Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Richard Baraniuk, an engineering professor at Rice University and founder of the school’s Connexions program, have started the Open Education Movement, which seeks to “represent a natural and inevitable evolution of the educational publishing industry in a way that parallels the evolution of the software industry, the music industry, and the scholarly publishing industry.”
Wales and Baraniuk say their movement is a response to the language barriers presented by all-English textbooks and the fact that many community-college students have to drop out because they can’t afford to pay for textbooks.
“Open education promises to provide children with learning materials tailored to their individual needs, in contrast to today’s ‘off-the-rack’ materials,” they say. “It offers quicker feedback loops that couple student-learning outcomes more directly into content development and improvement. It promises new approaches to collaborative learning that leverage social interaction among students and teachers worldwide.”
The Open Education Movement calls on educators, authors, publishers, and institutions to release their resources openly to the education community, and it urges governments, school boards, colleges, and universities to make open education a high priority. Ideally, taxpayer-funded educational resources should be open educational resources (OERs), it says.
The movement is asking interested parties to sign a declaration pledging their support to OERs. More than 500 educators around the world have signed the declaration since its inception last year.
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