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Sharing . . . the Journey: A Prequel to "The World Is Open"
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I couple of months ago, I rewrote the short prequel to my book, The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education.

Sharing . . . the Journey: A Prequel to The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education

Here is the Citation to the prequal:
Bonk, C. J. (2009). Sharing…the journey: A Prequel to “The World is Open: Now WE-ALL-LEARN with Web Technology.” Updated and available:

In the article, I detail the evolution of the sharing culture in education over the past few decades. I also discuss sharing from the perspetive of different generations of learning technology. A snippet from the end of that article is below. It includes 10 ways in which you can now share. Enjoy.

It does not matter where I travel or with whom I communicate now, the stories I hear are much different and, at times, exceedingly optimistic. The seeds of sharing have successfully grown and ripened into assorted educational fruits. No longer are there mass protest rallies against online learning or the sharing of such resources and learning. Visits to various cities in Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Korea, and Canada since the end of 2006 confirmed this for me. At each stop, people asked me if it was acceptable to videostream my talks. In response, I quickly told them to podcast, videostream, Webcast, pubcast, or do whatever they wanted with it. And feel free to post my slides, my talk abstract, picture, or bio as well. All education should be shared. The more we share educational resources, the more the knowledge of this planet is opened to its learners.
So what can you share to help education around the world?

1. Mentoring: You can sign up to be an online mentor, coach, or tutor in your area of expertise. Many professional organizations today include some type of mentoring services, including engineering, teaching, business, and nursing.

2. Course Content: If in postsecondary education, you can share instructional content you have created in places such as or Connexions. If in K–12 education, perhaps contribute to or use Curriki or one of many online lesson plan sharing sites. Those in corporate, nonprofit, or government positions should talk to your training directors or chief learning officers about what sharing is possible within your organization. And informal learners and citizens of the world can create a course homepage or shell, podcast, or online instructional videos wherein they share educational ideas and experiences.

3. Join the OCW Movement: At an organizational or institu-tional level, you can share entire courses or programs in the OCW movement. Administrators need to consider putting forth proposals and strategic plans for such.

4. Guest Expert: You can be a guest expert in an online chat or Webinar. You might also podcast a lecture on a topic and place it on the Web for others to access for free, such as in iTunes. Along these same lines, you might videostream a lecture you give in a class, at a conference, or in a workshop for free distribution to the world community.

5. Collaboration: You can sign up at ePals or Keypals to engage in online collaboration with another school. You might also share cultural artifacts or lessons for such collaborative activities and events. At the corporate level, you can share software problems and solutions, new product training, and additional intellectual capital in wikis, blogs, podcasts, or other appropriate technological outlets.

6. Translator: You might volunteer to translate open educa-tional resources or OpenCourseWare in your native tongue.

7. Portals: You can create, index, or aggregate educational portals of online content. You can also market or showcase any new or consistently useful portals that you find.

8. Evaluator: You can help in the evaluation or rating of online content. You might also develop the methods and forms of evaluation to be employed.

9. Software Developer: Software developers can offer open source or introductory free versions of their software or special discounts for education.

10. Blogger: You can blog on current events in education, thereby sharing what is happening. At the same time, you can add hyperlinks within your blog, thereby stretching your post to other valuable educational resources, documents, trends, and events.

The list above is only a fraction of what is now possible. Clearly, opportunities for sharing our educational lives are exploding. This is a key part of the giving that Bill Clinton was talking about (in his book on "Giving"). Sharing education is among the most powerful acts of giving that human beings can engage in. And such educational sharing can take place in a wide variety of formats.

Sharing can be casual among friends who teach the same course and want to benefit from what each other has developed or accomplished. Such collegial sharing might involve a new instructional activity to test out, or a video you’ve just found in YouTube, CNN Video, or the BBC News and Videos. Each instance of sharing among these friends and colleagues, casual as it might be, allows for innovations, changes, and new ideas to be piloted and perhaps someday flourish in other disciplines not originally intended. Sure, instructors have always shared their resources with friends, but not at the speed or intensity possible today. Though some share educational ideas using e-mail, text messaging, and comments to online discussion forums or communities, many others now prefer their sharing to be conducted in social networking sites like MySpace, LinkedIn, Digg, Facebook, and Twitter. Still others employ free online phone services such as Skype and Google Talk.

Such sharing is often creative, spontaneous, and somewhat haphazard. As a result, it is virtually untrackable. But as evidenced by the millions of visits to these sites each day, it is happening! Sharing can also be more formally designed and documented in popular news media as in the OCW sites, or in the translations into additional languages as in the OOPS project. What institutional leaders and politicians need to figure out is how to foster and encourage both formal and informal sharing pursuits. How can they perhaps nudge them along, embed recognition for them, and celebrate their successes?

The scope of online sharing certainly varies. It can occur among just a few individuals or perhaps benefit only a single person for it to have value. At the same time, it can be used by teams, schools, local communities, countries, regions, or the world community. Sharing can be sensed in a fleeting moment in time and then dissipate. It can also be much more lasting and even viral, thereby spreading to people far beyond the originally intended audience and recurring a million times over.

The fourth generation of educational technologies has not only made sharing possible, but also highly encouraged. For millions of people spread far and wide across this lovely planet, these technologies are indispensable; this is how countless individuals today spend the learning-related aspects of their lives. Consequently, stories of sharing in education will be part of teaching and learning lore for decades to come. Teachers will continue to be givers, but everyone involved in education or training, no matter the role or capacity, will be sharers as well as sharing receivers.

There are no shortages of sharing opportunities today, nor will there be in ten, twenty, or a hundred years from now. With each passing generation, sharing will become increasingly synonymous with education, because sharing, like giving, is at the forefront of what it means to be human. Each person walking this planet will be expected to share his or her ideas, talents, expertise, wisdom, products, computing power, bandwidth, scientific discoveries, and educational materials with others using various forms of online technologies. Such is life in the twenty-first century and beyond.

As in Bill Clinton’s documentation of how giving can change the world, through sharing, anyone can make a small dent in solving educational problems and implementing progressive educational reforms. What will you share and where might your journeys in this exciting arena lead? I hope you find time to share your results.

Please let me know what transpires. I look forward to hearing about your innovative sharing pursuits.

Curtis J. Bonk
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  posted by Curt Bonk @ 10:39 PM  
  • At 11:48 AM, Blogger Kevin Brooks said…

    Thanks for sharing your ideas in Fargo ND today, Dr. Bonk. Your support of open journals, collaborating, networking provides us with a a great role-model for knowledge sharing in the 21st century.

  • At 3:48 PM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    Thanka Kevin. I had fun in Fargo.

  • At 8:42 PM, Blogger charles said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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About Me

Name: Curt Bonk
Home: Bloomington, Indiana, United States
About Me: I am a former accountant and CPA and a former educational psychologist. I am now Professor of IST at Indiana University and also adjunct in the School of Informatics. I founded and later sold SurveyShare. As president of CourseShare, LLC, I run around the world training instructors to teach online and give motivational talks about emerging learning technologies. I also write and edit books related to e-learning and blended learning. See bio and vita.

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Click here for information about my recent book, The World is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education.

Visit the Indiana University Home Page of E-Learning Expert Curtis J. Bonk.

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