School of Open

Open curriculum alternatives to MPAA’s new anti-piracy campaign for kids

Jane Park, September 25th, 2013


Adventures in copyright / opensourceway / CC BY-SA

It has come to our attention that the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, and top internet service providers are drafting curriculum to teach kids in California elementary schools that copying is wrong, or as Wired.com puts it, “Downloading is Mean!”

This message is way too simple. In this digital age, the most important thing we should be teaching kids is to be creative and take full advantage of all the web has to offer. Copyright, asking permission, open licensing, and all the other legal nuances, should be seen as secondary (and even complementary) to this purpose. We should be starting with the things kids can do versus what they can’t do.

In addition to the campaign’s overly simple and negative approach, other issues include the complete absence of fair use from the curriculum — exceptions and limitations to copyright that allow various uses of copyrighted materials for educational, journalistic and other purposes. Wired.com reports, “Its president, Marsali Hancock, says fair use is not a part of the teaching material because K-6 graders don’t have the ability to grasp it.”

Assuming the net generation and their younger counterparts are as dumb as assumed in the above statement, the curriculum still leaves out a crucial and growing part of the Internet landscape — the commons of free and open materials in the public domain and/or released under open licenses that actually encourage copying, redistribution, revision, and remix! In short, everything this simplified anti-piracy campaign is conveniently leaving out in its copyright curriculum for kids.

There is a more balanced approach to educating kids about copyright that includes the alternatives, and here are some organizations and experienced educators who have developed copyright curricula. The following list of resources are open educational resources (OER), licensed under a CC license that enables free and legal reuse, redistribution and remix. In short, stuff that is free and just fine and even great to copy!

Copyright curriculum for kids

Common Sense Media’s K-12 Digital Literacy & Citizenship Curriculum

Common Sense Media has developed a comprehensive K-12 Digital Literacy & Citizenship Curriculum for educators to use in their classrooms. Part of the curriculum focuses on Creative Credit & Copyright, which you can navigate easily via their Scope & Sequence tool. The resources are aligned to Common Core standards and licensed under CC BY-NC-SA.

New Media Rights Copyright FAQ Videos

New Media Rights has developed a series of short Copyright FAQ YouTube videos (because what better way to interact with youth but through YouTube?) answering common questions about copyright and the public domain. These videos are drafted by lawyers and read by students and are licensed under CC BY.

Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Teaching Copyright Curriculum

EFF developed this copyright curriculum for teachers to use in the classroom several years ago to counter campaigns like the one above, proving that topics like fair use can be taught! Teachingcopyright.org is available under CC BY.

Australia’s Smartcopying Guide for Schools and Interactive Resource for Kids

Australia has an official website for its schools regarding copyright for educators and students. However, this website, called Smartcopying, doesn’t just cover Australian copyright law — it also covers open educational resources and Creative Commons licenses. It’s quite the comprehensive resource with lesson plans, info sheets, videos, and more, and is licensed under CC BY-SA. This includes All Right to Copy, an interactive web activity “designed to teach students about copyright, and how it impacts them as both users and creators.” These resources are useful even if you’re not Australian, so check it out at http://www.smartcopying.edu.au/ and navigate using the horizontal menu to the topic of your choice.

National Library of New Zealand’s Free to Mix Guide for Educators

The National Library of New Zealand takes a different approach to copyright education; instead of focusing on what students can’t do, it focuses on what teachers and students can do with its Free to Mix guide. The guide was popular enough to spin off its own remix by CC New Zealand (pdf) with beautifully done graphics. Both versions are licensed under CC BY.

Shared Creations: Making Use of Creative Commons

Emily Puckett Rogers and Kristin Fontichiaro with the University of Michigan created this short and colorful lesson plan book for elementary school teachers that covers copyright, the public domain (even trademarks and patents!), and Creative Commons. This book is short and sweet with age-appropriate activities (that are even fun for adults). You can browse the book for free online or purchase a hard copy at the publisher’s website. The book is licensed CC BY-NC-SA.

