A Free and Open Society – with openness in education and learning

This is my response to Jenny’s post on the meaning of openness in education and learning.

“What would happen if everybody gave away everything for free with no expectation of anything in return? Would it work? What would we gain by living in such a society? What would we lose?”

From Fickr

This is an utopian state where Confucius once envisaged: In such society, we will love each other – love not only our family & relatives, but also others’ family & relatives, love not only our children, but others’ children; so the elderly could be taken care of by the young ones, and the young ones would be looked after by the elderly and adults. That is the community or society created based on love and harmony, where social responsibility as a citizen and community is emphasised. That is altruism in spirit, in an ideal society.

This is also embedded in the Catholic & Christian faith and values, to love God, to love others as thyself, to serve others and not to be served, to give away our wealth to the needed (i.e. to help the poor) and follow Jesus Christ, and not to ask for rewards.

This may also be relating to the capitalist (individualist) and socialist (collectivist) values and mindset, in that accumulation of wealth is justified with capitalism and sharing of wealth is justified with socialism. 

So would it be a shift from an individualist attitude about “knowledge possession” towards a “collectivist” or socialist attitudes about “knowledge sharing” in education?

So, how graceful would it be if everybody could give away everything for free with no expectation of anything in return!

Would it work?

Yes, it would, if people in the community and society share such values and practise it in education and at work. That’s the ideal.

No, as most people are still living in a capitalist society.  That’s reality.

What would we gain?

A society with people who care and love others, bringing out the highest values of human.  People who help each others in education, and support others in liberating their potentials, and model the spirit of altruism in their daily life.

Instead of merely focusing on the development of experts, would the focus be shifted towards the development of expertise amongst community to create more social capital?

What would we lose? 

Greed, wealth (money), fame, pride, rewards, and may be personal identity, especially in a society where money and wealth could be praised as the pinnacle of ones’ fame and success. 

In a commercial world where  customers (clients, stakeholders) always come first, with severe competition in the business and education world, it is far too difficult to give everything for free, and this is undesirable from a business point of view (where profit is the focus of the business).  

Can we have everything free?

This may happen if we have more philanthropists. 

Would it still be a long journey for mankind to educate ourselves in philanthropy? 

We need more Stephen Downes and George Siemens!


Who is Data? King or Servant?

Stephen Downes The saying should be, “data is king”. Not content, not objects, not things. Because those are macro, data is micro, and hence can be remixed (Stephen’s posting on Facebook)

Here is my response:
Data is micro, and can be remixed. Agreed.

How about you (the networker & actor) as the “king”, as a “human”, as a “customer” when you are served or connected by others, as a prominent cyber citizen (for Stephen) or “node” to connect or to be connected to the other nodes (networkers, actors), artifacts or networks. You use the data as the “servant”, “remix or add value to the servant” and post them via your posts in OLDaily. Others post data/content (servants) onto their blogs, FB, or twitters, YouTube, websites, or newspapers etc. Others are connected to you via your “servants”.

Data are resided on the nodes, and could be transmitted through the connections. That’s why we have the “server” in the internet, as a connector and servant.  The server transmits and receives the data (servant) to serve you (the king).

So will data be servant, and will you (as a networker) be the king?

Judy posted here: Content used to be King – The Semantic Web in Education.

Content used to be the King, but not now.  It’s you who become the King.  You decide on the content (& data) – what you want, when you want it, how you want it, where you want it, who you want it from or with, and why you want it, when constructing and traversing the networks (internet, mobile networks, or networks of communities) in digital learning. And knowledge is distributed throughout these networks, as explained under ConnectivismData and content included in posts, news, artifacts are servants (media) that we all use.

Thanks Stephen for your thought-provoking post.


What should we do as Ning is no longer available for free?

Dear Members,

You might have noticed that Ning will no longer be providing free Ning network. See details here. As this Community has been set up on a free network basis, we would not be able to continue with the running of this Network without any further financial support. What should we do when Ning is formally closing down this free Ning likely by May 2010?

If some of you would like to continue using Ning with a premium service, then we need to get the financial support from sponsors on this Ning. I am unsure if such switching to a sponsored Ning would be beneficial to our Community as there are risks involved: (1) a loss of control over the Network as the sponsors might have conditions over how the Community needs to be run, (2) what happens if the sponsors withdraw from the financing of the Community at any time in the future, (3) what happens if the premium services provided could not meet the needs and expectations of the members, and (4) what happens if there is a requirement of payment for retaining or continuing membership with the Community.

My view is that our Network(s) need to be provided to all members for free – that means free of any entry and continuing membership charge, and that under no circumstances would members be required to pay for participating in any events, sessions or discussion offered by the Network(s).

There are many options for us as a Community to move on, and to continue our sharing and discussion using other networks. Here are a few options for us to consider:

(a) posterous

(b) webs

(c) pbworks

(d) wordpress

 (e) blogspot

 (f) edublogs

(g) facebook

(h) any other options (please state them)

We have already got this pbworks set up, so please consider joining it if you haven’t done so. Please state your option(s), and suggestions on the features that you would like to include within a particular network.

Should we retain our Community title: ConnectivismEducationLearning?

Would all members please share your views in this forum so we could make a Community decision on what we should do? I hope the decision we are going to make could satisfy all your needs and expectations.

Once we have made a decision, I would need to export the information from this Ning to the New Network.