What is Open Source Learning?
A new direction for transforming education
Open Source Learning is an emerging philosophy of education for the Digital Age. In their day, approaches such as Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia made sense. Today’s challenges and opportunities demand more.
Open Source Learning empowers students to work in partnership with teachers to develop their own learning experiences and interdisciplinary paths of inquiry. Open Source Learning enables students to amplify and accelerate their learning by participating in virtual networks and online communities. Students can apprentice with expert mentors and collaborate with partners around the world. They can also create their own knowledge capital as they learn. Open Source Learning empowers us to produce value, interdependence, and hope in real time.
Why Open Source Learning?
In spite of all the attention and money devoted to improving our education system, today’s learners remain poorly understood and badly underserved. Students, parents, and teachers are suffering. And there is no “one size fits all” solution.
The good news is that we have the answer. Rather than advocating a specific system or required set of techniques, tools, and ideas, Open Source Learning embraces the idea that everyone learns different things in different ways, and it values diverse approaches to reaching those goals. We can now connect beyond the classroom with the ideas, resources, and people that can help students on their learning journeys.
Open Source Learning: guiding philosophy
All learning — whether in the classroom, the workplace, or at home — may be considered Open Source Learning if it:
- Is collaboratively constructed
- Is customized to the learner
- Is Interdisciplinary
- Develops mental, physical, spiritual, civic, and technical fitness
- Provides open access to every available resource
- Enables the use of modern and traditional tools
- Encourages divergent thinking
- Increases engagement and social entrepreneurship
- Requires learners to think analytically, creatively, and collaboratively
- Challenges students to create value through learning by sharing and achieving goals that are curated on a shareable platform
Open Source Learning: methods and tools
In Open Source Learning, each student works with the guidance of a teacher-mentor to develop an interdisciplinary learning journey around a big idea or question.
Students design their experience by working with a variety of tools – especially resources in the digital realm, such as credible internet content, online organizing tools (calendar, project management, and collaboration), 3-D printing, and mobile devices.
As their projects develop, students deepen their experience through information-sharing that establishes themselves and empowers others.
The result of Open Source Learning is that, in the process of mastering concepts and skills, we develop our mental, physical, civic, spiritual, and technical fitness, and we learn new ways to think. For example:
- Open Source Learning allows students to create and manage interactive learning material that becomes available online to everyone, generating and sharing value that extends beyond the traditional K-16 curriculum.
- Deeper and more engaged involvement results in significant improvement in academic achievement.
- Open Source Learning also creates opportunities for traditional performance evaluation of objective production, including formative and summative tests; and alternative assessment of portfolios, which can include a variety of artifacts, including trans media presentation of content, and the student’s choices related to platforms, media, and design.
- Participants – students and teachers alike — emerge with progressively masterful records of assessment and authentic work portfolios that tell a far more compelling story than diplomas or résumés.