School of Open’s Copyright 4 Educators

The School of Open, a community of volunteers around the world providing free education opportunities on the meaning and impact of openness in the digital age, offers an online course called Copyright 4 Educators. While this course (offered as adapted to both US and AUS law, but open to anyone) is primarily designed for educators and not kids, teachers can take what they’ve learned and then relay it to their students. The School of Open also offers more kid-friendly resources such as Get CC Savvy, Teach someone something with open content, and numerous lesson plans and activities integrated in CC for K-12 Educators. All School of Open courses on the P2PU platform are licensed under CC BY-SA; others hosted elsewhere may be licensed under CC BY.

This list is not exhaustive; if you know of other copyright education resources, please share them below! And if you would like to contribute to providing free copyright, OER, or CC education opportunities for kids (or adults), please join the School of Open community in its efforts! Visit http://schoolofopen.org/ to get started.

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Join School of Open, OKFN, and FLOSS for an evening in London

Jane Park, September 25th, 2013

Join us for a fun evening event on 24 October in London! The School of Open community along with members of the Open Knowledge Foundation and FLOSS Manuals Foundation is holding a meetup at the Large Common Room in the William Goodenough House (yes, that’s a real name!). Details at the Eventbrite and below.

Sport (?) 1911 (LOC)
Sport (?) 1911 (LOC) / Bain News Service,, publisher / No known copyright restrictions

Hit the Road Map: A Human Timeline of the Open Education Space

Join the School of Open (Creative Commons & P2PU), the Open Knowledge Foundation, and FLOSS Manuals Foundation for a fun evening to connect with your peers in the open education space! So many efforts exist to “open” up education around the world. How can we help connect these efforts? We’d like to start by collaboratively building a human timeline of open education — Do you remember when and where you first became aware of open education? When did you first become passionate about “open” or participate in an “open” event or job? Where and what was it? What else in this area has most inspired you? We will share experiences and manually place ourselves along a real world timeline (think rolls of butcher paper, markers, glitter is optional). Then we’ll start fleshing out the timeline with key events and persons that we think brought the open education and knowledge movement to where it is today. We’ll stop whenever we get tired, make merry with refreshments and snacks, and digitize whatever we have by the end of the evening for further contributions from everyone and anyone on the web. We’ll make the resulting timeline available openly (either via CC0, CC BY, or CC BY-SA), and feature it in a chapter of the Open Education Handbook!

Due to the awesome, but limited space, this event will be first come, first serve, capping registrations at 30 participants. Please update your registration if you cannot make it to make room for those on the waiting list!

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New CC Kenya Hosts CC Salon in Sub-Sahara Africa

Jessica Coates, September 16th, 2013

Mt. Kenya
Mt. Kenya / Chris 73 / CC BY-SA

Guest post by Elizabeth Kiragu Wanjugu and Tobias Schonwetter

As we were busy getting ready for our community Global Summit a few weeks ago, we nearly missed the announcement of another very important addition to that community – our new CC Kenya affiliate.

Our new Kenyan team is based around two Nairobi-based affiliate institutions: Strathmore University‘s Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT) and the National Council for Law Reports (NCLR). CIPIT – led by Dr. Isaac Rutenberg – is Kenya’s Public Lead, while the NCLR – led by Michael Murungi – serves as CC Kenya’s Legal Lead institution.

CC Kenya Logo

The Kenyan team is supported by a large existing CC community in the country, which has been active for quite some time. Unsurprisingly, therefore, a number of projects and activities are already under way. The NCLR’s Kenya Law Report already uses CC’s Public Domain Mark for its content, the team has been a major contributor to bringing the School of Open to the region, and there is an exciting initiative to translate some of CC’s licence tools into Kiswahili. According to the new team, Kenya’s thriving cultural industry requires access to shareable resources that facilitate remixing, and CC Kenya also strives to support newly realisable democratic freedoms by enabling widespread access to knowledge and information. CC Kenya makes East Africa now one of the most active regions for CC in Africa with affiliate teams in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.

One of the first major activities of the new team, even before they had formally launched, was Kenya’s inaugural Creative Commons Salon. Held on 6 June, 2013 at Nairobi’s iHub and themed, “using technology as a democratizing tool, especially one that will level the playing field for education and opportunity in Kenya,” the event drew approximately 50 participants from different backgrounds.

Organised by Akili Dada in partnership with newly established team, the Center for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT) and Jamlab.

