Wednesday, December 8, 2010
A Sharing Revolution
My first experience of sharing was when with the help of an ESL teacher at my school, we started publishing and sharing our students projects online, about 15 years ago. We also started collecting together online resources and sharing them too. With the internet everything became so much easier - it didn't need to exist in a physical space and we could share with others half a world away. Most of what we shared was with other teachers that we didn't even know - and if people didn't contact us we had no idea of knowing who was using our resources or how useful they were.
Now it's just so easy to share. Over the past few years I've developed different curriculums, resources, standards, benchmarks, learning outcomes. I'm happy to share all of these, to have input from others, to make them better. I've had IB students work on a wiki shared with two other schools so that they could all jointly create resources for the course to share.
I like sharing - using or enjoying something jointly with others. I like creating new things as a result of sharing and having feedback and input. And now we have a sharing revolution - there is just so much out there, so much people are happy to share with others for free, that I don't think we could ever go back to the way we were before. The change has been to dramatic, too wide-reaching - our ideas have changed too much. The whole concept of Creative Commons has been born.
With my colleagues I've seen a change in the way we share our knowledge and our responsibilities as teachers. Because I never teach in isolation, but use IT to support what teachers are already doing in the classroom, we have to share in the creation, the teaching and the assessment of the learning. I don't think, after all this, that we could turn back. Yesterday, as I was mulling over what I want to do in the future (ideas of which included taking on a more active role in the library with information literacy, for example), I was asked whether I didn't want to "see through the changes I'd started". Having thought about it I realise it's not important really to do this. I don't own the process or the change. I feel the change is like a snowball rolling down the hill, getting bigger and bigger on the way. No matter what I decide to do, it's not going to stop. The transformation has happened and people are liking the difference.
Photo Credit: Paris under the snow by Gregory Bastien