Free Knowledge

A tectonic shift in learning has occurred from the simple acquisition of knowledge (now available to anyone on the planet with a Smartphone) to an emphasis of how one uses that knowledge. This implies a significant shift in the role of the teacher - from “teacher” in the traditional sense of one who has the keys to the knowledge to “learning guide,” as someone who helps facilitate the acquisition, analysis, and application of knowledge. With less need to reinvent wheels or deliver information to students in didactic ways, educators can use tools such as Open Education Resources (OERs) to find and freely share information that helps students, peers, and other stakeholders learn, grow, and innovate. Making one’s work available in such a way improves its quality as peers review and adapt it for their own needs. Moreover, the use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) and other free, web-based curricula materials, addresses the deeply rooted inequities that can undermine the access to high quality teaching materials and information in historically underfunded schools and districts, thus leveling the playing field. A culture of free knowledge also moves students from recipients of knowledge to creators of knowledge.The OWL framework encourages students to generate their own content by solving real-world problems and then sharing it with the world through the use of multimedia tools such as blogs, e-portfolios, and video conferences. Finally, a school’s technology policies can either enhance Open Way Learning or thwart it through outdated and draconian methods that create an artificial environment that is incongruent with the open sharing environment we experience in the real world. The concept of centralized knowledge has been turned on its head. Schools can either recognize and adapt to this reality or travel down a path to irrelevance.

How To Implement

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Other owl ingredients

Collaboration

Creating innovative teaching and learning environments requires an intense level of collaboration organized around a crystal clear shared vision. Radical collaboration that relies on a diverse set of perspectives and the collective creativity of the entire learning community - students and faculty - as they bring creative prototypes to bear on the often messy challenges we deal with in education. This also applies to modified governance frameworks where distributed leadership is highly encouraged by using teacher-powered schools frameworks.

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Innovation

The challenges facing our world demand innovative thinkers that use creative problem solving to tackle messy problems. But the term “innovation” has been thrown around so much that it has lost its potency. Open Way Learning focuses on true innovation that thrives in an environment of radical collaboration and open, freely exchanged ideas. It is within this environment that educators and students are able to use the Design Process to develop continuous improvement mindsets that help them solve pressing problems in their schools.

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Open Way Culture

Open Way Learning is not a methodology that tends to work with "window-dressing" changes for your classroom, school, or district. It is a fundamental shift in culture away from from the comfortable traditions that produce relatively predictable results that may be “good enough,” to a new paradigm that welcomes uncertainty, demands continuous improvement, and produces learners ready to take on the challenges in a rapidly changing world. It’s a compelling model for the pioneers ready to create change in an educational system that stubbornly resists it.

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