Free online materials could save schools billions

November 23, 2007

Since March, Dixon Deutsch and his students have been quietly experimenting with a little website that could one day rock the foundation of how schools do business.

A K-2 teacher at Achievement First Bushwick Elementary Charter School in Brooklyn, N.Y., Deutsch, 28, has been using Free-Reading.net, a reading instruction program that allows him to download, copy and share lessons with colleagues.

He can visit the website and comment on what works and what doesn’t. He can modify lessons to suit his students’ needs and post the modifications online: Think of a cross between a first-grade reading workbook and Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia written and edited by users.

More: USA Today

Free-Reading.net

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Libraries Going Open! Free books for all!

October 27, 2007

This movie was commissioned by Internet Archive for the 2007 Open Content Alliance meeting held on October 17, 2007

Libraries going open!

Project Gutenberg is also worth exploring, many of histories defining texts are avaiable free from the site as their copyright has expired and they’ve entered the public domain.   E.G. Walter Lippmans book Public Opinion that shaped the development of western democracy away from true democracy to control of public thought,

it argues that twentieth century advances in the technology of “the manufacture of consent” amounts to “a revolution” in “the practice of democracy” because this allows the control over public opinion about the world and about the public’s interests in that world. Control of public opinion is a means to controlling public behavior.


Journals: Open Access and RSS

July 4, 2007

 

Last month five leading European research institutions launched a petition that called on the European Commission to establish a new policy that would require all government-funded research to be made available to the public shortly after publication.

In response, the European Commission committed more than $100m (£51m) towards facilitating greater open access through support for open access journals and for the building of the infrastructure needed to house institutional repositories that can store the millions of academic articles written each year.

The European developments demonstrate the growing global demand for open access, a trend that is forcing researchers, publishers, universities, and funding agencies to reconsider their role in the creation and dissemination of knowledge.

That requirement – called an open access principle – would leverage widespread internet connectivity with low-cost electronic publication to create a freely available virtual scientific library available to the entire globe.

Given the connection between research and economic prosperity, the time has come for governments, their funding agencies, and the international research community to maximise the public’s investment in research by prioritising open access.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Push for open access to research

After reading these BBC article on Open Access Journals I am convinced that they all should be and as a consequence signed the petition.  I think if all Universities made all research available to everyone for free, we would take a large step toward the betterment of all mankind.  Also many of the fee paying journal sites are failing to grasp the nature of the internet.  Many times I’ve been frustrated with the prospect of a great article only to find I’d need to pay a fee.  Aside from anything else, I’m not sure how these fee paying journals will compete.  MIT’s open access program has shown that it can be beneficial to offer your information and work for free, and I hope all Universities will follow.

I’ve passed the link onto a few friends who are still at University.  Although they were not that interested when I first explained it to them, they came back to me later raving at how useful the open access journals were.  They found that although the University offered them free access to fee paying journals, they were not a source they could use from home where they did much of their research and studying.

Links


How the Open Source Movement Has Changed Education: 10 Success Stories

June 28, 2007

A great article about Open Source sofware and Education.  I’ve been particularly interested in MITs “opencourseware” project for some time and would like to see Scottish Universities do something similar(I’ll post more on this later).  One of the best books on web design I’ve ever read was the textbook created for an MIT course and available free to everyone over the net (see my reading list for the link).  Open Source, free culture and Create Commons licensing are very new and important steps that should be encouraged.

Open source and open access resources have changed how colleges, organizations, instructors, and prospective students use software, operating systems and online documents for educational purposes. And, in most cases, each success story also has served as a springboard to create more open source projects.

Full article: How the Open Source Movement Has Changed Education: 10 Success Stories