The Knowledge Economy and Living Through Creation

Open education is one way education has been revolutionized and may be provided to and accessed by students and teachers globally.


via Wikipedia          via Wikimedia

As discussed in the vimeo, “Why Open Education Matters”, open education has a significant amount of capacity to provide education to people in densely populated and remote communities if the telecommunication infrastructure exists. My colleague Joe McGurran describes his experience “[a]s a teacher in a community school, I see the impact of unequal access to education on a daily basis, and agonize at the potential consequences for our kids’ prospects.”

Open education, if considered to be part of an Education for All “(EFA) movement is a global commitment to provide quality basic education for all children, youth and adults.” In 2015, UNESCO tracked the progress on six internationally recognized education goals and the 2015 review indicates that only a third of countries reached all the goals with measurable targets.

Certainly there are problems with traditional access (financially and physically) to an education for all people worldwide, but, I am perhaps too skeptical to believe that Education for All, seeking equal or equitable education using digital spaces is more possible. Similarly, Danielle Hackel suggests, digital (re)sources still need to be evaluated for their classroom appropriateness and quality to ensure students get the best education.

I am eager to learn more about whether there are examples where open education breaks the digital divide and provides quality education respecting local knowledge and overcomes the social, economic, and infrastructural issues facing remote and/or impoverished communities. If you are familiar with any examples, please share!

via Professor Iona Novak

The culture of sharing and collaboration that open education and social media creates is inspiring. Teachers have the ability to adapt and improve shared resources and lessons regardless of where they are and how much money they have. I think this is great in theory, however, I have concerns over the regulation of the quality of education.

  • I wonder whose knowledge is being promoted and shared?
  • Is that knowledge culturally, socially, and geo-politically appropriate?
  • Are local and/or Indigenous perspectives and histories the focus?
  • Do people actually have access despite the digital divide?

The TED Talk by Larry Lessig, “Laws that choke creativity”, and the Ze Frank’s TED Talk, My Web Playroom, were particularly inspiring. Lessig was clear in describing all of the ways that we live our lives against the law and that is a corrupt way of being that is not good for democracy. He inspires us to do better and work towards a better democracy – our laws need to change and reflect social realities. Lessig talks about the necessity for two types of change:

  • “artists choose that their work be made available more freely (free for non-commercial use),” and
  • “businesses that are breeding out the read-write culture need to embrace this opportunity expressly” and engage with user-generated content.

Lessig explains that kids are different today because of technology. We come from a culture of watching and kids today come from a culture of creating. He suggests that government or corporations:

  • “can’t kill the instinct that technology produces we can only criminalize it;
  • can’t stop their use of it only drive it underground;
  • can’t make them passive again only pirates.”

There are unknown consequences for people growing up knowing that they live their average lives as digital criminals. The effects of it are assumedly not good for a healthy society, but realizing this is useful in raising awareness about unjust laws and creates solidarity for people standing up for what they believe to be their rights (free speech, fair dealing, etc.).

Ze Frank is kind of an inspiration! Or at least, watching his videos I was inspired.

Throughout this class and as I become more immersed in social media and online collaborative tools I think about how someone like Ze Frank comes up with these brilliant ideas for engaging people and creating online communities. For example, the love the young me now me prompt created an artefact of images of people taken of them as a child and then staged now as an adult. It was interesting to learn about the buy-in this idea received and the potential connection it makes between people globally.

Though my online engagement is increasing, I do not feel like I have the capacity to come up with online collaborative ideas like his on my own at this point, but I would like to try out some of Ze Frank’s ideas in my own professional context. Not sure in what ways this makes the most sense, but I do see the usefulness of ideas like these within activism, advocacy work, and classrooms. Perhaps this would spark some creative ideas for other ways of collaborating online and thinking about new forms of identity.

In the RIP: A Remixer’s Manifesto they use Girl Talk as an example of how remixed content is considered copyright infringement. They make the point that most of what we know today and share has been remixed and that according to the law, it would all be illegal. I believe that if the way the average person lives violates the law, then the law must change. This video clearly describes

A Remixer’s Manifesto

  1. Culture always builds on the past – new knowledge and culture is built upon what has been created or known. It would be like saying using quotes in an essay you are writing or singing song covers is illegal.
  2. The past always tries to control the future... in order to preserve the business model that made them rich.
  3. Our future is becoming less free – Wild Fact: “6 major corporations own more than 90% of media holdings in the United States. All these are represented by two lobby groups: the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America.”

RIP: A Remixer’s Manifesto

  1. To build free societies you must limit the control of the past. – Creative commons was born to set culture free!

So, why aren’t we updating copyright law to reflect the sampling, sharing, and copying that exists in the 21st century? It sounds like these major corporations have too much influence over government. It also sounds like the vocal chords of the people must be re-ignited to make meaningful social change which has both national and international implications.

The artefacts I viewed this week that dealt with open education, the legalities of creative commons, the copyright system, and collaborative online sharing were instrumental in helping me understand the differences between copyRight, which protects old laws while corporations get paid, and copyLeft, which is more democratic. I definitely have a better understanding of how copyright/left works and feel empowered to engage with these concepts socially and professionally.




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