Akili Dada is a leadership incubator investing in high-achieving young African women from underprivileged backgrounds who are passionate about social change. CIPIT is CC Kenya’s Public Lead while Jamlab drives the School of Open in Kenya.

In her opening remarks Allison Domicone, Akili Dada’s Director of Development (and who incidentally ran CC Salons from late 2008 through early 2011 and helped grow them significantly while working with Creative Commons in San Francisco, California) welcomed the attendees then asked Alex Gakuru, Creative Commons Africa Regional Coordinator, to say a few words.

Expressing optimism for continued growth, Alex reflected on the positive reception thus far accorded to Creative Commons in Kenya and across Africa.

The panelists comprised Michael Muringi, CEO/Editor National Council for Law Reports; CC Kenya Legal Lead, Judith Owigar, President of Akirachix; Paul Kihwelo, Public Lead of Creative Commons Tanzania; and Simeon Oriko, Co-Founder of Jamlab. Akili Dada founder Wanjiru Kamau Rutenberg moderated the session.

Discussions on how technology can be harnessed as democratizing tool delved into how it can be made more accessible to all people with a special attention to girls and women given local statistics that they constitute only 15 percent of a technology field dominated by men. Discussion around access was extended to include access to online resources, empowering instruments and digital tools such as the mobile phone.

Discussants established among major barriers to access included: Inequitable financial access; Lack of knowledge; Absent or unpredictable electricity; Resultant societal stereotyping; to name but just a few. Probing, “What exactly is a level playing field?” was asked at the question session, with panelists responding as follows:

Jamlab – “A level playing field enables a person to achieve goals that s/he has set for own self.”

Creative Commons Tanzania – “A level playing field is where a person can have a balance between retaining ownership and encouraging open access to shared creative works.”

National Council for Law Reporting – “A level playing field is where any citizen gains access to justice without having to relying on costly representation through legal intermediaries.”

Akirachix – “A level playing field is where information is provided to enable girls to make informed career choices.”

Noted challenges included socialization in technology that favoured men over women, parents preferring to take the girl child to secretarial colleges to study languages and at best computer packages rather than encouraging them to venture into computer programming/coding and website development.

“Fortunately, the challenge is slowly being conquered by educating parents on importance of technology to the economy,” said Judith Owigar.

In Tanzania, librarians are championing the cause of Open Educational Resources (OER) due to their background and understanding of the importance of equitable access to knowledge.

Thereafter, the moderator invited audience participation with a reaction that children between 3 and 7 years were most impressionable urging stakeholders to focus their girlhood education and empowerment efforts on that age group.

Responding, Simeon Oriko said at that age the children were best under their parents care learning everything from parents. Jamlab chose to target high school students where youth peer influence, including what they see on social media, have the most impact on their adult character.

Professor Suki Mwendwa cautioned that technology, per se, should not be viewed as the solution to all access problems:

“Reading should be encouraged and technology used as a tool to increase access to knowledge. Technology having a seductive nature should also be regulated at home so that the children can be well rounded.”

The event ended with the moderator narrating inspiring stories of successful women providing role models for the younger generation — and encouraging others to do the same. She called upon more women to step forward to rally behind a solid community of mentors to change the world as we know it today.

It was a very informative interaction and well acknowledged. The audience later engaged and networked while enjoying the refreshments and food courtesy of NCLR sponsorship.

I thank Akili Dada, Creative Commons, Akirachix and Jamlab for taking the time to collect and relay information on matters of access and also women in technology. We look forward to the next CC Salon, perhaps in Tanzania, considering that CC Tanzania expressed their interest in replicating the event back home.

Correction: The original article incorrectly listed Kenya’s Salon as the first CC Salon held in Sub-Sahara Africa. The first was actually held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August 2006.

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News from CC China: eXtreme Learning Process

Elliot Harmon, August 16th, 2013

Earlier this year, CC China Mainland volunteers helped organize an educational event to promote open licensing. The CC China Mainland team recaps the event in this guest blog post, which originally appeared on the CC China Mainland blog.

