The open education community I run with is filled with the kind of people who think words really matter. For a while now we’ve been debating what to call the things we care about and do: open practices, open resources, open pedagogy, open licensing, open this, open that. Our debate is hot enough to make some people turn away and others dig in. But when words matter this much it signals real tensions in beliefs, priorities, territories and relationships.
Today folks are gathered at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mother of All Demos (“MOAD”). Held in 1968 in San Francisco’s Civic Auditorium, SRI’s Douglas Engelbart and others demonstrated networked computer systems they were developing, including the mouse, hypertext, and real-time collaborative editing. The MOAD has become a notorious event in computer and internet history, both presaging and shaping the digital technology environment we live in now.
A chance encounter led me to want to post about my evolving views on education as essential public infrastructure. Thanks to a tweet by Sara Goldrick-Rab, I was led to an article by someone I’d never read, Corey DeAngelis, Policy Analyst at the Cato Institute: “Is Public Schooling a Public Good? An Analysis of Schooling Externalities”. If I were not already thinking about education as public infrastructure, I probably would have walked away from this article given all its issues (which I’ll end up addressing, like it or not) and the futility of engaging such polemical works. Yet so much sprang out of my reading of DeAngelis and the other works it led me to that I feel compelled to write, if only to set out some thinking on education as public infrastructure to build on later.
Nate Angell will attend IndieWeb Summit 2018
As I haven’t drafted any content yet, so far this post just displays the references and notes I’ve already collected.
This post involves a bit of Frankenstein thinking, because two — seemingly unrelated — posts I came across recently made connections for me. Let’s see if I can explain why I think they’re connected. TL;DR: While I have gigantic respect for both authors of these posts, I think both ask us to view things too generally, without paying attention to details that matter.