculum, let's create our own curriculum. We are the experts in our fields, we should shape our own education system for the better.

Listen to this guy, because this is what I think I'm doing, and you should be doing too:

3 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you comments. It is really about the kids and when we have best practice or something which excites the kids then we should share that with all staff for them to excite the kids in there schools.
    Keep up the good work.

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  2. I love Will Richardson - he has been a sage in innovation in education for years!

    I also think you are right to 'share everything'!

    That said, not everything shared by the giver is of equal value to the recipient.
    The TES resource bank is full of rubbish which is enourmously popular.
    The problem here is NOT free vs paid for.
    The problem here is the way our education system is built - and I totally agree with Will that it needs 'disrupting'.

    Good publishing should help to do that. It helps to sift out the materials that really helps teachers to improve pupil engagement and learning.

    Of course there is lots of cynical publishing - which rips off teachers and pupils financially and educationally.

    You are right to 'share everything' - mainly because it forces everyone (especially publishers) to raise their game - and to add more value.

    Publishing is - at the core - quality assurance+marketing. That is all. I would argue we still need those things (though I have a vested interest) and that these services are worth paying for.

    I know hundreds of teachers who work their behinds off, creating personalised materials for their kids, (and have little time for anything else) and share it willingly. But it is rarely used by others - because they don't know about it and it normally needs some changes to make it useful to others. In other words - it needs 'publishing'. This is a service that is worth paying for.

    Does this justify the silly money some publishers charge? or the old - unsustainable business models that many publishers still use? NO!

    But - Don't assume that all publishers or all businesses are in 'conflict' with the 'share everything' approach. It helps everyone.

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  3. good luck with this ... you will always have a fight on your hands from the publishers and corporations ...

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