CC China Mainland volunteers recently helped organize the Trans-disciplinary System Integration Design Challenge, a program of the eXtreme Learning Process (XLP) initiative at Tsinghua University. Volunteers designed IP rules for the course, educated participants about Creative Commons, and handed out the Spirit of CC Award during the closing ceremony of the course.

Students and teachers of the XLP course with musician Yibing Zhu
Students and teachers of the XLP course with musician Yibing Zhu (Cheng Hu / CC BY)

The Trans-disciplinary System Integration Design Challenge lasted for four days at the Fundamental Industry Training Center’s Electromechanical Innovation Lab. The course attracted 126 participants from Tsinghua University, Renmin University, Huazhong University of Science & Technology, and Beijing Jiaotong University, including undergraduates, Master’s candidates, and Ph.D. candidates. Participants were divided into “Challengers” and “Actors.” The 51 students and teachers who comprised the Challengers helped design the scenarios and problems, while 75 students made up the Actors, who were divided into eight groups to carry out the tasks and find solutions to the problems.

CC volunteer Zhaowen Wang kept track of the open-source technology released under CC licenses by each team.

CC volunteer Zhaowen Wang kept track of the open-source technology released under CC licenses by each team. (Cheng Hu / CC BY)

Here’s the challenge: “A plate shifting in South China Sea was caused by a sudden earthquake. As a consequence, a new unmanned island, A, appeared. Your task is to win the offer from the venture capitalist to exploit it into an offshore oil city by building a material delivery system and writing a business plan.”

The teams had 80 hours to complete the challenge. In the course, students are required to work on their own to learn certain technologies, such as the programming software NXT, the project management tool Projectlibre, and so on. Having managed that hardware and software, students were able to build an automatic material delivery system and make virtual functions perform in the sand plate. The course not only trained the problem-solving skill of the students, but also innovative thinking, teamwork, dynamic project control, and time management. This course was covered by Xinhua News Agency, China News Agency, People’s Daily, Beijing Evening News and many other news agencies.

In order to assure the technology development process to flow in orderliness and openness, CC volunteers designed the IP rules for this course, by integrating real-life IP law and regulations with the scenarios of the course. In the copyright rules, students were directed on how to claim their copyright in their slides, photos, and business plans, as well as to effectively share their works by using CC licenses.

CC volunteers issue the Spirit of CC Award to the most open and creative team.

CC volunteers issue the Spirit of CC Award to the most open and creative team. (Han Jin / CC BY)

The patent and open source rules instructed the students on how to apply and exploit patents, and how to make their technical solutions open source technology and cooperate with other developers by using CC licenses. CC volunteers served as officials in XLP Patent Office and judges in XLP Court to make the course more real and competitive. With the help of CC volunteers, four contracts of technology cooperation were signed, the students learned the concept and benefit of sharing directly, and they accomplished their work with much more efficiency using CC licenses.

On the last afternoon of the course, all eight groups carried out their automatic material delivery systems on the sand plate and performed a virtual commercial bid. Students labeled their works with CC marks and published their business plans and videos using CC licenses, as they hoped their works can be delivered further and give inspiration to people who are also fascinated by extreme learning. During the following ceremony, CC volunteers handed out the Spirit of CC Award and CC souvenirs to the most open and creative team. Members of the team expressed their delight of receiving the award, and wished CC would make a bigger difference in open-source technology.

The Trans-disciplinary System Integration Design Challenge found a new path to attenuate the limits of teaching-learning roles, space and time. The novel way in which the course was taught aroused students’ interest and motivation. The role of CC is crucial and inspiring for learners to explore a far more efficient and cooperative world.

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School of Open, Round 2: Courses open for sign-up

Jane Park, July 22nd, 2013

Miss Boyer's Kindergarten Class, 1917
Miss Boyer’s Kindergarten Class, 1917 / UA Archives | Upper Arlington History / No known copyright restrictions

The School of Open is offering its second round of facilitated courses! Starting today, you can sign up for 7 courses during a two week period; sign-up closes 4 August (Sunday) and courses start on or after 5 August (Monday). All courses are free to take and open to reuse under the CC BY-SA license.

The School of Open is a community of volunteers from around the world passionate about peer learning, openness, and the intersection of the two. These volunteers helped launch the School of Open in March. And now they invite you to join them in the following courses.

