Some people believe that nothing should be free. The idea of open-source challenges this doctrine. eLearning grows in popularity and makes it easier for everyone to access the necessary resources and to share information. There are lots of open-source software, media content, and educational materials that are appreciated by teachers from all around the globe. Writers-House team is here to explain you the benefits of open-source for education.
Open-Source: What Is It?
The term “open-source” is quite popular, however, it’s often used in different situations. Usually, this term is used when referring to the Creative Commons license. The open-source content should meet certain requirements. For example, it shouldn’t have a particular creator. It should be also free so that everyone can distribute it.
A good example of the open-source content is Wikipedia. There are millions of authors who have contributed to Wikipedia, and everyone can access it for free. Thus, this website meets both requirements.
Creating and distributing the open-source content becomes possible only if there is an effective system of communication. It’s hard to imagine the open-source content existing, say, 40 years ago. Thanks to the internet, open sources grow and evolve. Educators from all over the world can effectively communicate. In addition, eLearning gives even more opportunities for everyone to get the necessary knowledge on any topic.
Addressing the Education Gap
There are many open-source resources created especially for trainers and teachers. Educators who don’t use the opportunities of open-source materials often have to waste their time doing a job that has already been done by others.
The practice of open education not only changes the way we think about content but also creates a completely new experience for teachers who can collaborate and improve their methods. Open education resources allow teachers to become content creators, curriculum designers, and curators. When teachers share their methods and tools, the overall quality of education improves significantly.
There are many reasons why open resources become more and more popular. First, There are many schools that cannot afford other sources. Open sources are their only solution. Inequality in educational opportunities is apparent even in the US, while there are much worse situations in many other countries around the world. Many schools have to use outdated materials because they cannot buy the new ones.
The education gap is to a large extent determined by low-quality teaching materials and poorly trained teachers. This problem can be tackled thanks to free resources which are easy to access and modify.
How Does Open-Source Change Education?
Open resources fulfill the teachers’ need for support and training and also cause a strong impact on students. A good example of such an impact is open-source software.
Software usually consists of two levels: a front-end level, which is responsible for what users see, and a back-end level that determines how the deep mechanisms of the software work. Most often, when using commercial programs, users cannot see anything but the interface.
The open-source software is completely different because it encourages everyone to take a look at the code and change it as they want. People who study programming get a great opportunity to master their skills working with the open-source software.
During the last few years, students have created numerous open-source initiatives focused on a range of different issues, from the history of culture to oceanological studies. Now students are not limited to their classroom, they can communicate with scientists and students from all over the world and contribute to global projects. Thus, open-source also helps students see how can they make a real impact on the world we’re living in.