The English version of the document can be found here. In short, Mark Shuttleworth’s foundation and the Open Society Institute are launching a campaign to “transform education” by calling for open, free educational resources to be placed online:
According to the Declaration, teachers, students and communities would benefit if publishers and governments made publicly-funded educational materials freely available online. This will give students unlimited access to high quality, constantly improving course materials, just as Wikipedia has done in the world of reference materials.
This brings up a good idea: if public education systems are paying top dollar for the creation of textbooks and other course materials, why aren’t these materials being made available to the public for free?
The rest of the declaration calls for open source education, but I’m concerned that, even if adopted, opening course materials would do little to change education. The key problem is that we’re looking to new technologies and new social models based on these technologies to drive educational change –but, in reality, we’re using new technologies and social models to teach what eventually amounts to “the same old garbage.” Such a pathway can only lead to failure.
Is there something else that we should focus on where we can use new technological and social models to develop innovative tools for education?