Big Man Off Campus

Scott McNealy, former CEO of Sun Microsystems, is on the road promoting an Open-Source Education site named Curriki (Curriculum + Wiki) where educators, students, parents, and interested people can post and review educational materials.

McNealy has been a vocal leader in the charge for Open Education since he stepped down as Sun’s head honcho. From holding summits on open education to the newly launched Curriki; I believe he is someone with the clout, connections, and money to get this movement moving.

I have been a proponent of open-source education since seeing the amazing gesture of MIT’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative. I believe it has the power to change the world in an incredibly positive way. I’ve been having arguments with friends and strangers about the topic for the past 3 years or so. There is a lot of heated opinion on the topic and a lot of fear.

I’ll put my money on the inevitable change of the system. Wikipedia changed the world of research for many of us. It put an easily accessible, wildly dynamic, sometimes inaccurate (rarely, please, all the media hubbub is about the misuse of the system, critical thinking still has to apply), open platform for information available to EVERYONE. Hopefully this is what Curriki will do for global education.

I will hope to find a way to be a part of this revolution. My first effort was to be a collection of all the courses available through the OCW programs coupled with an emphasis on community, which I felt the OCW sites lacked, and using Moodle to enable the community to actually run their own courses. Due to my limited coding ability and lack of time to dedicate to the effort, it stagnated.

I still believe in the idea. Education for our children will be radically different that it was for us. Don’t look at the incredibly narrow picture of just the children of the USA. Global Open-Source Education holds the promise of bringing high quality education to the children of all the countries of the world. You can either join in and help to make it the best possible system or be one of those people that sits back and mumbles about “back in my day”.

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