To sign up for any of these courses, simply go to the course page and click ‘Start Course’ under its left Navigation column.*

    1. Copyright 4 Educators (AUS) (7 weeks) – This course is open to anyone in the world, but will focus on Australian copyright law as pertains to education. This course will equip Australian educators with the copyright knowledge to confidently use copyright material in the classroom. It will also introduce OER and teach you how to find and adapt free, useful resources for your classes. Facilitators: Delia Browne and Jessica Smith

    2. Copyright 4 Educators (US) (6 weeks) – This course is open to anyone in the world, but will focus on US copyright law as pertains to education. The course is taught around practical case scenarios faced by teachers when using copyright material in their day-to-day teaching. Facilitator: Laura Quilter

    3. Creative Commons for K-12 Educators (7 weeks) – This course will help K-12 educators find and adapt free, useful resources for their classes. It will also help them incorporate activities that teach their students digital world skills — such as finding, remixing, and sharing digital media and materials on the web. Facilitator: Jane Park

    4. Designing Collaborative Workshops (4 weeks) – This course brings together case studies of some great collaborative workshops that have been run in the past with an open invitation for you to share your own experiences with either running or participating in a workshop that worked well (or didn’t). Facilitators: Mick Fuzz and Jane Park

    5. Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and Beyond (6 weeks) – If you can read Wikipedia, you can learn to build it! In this course, you will learn about the software, the rules, and the cultural values that drive and support this ubiquitous and community-built online encyclopedia. It will focus on articles about openness in education. Facilitators: Pete Forsyth and Sara Frank Bristow *This course runs on Wikipedia; follow instructions to sign up at the course page

    6. Open Science: An Introduction (4 weeks) – This course is a collaborative learning environment meant to introduce the idea of Open Science to young scientists, academics, and makers of all kinds. Facilitator: Billy Meinke

    7. Why Open? (4 weeks) – This course will facilitate discussion on the different meanings of openness, how openness applies to different domains, as well as participants’ views of what it means to do things openly. Participants will engage in open activities, and examine the benefits and potential issues with openness. Facilitators: Christina Hendricks, Simeon Oriko, Jeanette Lee, Pete Forsyth, and Jane Park

Too busy to take a course this time around? Don’t worry, we’re around for a while. Sign up to be notified when we launch our next round of facilitated courses, or take a stand-alone course at your own pace, at anytime.

Don’t see a course you want to take but are full of good ideas? Help us build the courses you want to see with others. Join the School of Open discussion list and introduce yourself and your “open” interest.

Forward this to your friends

Want to take a course with your friends? Do these 3 things and call it a day.

      1. Tweet this:

      Open for sign-up: free facilitated #schoolofopen courses on #OER #openscience #wikipedia #copyright #whyopen http://creativecommons.org/?p=39060

      2. Blog/forward this:

      School of Open, Round 2 is open for sign-up! Take a free, facilitated online course on open science, collaborative workshop design, open educational resources, copyright for educators, Wikipedia, CC licenses, why open? — and more! at http://schoolofopen.org/. Take this course with me: [link to course of your choice here]. Read more about the launch at http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/39060.

      3. Print out a copy of this pdf and pin it to the bulletin board at your work, school, or local coffee shop.

What is the School of Open?

school of open logo

School of Open
http://schoolofopen.org/
The School of Open is a community of volunteers focused on providing free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, research, and more. Volunteers develop and run online courses and offline workshops on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU, an active peer learning platform and community for developing and running free online courses.


School of Open logo incorporates “Unlock” icon from The Noun Project collection under CC BY.

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Free Wikipedia course offered through the School of Open

Jane Park, May 6th, 2013

Have you ever looked at an article on Wikipedia and thought, “this could really use some work”? With the free online course “Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and Beyond,” offered through the School of Open, you have the opportunity to take the next step.

In the course, you will learn about both the technical and social underpinnings of this worldwide, volunteer-built resource, and how you can most effectively contribute to its vision to freely share knowledge. The six-week course will start its second round on 14 May (for those in the Americas) or 15 May (Asia/Australia).* Sign up here.

