Open content,  YOFL

The future of ed – my contribution

George Siemens and Dave Cormier are running an open course on the Future of Education. They have asked for contributions on this topic, so my musical slideshare is below. As well as the various angles you might expect, I think the answer is the presentation itself – when you think about why have I created a presentation for two people I have never met, on a course I won’t teach on? The answers are because it’s easy, because I have a social connection, and because I think it’s fun (and there’s probably a bit of ego in there too). And as I say at the end, that we can do this is kind of amazing isn’t it?

So here is my contribution, I’m sure they’d like yours too:


  • Martin

    I shall take your ‘grumpy old man’ comment (as Josie puts it) on face value and respond with serious face:
    Who pays is something I’ve been thinking about and want to explore in a different presentation (it’s not really lend itself to a music vid), but I think we can say there are two approaches:
    i) It’s as normal – so we still teach, research, etc but each of these activities has ‘frictionless output’ which can be used elsewhere.
    ii) we move away from a project focus but have frictionless creation as our base assumption. This is a bit of a back to the future model – in many ways we just want our scholars to do scholarly things and good teaching/engagement/research content will spill out of this because we’ve removed the barriers to dissemination.


    I think the loss of blue skies thinking in HE is tragic and extremely dangerous, but nevertheless, academics are going to need a ready answer to the question “Who pays?”, which is going to be aimed at us a lot over the next few years. We’re going to have to come up with something more concrete than Web2 voodoo economics.

  • Martin

    I agree – I’d like to really do an experiment, on return on investment, impact, reuse, etc
    I’m not being naive about this, for example this took me a couple of hours to do. That’s probably not a bad return on my time if it gets a few hundred views, if we reused it in a course, etc compared with say, reviewing a paper for a journal in that time?
    Someone (the OU springs to mind!) could do a decent study with a small group of academics who operate this way and compare with the many metrics we have for other forms of output eg teaching content, conference attendance, creating broadcast material etc.
    Near-frictionless (or lo-fi) content creation isn’t a myth I think, so the question is more – why only do one thing with your activity?

  • Joel Greenberg

    As an advocate of open everything, my one fear is that the future of education might be defined by the word “private”.

  • Oddhack

    I have no idea how many, and which, of those features will define the future of education. I suspect Joel is right and private will trump open, but I hope not. I do think that the main one is ‘multimedia’. ‘Social’ goes without saying, I suppose.
    But really all I wanted to say was… Karine Polwart FTW!

  • George Siemens

    Hi Martin – wonderful stuff! Thanks for pulling lots of these threads together. Particularly like your emphasis that the future of education is “like this presentation”.
    Fully agree with AJ’s comment: “I think the loss of blue skies thinking in HE is tragic and extremely dangerous”. In my view, blue sky thinking varies from different eras. When stability is the defining concept, then blue sky thinking is less relevant. When times are-a-changin, then blue sky thinking is critical.

  • Yuanlong.Yang

    Hi Martin ,I am a student of USTC(University of Science and Technology of China). I was shocked and attracted by Social Learn and your work when I heard about it, and I want to talk about it in my diploma paper.But there are little research about this in China, so I wish if I can get some help from you.I would be honored if I can receive your reply.Thank you very much.


    That was beautiful on all levels.
    F*** all the “yes, buts…” If the future of education is a private variation of the status quo, sign me up for the place where you get to make stuff out of lego.
    We need more dreamers, not less.

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