Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

The value of free information

Smart Technologies is now offering a free quarterly magazine for educators, available both as a paper-based magazine you can receive free and PDF downloads. Their inaugural edition includes a reference (on page 39 of the PDF file) to a new COSN report titled “Hot Technologies for K-12 Schools.”

Unfortunately, this COSN report is for sale and not available as a free download. Thanks to Smart Technologies for at least posting a summary in their magazine, the piece looks good.

COSN evidently doesn’t get it, and/or has their research function based on an old model of information dissemination. I am not sure what the new model is called or should be called, but it is something like “follow the free.” As a personal example, I am not going to go out and buy that COSN report. As a result, a firsthand reading of the research is not likely to influence me. I will read what others write about it that is freely published (like the smarttech article referenced above). But there is just so much freely available info on edtech issues out there, it seems ludicrous to me for someone to be selling something like this that is a research report.

Sell books, yes. I still like to read paper-based, non-digital books, and I am sure I always will. But I am thinking that even book authors should be offering free downloads of their books. Why do authors write, anyway? I guess some may write to pay the bills. I am not in that category. I write for myself, and to hopefully influence the minds of others. With this model in mind, all writing should be as openly and widely accessible as possible. This is the new model of information dissemination for the 21st century, I think. Turns traditional publication philosophy on its head, but I do think I’m right here.

If you want to get people to read what you think about, in today’s networked world there is no better way to do that than give the ideas out for free. Maybe someone at COSN will figure this out. But “old media” and those organizations founded on its principles are, like many of us, slow to change.

The future favors the flexible and the adaptable, those willing to take risks and think differently. Unfortunately, that describes relatively few people in educational administration. 🙁

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