Sara_and_Pete%2C_Communicate_OER
Sara and Pete, Communicate OER / Pete Forsyth / CC BY

While the course is free and open to everyone, it focuses on the topic of open educational resources (OER), and students work to improve relevant Wikipedia articles as part of their coursework. The first round of the course concluded last week. The course organizers, Pete Forsyth and Sara Frank Bristow of Communicate OER, had so much fun that they are diving right back in to facilitate a second round. Pete says,

“We learned a great deal in our first run: we were surprised by how few of our students knew about OER, but also how fully they embraced the topic. We hope you will agree, their efforts to improve the OER article have been successful: while there will always be room for improvement, today’s version of the article is much improved from the version prior to the start of our class.”

Several members of the CC community were proud to support this effort. In the first round, CC CEO Cathy Casserly participated in a panel discussion and CC Senior Project Manager Paul Stacey provided a review of the OER article around which the course participants shaped their improvements.

Creative Commons encourages you to take advantage of this opportunity to contribute to the world’s understanding of open educational resources and the open licenses that make them possible. Sign up for the upcoming course today. You can also participate in a future course or engage in other ways by reaching out to the course organizers at the same link.

If you would like to be notified when other “open” courses launch their second rounds, make sure you’re subscribed to the School of Open announcements list.

*If you’re in Europe or Africa, the synchronous course sessions will be in the middle of the night. You are welcome to enroll and watch the archived sessions each week; join the third round of the course, expected to launch in July; or watch for the self-paced version of the course, to be announced in early June.

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Help Build the School of Open in German

John Weitzmann, March 20th, 2013

On the first weekend of March, Wikimedia Germany and CC Germany hosted a workshop around the School of Open’s official launch. Attending were professionals and enthusiasts from various fields, some lawyers but mostly teachers and education managers as well as activists of the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Internet & Society Co:llaboratory in Berlin.

School-Of-Open-Workshop WMDE
School Of Open Workshop WMDE / Elly Köpf / CC BY-SA

After a quick introduction, we checked out the existing School of Open course program and all features of the P2PU user interface. The mission then was to get a first set of courses in German off the ground by either translating existing courses and/or developing new ones — and that’s what we did:

Work on three courses began, partly translating the content, partly enhancing it. One course was envisioned from scratch, aiming at giving educators an idea of how OER work, why they matter and how. Here are the courses that are in development:

  • Bilder auf Wikimedia Commons hochladen – In diesem Kurs kannst du lernen, wie einfach es ist, Inhalte auf Wikimedia Commons hochzuladen und damit die große Datenbank freier Bilder weiter zu ergänzen.
    English translation: Upload images to Wikimedia Commons – In this course you will learn how easy it is to upload content on Wikimedia Commons, and thus complement the large database of free images.
  • Wie erstelle ich einen Kurs auf P2PU?- Du möchtest einen Kurs anlegen und mit anderen dein Wissen teilen? Hier findest du in wenigen Schritten eine Anleitung.
    English translation: How to create a course on P2PU – You want to create a course and share your knowledge? Here you can find a tutorial in a few steps.
  • Freie Lernmaterialien in der Schule – OER für Lehrkräfte – Mit diesem Kurs lernen Sie die Bedeutung von Open Educational Resources, kurz OER, den freien Lehr- und Lernmaterialien, kennen.
    English translation: Free learning materials in schools – OER for teachers – This course will teach you the importance of open educational resources (OER) and the freedom of teaching and learning materials.

At the end of the day, a start had been made and the participants collected a lot of ideas about how to improve and develop the School of Open program. A network began to emerge of interested experts and enthusiasts, many of whom will join the School of Open discussion list (Google Group) in order to get involved.

If you would like to help us develop the courses above, or create new ones in German, please email legal@creativecommons.de or join the School of Open discussion list and introduce yourself and your interest!

For the German summary of the event, see the Wikimedia Germany blog.

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School of Open Kenya Initiative

Kasyoka Mutunga, March 19th, 2013

This is a guest post by Kasyoka Mutunga, Precious Blood Secondary School Alumna and Executive Director of Jamlab, a community of former high school students providing peer mentorship, learning through the use of open educational resources, and using the Internet to objectively achieve their goals and actualize their ideas — while actively solving issues in their communities. Kasyoka is leading the School of Open Kenya Initiative as part of the volunteer CC Kenya community.

