Kent Brooks, the director of technology at Western Oklahoma State College (WOSC) out in Altus, wrote a great post on his Ning last week following an Adobe connect brainstorming session called, “Open Content, Peer Production and Creativity, STEM and School Culture Transformation in Oklahoma.” This built on the ideas in my post, “Let’s build openly licensed, digital curriculum together – but where?” as well as the Adobe Connect session we both referenced and in which we participated on Tuesday. In his post Kent reflected:

SCHOOLS and colleges are not set up on the peer production model. We as instructors are allocated to a isolated classroom! If you have a problem, the teacher next door to you can’t remedy your problem because we are set up on an industrial production model and they are allocated to their classroom only!

My first thought is that although there are great learning management system features available to facilitate sharing and instruction in a classroom, what you have seen is instructors putting text and links in the class and calling it instruction. We are stuck in an old mindset with new tools.

Although great tools are available for Peer Production (ie forums, wikis etc) often instruction is still distributed via a the industrial model. If I have access to all these great tools, web resources, all the smart people, great documentaries etc can we really change and use this to have a very different model of school than we are used to.

I think Kent is on to several VERY important and powerful ideas in this post. I need to watch all of Jason Cole’s presentation on educational innovation and disruptive change from the 2009 Alaska Society for Technology in Education conference which Kent also referenced and linked in the post. The concepts within English WikiPedia article Kent shared for “Commons-based peer production” deserve a great deal of attention and work not only here in Oklahoma but in other states as well. That definition (today) is:

Commons-based peer production is a term coined by Harvard Law School professor Yochai Benkler to describe a new model of economic production in which the creative energy of large numbers of people is coordinated (usually with the aid of the Internet) into large, meaningful projects mostly without traditional hierarchical organization (and often, but not always, without or with decentralized financial compensation). Often used interchangeably with the term social production, Benkler compares commons-based peer production to firm production (where a centralized decision process decides what has to be done and by whom) and market-based production (when tagging different prices to different jobs serves as an attractor to anyone interested in doing the job).

We need a “Commons-based peer production” curriculum resource in Oklahoma, not only for our 1:1 schools but for ALL learners in the state. This includes “formally” enrolled students in higher education, learners at the K-12 level, and other citizens in our communities who want to learn! Who will build this? Who will will champion it? Who will promote a learning culture of collaboration and sharing which can make this a transformative piece of our educational information landscape in the years to come? ODLA and OTA are organizations which certainly come to mind, but as a SHARED CURRICULUM project this is something which needs to move beyond the bounds of being just “a technology initiative.”

I’m energized by these possibilities. There’s a great deal of curriculum I think we need to build together and share through open licensing. It’s time to expand our toolbox in the state to include a Commons-based peer production” curriculum repository.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Peter Hellberg

Who is hosting your state’s Commons-based peer production server for curriculum? Are you having conversations about the need for a resource like this? Where are the exemplars in the United States and elsewhere who are doing this? The OER Commons for New Zealand Schools on WikiEducator, Curriki, and Rice University’s Connexions project are three examples of which I’m aware.

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One Response to Who is hosting your state’s Commons-based peer production server for curriculum?

  1. We have an intranet wiki powered by mediawiki at our school. It is used as a knowledge base for computer trouble shooting. It hosts some podcasts, collaborative projects for computer science classes, where we create project specifications together and then implement them.

    Some of the hosting for ideas like this I use google docs and google wave in the cloud, but none of it is fleshed out perfectly, and much of it happens in isolation as you mention in your post.

    Perhaps if every school had a mediawiki, WPMU for student and teacher blogs, we could correlate and link relevant topics to each other, but I am not aware of any centralized curriculum web 2.0 of server.

    There is, which I have contributed to, but I find the discrepancies in author styles, and completeness hinder me, so I always end up resorting to my own; .

    Just thinking aloud. Good post.

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