Prototyping the open ed revolution

July 25, 2008 § 2 Comments

Frank Hecker has a series of posts up today on ‘Mozilla and the Future of Education’. It’s a bit of a thought experiment to imagine what Mozilla might do if it dipped it’s toe further into the education pond. The line I like most is:

Mozilla Foundation could also work with others to change the entire manner in which the next generation of software developers is educated.

That’s a great vision! Why? Because it could flow from Mozilla doing something related to its core needs (running more Mozilla developer courses) while at the same time contributing to the growth of a whole new way of working (collaborative global apprenticeship as a way to do computer studies).

This ‘solve a concrete problem -> create something more broadly and mind blowingly useful as a side effect’ itself seems part of the Mozilla DNA. The module ownership system is something that was created to meet a particular need. It’s now something that has directly and indirectly influenced how all sorts of people work well beyond the boundaries of Mozilla.

The trick is: make sure to think about both ‘what’ and ‘how’ Mozilla engages with education. The ‘what’ could be quite simple and close to home. Computer studies courses on Mozilla development, and maybe even some courses on design for open source at art colleges or the history and economics of the open internet for communications students. However, making sure that the ‘how’ is built around open, collaborative materials and pedagogy means the Mozilla is already protoyping the open education revolution as it goes about its everyday business. That would be fun.

PS. I hope this is coherent. I have a cold! 😦

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