Cape Town Open Education Declaration Now Open for Signatures

Open Education - Cape Town Declaration
As noted by David Wiley, the Cape Town Open Education Declaration was launched this week. What is open education? I’ll quote from the site:

Educators worldwide are developing a vast pool of educational resources on the Internet, open and free for all to use.

And about the declaration:

We invite learners, educators, trainers, authors, schools, colleges, universities, publishers, unions, professional societies, policymakers, governments, foundations and others who share our vision to commit to the pursuit and promotion of open education and, in particular, to these three strategies to increase the reach and impact of open educational resources:

  1. Educators and learners: First, we encourage educators and learners to actively participate in the emerging open education movement. Participating includes: creating, using, adapting and improving open educational resources; embracing educational practices built around collaboration, discovery and the creation of knowledge; and inviting peers and colleagues to get involved. Creating and using open resources should be considered integral to education and should be supported and rewarded accordingly.
  2. Open educational resources: Second, we call on educators, authors, publishers and institutions to release their resources openly. These open educational resources should be freely shared through open licences which facilitate use, revision, translation, improvement and sharing by anyone. Resources should be published in formats that facilitate both use and editing, and that accommodate a diversity of technical platforms. Whenever possible, they should also be available in formats that are accessible to people with disabilities and people who do not yet have access to the Internet.
  3. Open education policy: Third, governments, school boards, colleges and universities should make open education a high priority. Ideally, taxpayer-funded educational resources should be open educational resources. Accreditation and adoption processes should give preference to open educational resources. Educational resource repositories should actively include and highlight open educational resources within their collections.

You can read the full declaration for yourself and sign it if you wish. It means you’ll do your best to share curriculum resources and texts or media you create freely with others, and open source educational software you develop, for example.

Try to use open educational resources and software, too. For example, search for openly licensed (creative commons) pictures and audio at places like Flickr and ccMixter, search for open courses at sites like OCWfinder and OER Commons, and try open source software like the Moodle learning management system softare and R statistics software. Avoid vendor lock-in with proprietary software and over-priced educational media and texts.

The Santiago Declaration

Another declaration available for signing if you are an academic researcher in the area of psychology or education is the Santiago Declaration, led by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, John Bruer of the McDonnell Foundation, Patricia Kuhl, Susan Goldin-Meadow, and others.
This is a declaration for education in which we “urge that policies, standards, curricula, and to the extent possible, commercial ventures be based on the best scientific research and be sensitive to evidence-based practice.” Some other excerpts:

Children are active, not passive, learners who acquire knowledge by examining and exploring their environment.

Young children learn most effectively when information is embedded in meaningful contexts rather than in artificial contexts that foster rote learning. It is here where research coupling psychology with the use of emerging technologies (e.g. multimedia and virtual reality) can provide powerful educational insights.

Posted in education, opensource
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