What is the value of openness?

Openness. When I think of this topic I often think of Clay Shirky. His writing on communication and technology is clear and inspirational. He talks about cognitive surplus, which basically means using our free time for productive collaboration and sharing the results. Sharing the results WIDELY.

The very title of his latest book explains this beautifully.

“Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age”

Perhaps what intrigues me the most about this idea is that through the collaboration allowed by social media, we might just be returning to values that are inherently human, but have been sidelined for a while due to industrialization.

A review of the book (via Amazon) says:
“Shirky argues persuasively that this cognitive surplus-rather than being some strange new departure from normal behavior-actually returns our society to forms of collaboration that were natural to us up through the early twentieth century.”

I think of the industrial or factory model of education as an example of where our society got ‘off track’ in the early twentieth century. My wish to transcend this is what got me into educational technology in the first place, about twenty-five years ago. I believed that the closed, compartmentalized view of education does not reflect how humans have learned — learned what they needed, learned when they needed to, through interaction, for centuries. Open learning can bring us back to that.

Shirky says (comparing the post-industrialized/pre-social media era to the present day):

“We have lived in this world where little things are done for love and big things for money. Now we have Wikipedia. Suddenly big things can be done for love.”

Here is a short (2.5 minutes) video that explores my personal response to the idea of cognitive surplus (created as a response to the theme of an upcoming conference).


2 Responses to What is the value of openness?

  1. […] non-industrial model that should be the standard for all education. (see my blog posts here here here here and here if you don’t know my ideas about this). And Pilchuck really should be presented […]

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