Doc Searls on Free and Open Source in Education

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Doc Searls on Free and Open Source in Education


Summary at


"What he has seen in the FOSS communities is a do-it-yourself (DIY) attitude that he thinks is often missing from the "mill" system of education. Becoming a self-learner is at the heart of contributing to FOSS, and he thinks that sense of "self learning" is all-to-missing in schooling now, which instead frequently categorizes children based on IQ or other measures. He is particularly vocal on the issue of IQ tests, as you'll hear in the interview, because of his own personal experiences.

A few other tidbits:

  • Doc compared the software industry to the construction industry, in a way that I had not heard before. He said that the software industry has borrowed a lot of terms and phrases from construction: a web "site" is "under construction," or being "built." In fact, he thinks the parallels are significant, and that the value will be in taking cheap or free supplies (computers and software) and creating something of value for individuals or organizations.
  • Doc did surprise me when he suggested that we shouldn't have computers in the classroom until Junior High School.
  • He shot down my "American Idol" theory of businesses--at least, he made it clear that the "markets are conversations" idea that he brought out in The Cluetrain Manifesto is not reflected in American Idol. Instead, it is consumers as actual contributors that he was getting at.
  • I was very taken by his description of what he does as a blogger: he "rolls snowballs downhill." When a snowball rolls, he doesn't own or control, but he helped the idea to get into the world and got rolling and has meaning for other people. He also said, "we are all authors of each other."
  • Web 2.0, he says, is just a name that we are giving in advance to the next technology crash...
  • NEA: "N"obody owns it, "E"veryone can use it, "A"nyone can improve it. His definition of the best of the new marketplace for software."