Further Developments on the Commons Education Commons

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Report on the Side Event

Anna Betz:

In this session we explored the ‘why’. ‘what’ and ‘how’ of commons education.

This is the full report of our meeting on 22nd May in Berlin.

You can find the various issues we discussed under the following 3 main topics. If you click on the link below the topic it will take you to the conversation where we look forward to further the conversation.

1. Needs for Commons Education http://commonsandeconomics.org/groups/side-event-education-commons-22-may-1300-1630/forum/topic/what-are-the-needs-for-commons-education/

2. Educational models incl updating of content http://commonsandeconomics.org/groups/side-event-education-commons-22-may-1300-1630/forum/topic/what-educational-models-to-use-and-how-to-update-them/

3. Next action step http://commonsandeconomics.org/groups/side-event-education-commons-22-may-1300-1630/forum/topic/next-action-step/

‘Commons is our best hope for a world free from exploitation and oppression.

We get there by educating ourselves and others.

There are many needs for commons education rather than just one. We need to make these different needs explicit so that we can develop different approaches which in turn will help us to become more action ready.

Apart from having an overview of the whole commons discussion, Commons educators need to be familiar with the challenges and the specific cultural contexts of learner groups in order for the message to land and to be useful. Educators need to be able to speak from rather than about the issues/domains in order to be effective i.e business students have different learning needs and challenges than social workers or oppressed tribal people.

Putting the following questions in the centre of our circle enabled a rich and coherent conversation thanks to the skilled facilitation by George and Leo.

Group participants volunteered to be accountable for specific action points to enable the process for commons education to continue and to evolve.

You can find the various issues we discussed in the following 3 main topics

1. Needs for Commons Education

2. Educational models incl updating of content

3. Next action steps

1. What are the needs for commons education?

Our responses to these questions reflected the different areas and cultural domains that participants of this group are already active in.

Educating adult learners should come from a systemic and adult development perspective.

Education needs to be geared towards people on different levels of development and capability so that it is understood and useful for action.

Meta-systems thinking is important and that we have to be able to coordinate a lot of information in such a way that it provides understanding of the whole picture, the shift towards the commons paradigm.

We need to develop a larger strategy to address all levels.

Identified areas for commons education:

For the public at large A Basic introduction to the Commons – Commons 1.01.

This would be for people who just heard about the commons.

· Voluntary sector/community lead projects/transition movements:

Offer to reframe what they are doing and to understand it is commoning.

i.e Community garden groups and self-care learning communities; open source ecology which makes machine/hardware designs available open source to the commons; the Hacker movement; intentional and co-housing communities.

· Training Commons facilitators/animateurs who engage specifically in facilitation and in developing/incubating/building commons.

· Co-production between public sector (state) and the commons.

Commons should not put themselves in opposition to the state but demand that a partner state protects the commons. For this, education would need to be provided for public sector workers. Also policy makers would need to understand how collaboration can be mutually rewarding. This is becoming very evident in the Health & Socialcare sector.

1. Introduce a commons course to socialwork students. Community enablement & empowerment has now been identified as a need for socialworkers to initiate and support.

2. Work with policy makers. Importance of identifying actions despite having plenty of new ideas. Include an understanding of the complex systems approach in commons education.

· Introducing the idea of the commons to business schools, business executives and also social enterprises to shift their thinking.

1. MBA programs at business schools:

By the nature of their training they try to maximise their output & profitability while minimising cost. In other words they never pay the full cost of environmental pollution. Current nature of MBA education is antithetical to sustainability. If we talk about the commons then we change business processes. Every person prior to being a business person, he/she is a commoner.

2. Businesses have opportunities to redefine themselves based on the commons.

i.e. large chemical company R & D tends to enclose the commons by patenting everything – as a result of this, maybe we need a different business model, where our core research is part of the commons and money is made elsewhere. The idea of the commons can shift the thinking of business schools and executives.

