Frederick_Noronha on Tue, 29 Jan 2008 10:17:33 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Wikipedia, Ubuntu founders back 'open education',1000000121,39292324,00.htm?r=4

Wikipedia, Ubuntu founders back 'open education'

Andrew Donoghue

Published: 22 Jan 2008 17:39 GMT

Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales and Ubuntu's Mark Shuttleworth are backing a
scheme to make publicly funded education materials freely available on
the internet.

The backers of the Cape Town Open Education Declaration, announced on
Tuesday, said the initiative is designed to echo the disruptive effect
that open source had on the proprietary software world by opening up
the development and distribution of educational materials.

The scheme is the result of a meeting of 30 open-education leaders
in Cape Town, organised by the Open Society Institute and the
Shuttleworth Foundation ??? the philanthropic organisation set up by
Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth.

"We have seen over the last 20 years how open-source software, which
is produced collaboratively, has been used to solve individual
problems but then shared to solve everyone's problems," said
Shuttleworth. "Today, I hope we will launch a process that will build
something similarly compelling but for the educational field. It will
be extraordinary one day to have teachers in New Zealand collaborating
with students in China to create documents that will be used by
learners in South America."

According to the declaration, publishers and governments should make
publicly funded educational materials freely available online. This
will give students access to constantly updated course materials,
just as Wikipedia has done in the world of reference materials, the
organisers claimed.

"Open education allows every person on earth to access and contribute
to the vast pool of knowledge on the web," said Wikipedia founder
Wales, one of the authors of the declaration. "Everyone has something
to teach and everyone has something to learn."

Despite its popularity, Wikipedia has not been without its critics.
Some commentators will be sceptical of moves to expose educational
materials to the introduction of inaccuracies, malicious or
accidental, of the sort that have dogged Wikipedia in the past.

The declaration document details the vision of the backers to develop
an open and collaborative approach to education but also identifies
that there are numerous impediments to realising this goal.

"There are many barriers to realising this vision. Most educators
remain unaware of the growing pool of open-educational resources.
Many governments and educational institutions are either unaware
or unconvinced of the benefits of open education. Differences
among licensing schemes for open resources create confusion and
incompatibility. And, of course, the majority of the world does not
yet have access to the computers and networks that are integral to
most current open-education efforts," the declaration states.

Other signatories of the declaration include Peter Gabriel, musician
and founder of Real World Studios, and Lawrence Lessig, founder and
chief executive of Creative Commons.

Frederick Noronha Ph +91-832-2409490
The Goa books blog:
Goa1556 (alt.publishing.goa):

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