How to Use Open Content to Make Education for Development Great
by Michael Jones, Open Equal Free
Now that we are in the 21st century, information is becoming more open, available, and easy to exchange. Even in some of the most remote and disadvantaged places on earth, wireless internet technology is bringing the world to people who may never leave their village. Today more than ever, creating educational resources that are free to access and use can change the face of development, and the world, forever.
Most educational resources available now are created with the developed world in mind. They take certain things for granted-paper, pencils, pens, crayons, the ability to make photocopies-things that you would expect to find in a classroom in the US or Europe, but not necessarily in Sudan or Laos.
Although those tools certainly make teaching and learning easier, they are not necessary to the process. Indeed, it's possible to teach engaging, highly effective classes with almost nothing at all, and we should work towards creating and sharing resources to make that possible everywhere on earth.
An important first step to making this happen is publishing educational resources that can work for developing countries under open licenses, then sharing them online. Luckily, using open licenses is not difficult (just takes a bit of willingness and copy/paste), and Open Equal Free is an organization working to make sharing educational resources for the developing world as easy and common sense as possible.
So, what can you do to help? First and foremost, if you work for an organization that develops educational resources, training guides, materials, or anything that can be shared online, share it! Great resources often get developed by organizations and then get shuffled to the side as programs and focuses change. Rather than letting them fade into obscurity on an old hard-drive, share them online and get them out there!
Licenses from creativecommons.org are a great way to quickly and easily share your work with precisely the right level of protections for you or your organization. You can choose licenses that stipulate how the work is used and whether credit has to be given to its creator, then, just copy and paste the appropriate information into the work and you're done!
Need help? That's what Open Equal Free is for! You can check out our guide on the use and creation of creative commons materials, or contact us with questions about how to best get started sharing your resources with the world! Also, if you have something to share, let us know. If it has to do with education, we likely have a home for it!
Michael Jones is the Founder and Executive Director of Open Equal Free. He has worked in education, youth empowerment, and nonprofit governance for over a decade. This work eventually led him to merge his two great loves in life, education and open content, when he founded Open Equal Free to spread the best possible education to the most difficult corners of the world as efficiently as possible.