3. There is an explosion of entrepreneurial activity in social production (sharing economy, collaborative value creation,). How do these people get education that they are part of a commons? Education could help to imagine new models of social enterprises

· Working with indigenous cultures. Emphasise the importance of including the gender perspective in the planning of education. Also the ability to analyse policy as well as documenting and validating the lived experience of those who struggle.

Western-style Education itself that gets young people ready for the competitive market economy is a problem. In India and other more traditional cultures people are loosing a natural sharing economy .

· The education system itself.

How can we conceive an educational system that needs to be based on uncertainty? How can we offer exposure to work with commoning?

2. What kind of education models do we need?

What kind of education is needed to maximise our resources?

How would we use these resources?

Classification of different educational models and contexts:

1. formal classroom context, virtual context,

2. Designing learning for specialised communities

3. Community lead learning, informal and conversational where the community is the curriculum without having a set curriculum or teacher but some learning facilitators. This model would be in service to the emerging learning need of the community. Facilitators would provide pointers to the right place where learners can find a resource to help understand certain aspects of the commons.

Questions of learners would help make learning happen, through making connections and identifying patterns that connect new possibilities for everyone.

· Educational principles:

· Learning by doing: document what you or your circle is doing and pass it on, share it, cross pollinate and learn with others.

Big picture days.

Learning circles.

· Include in the design of the course, how to expand the use and the field

· Putting emphasis more on relationships than on products.

· Get rid of the “We Know” attitude!

· Clarify how different groups can be served by the commons.

· Role of teachers/facilitators/learners …

· How does commoning experience get shared?

· Inventory of resources in public domain. Well organised with annotations, tagging to make them useful.

· Currently available modules/content: 4 modules of UNITAR course:

  1. Defining the Global Commons
  2. The Value Proposition of the Commons
  3. What is at Stake?
  4. Enclosures/Commons-Based Strategies or social design in which you can add a commons module.

Clarification on how content of commons education would be continually updated is needed.

· Funding options:

i.e adopt collaborative economy principles, crowdfunding.

Figure out how to introduce commons education to universities. Universities could help develop and expand this knowledge by becoming platforms and providing funding.

Moneyba model: Get paid for learning and accept duty to train others

3. Next action steps:

· Develop open remixable content on health commons.

Develop art of mapping commons for a new community (George)

· Make the inventory list more usable- with tags and keywords (Anna)

· Making the UNITAR course available free of charge (this summer) (Leo)

· 3 online track commons/monetary system/collaborative business model free of charge (articles and video clips)

· 2 pages on complex systems approach (Alain)

Short inventory from public domain:

onthecommons.org - could be interested in developing more

schoolofcommoning.com - 50 hours of videoclips from events organized around the commons (doesn’t mean it nots really accessible)

School of Commoning U-tube channel; http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=SCHOOL+OF+COMMONING

UNITAR course: Introduction to the commons

Global Commons Trust; http://globalcommonstrust.org/

Global Ecovillage Network; http://gen.ecovillage.org/

http://www.IC.org (intentional community in USA)

http://www.cohousing.org (middle range between extremes)

P2P foundation wiki; http://p2pfoundation.net/

Appropedia; http://www.appropedia.org/Welcome_to_Appropedia

Remix the Commons; http://www.remixthecommons.org/en/


David Bollier website, http://www.bollier.org/; http://bollier.org/blog/6

Kosmos Journal; http://www.kosmosjournal.org/

The Commoner online journal; http://commoning.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/the-commoner-call-for-contributions-property-commoning-and-commons/

Yes magazine; http://www.yesmagazine.org/

Making Worlds; http://www.makingworlds.org/


Fastcompany.org (magazine)


Escuela de commons; http://p2pfoundation.net/Escuela_de_Commons

http://thinkcommons.org/ Ambient Intelligence Network in spanish language

Brief history of the commons – book by David Bollier – 100 pages – coming soon online

Directory of Postings June 8, 2013

Available via [1]

  1. Education Commons Side Event Report & Action Points
  2. Next action step
  3. What educational models to use and how to update them
  4. What are the needs for commons education?
  5. Take a Survey about Commons Education
  6. Open Data for "commons-related education"?