Young girls are teamed up in the heart of Nairobi. They are as hyperactive as any teenager would be. They have their aspirations, their goals, and their fears. From their chatter, they are afraid of the same things as I was. They are afraid of the upcoming exams, they are afraid to stay out late, they are afraid to miss the tickets to the upcoming concert, they are afraid that the pizza I ordered will be less than what they can enjoy, they are even afraid that their boyfriends are seeing other girls. However, today, sitting here I realize that there is one a major fear sparking off.

School of Open at the Precious Blood School
School of Open at the Precious Blood School / jamlab / CC BY-NC-SA

Two weeks before, Jamlab rolled out to introduce School of Open ideals to young girls in the Precious Blood School. The response was overwhelming. The girls came out in huge numbers. We cheerfully introduced Creative Commons to them. It was so intriguing that they went out and scavenged the rest of the Internet world for themselves. Soon, we were discussing the value of open in a world where “withheld” is what feels secure. We had to see the James Boyle video to understand exactly what we were all so afraid of when the concept of “Open” initially repelled us. The Initiative was at the end of that week launched formally at the School by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Information and Communications, Dr Bitange Ndemo.


Students at Precious Blood School
jamlab / CC BY-NC-SA

Dr Bitange Ndemo
Dr Bitange Ndemo
jamlab / CC BY-NC-SA

Two weeks later, we sat in a balcony to proactively decide what the students would do with the knowledge they had acquired. They wanted to start companies, they wanted to build organizations, they wanted to make solar panels for their communities, and maybe even create a library system. They had all these ambitions building gradually in them and now maybe, they had the hope of actualizing them irrespective of their age or background. “You know…” I heard one say, “Big people everywhere are fighting for the Internet to remain open and accessible as it was set out to be. We have joined that fight… because for us, we are fighting for a life we can better!” There were giggles and murmurs but those words have stuck with me since.

Making CC videos
Making CC videos / jamlab / CC BY-NC-SA

Finally, we decided on the project to take on together. It was something that resonated with everyone present. Today, they are bundled up behind cameras, behind computers and on the Internet, on YouTube actually. They are working on releasing short videos of their teachers teaching various subjects, licensing them under Creative Commons, and uploading them to YouTube. They are doing this for the thousands of young people who don’t get a chance to go to high school in Kenya.

Looking at their determination, I know that their major fear is that the world will leave them behind… that at the end of their time, they will simply have existed. I am excited about the videos and will send a link as soon as the girls learn how to edit them. However, I know that they ought not be afraid. Creative Commons has given them a reason to be extraordinary… and a reason to make others extraordinary too.

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Welcome to the School of Open, Class of 2013

Jane Park, March 12th, 2013

Happy Open Education Week! We are happy to announce that the School of Open community has launched its first set of courses


The Library of Congress / No known copyright restrictions

Sign up for these facilitated courses

this week (sign-up will remain open through Sunday, March 17). These courses will start the week of March 18 (next week!). To sign up, simply click the “Start Course” button under the course’s menu navigation on the left.

  • Copyright 4 Educators (US)Sign up if you’re an educator who wants to learn about US copyright law in the education context.
  • Copyright 4 Educators (AUS)Sign up if you’re an educator who wants to learn about Australian copyright, statutory licenses and open educational resources (OER).
  • Creative Commons for K-12 EducatorsSign up if you’re a K-12 educator (anywhere in the world) who wants to learn how to find and adapt free, useful resources for your classroom, and incorporate activities that teach your students digital world skills.
  • Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and BeyondSign up if you want to learn how to edit Wikipedia or improve your editing skills — especially if you are interested in and knowledgeable about open educational resources (OER) (however, no background in this area is required).

All other courses are now ready for you to take

at any time, with or without your peers. They include:

  • Get a CC license. Put it on your website – This course is exactly what the title says: it will help you with the steps of getting a CC license and putting it on your work. It’s tailored to websites, although the same steps apply to most other works.
  • Open Science: An Introduction – This course is a collaborative learning environment meant to introduce the idea of Open Science to young scientists, academics, and makers of all kinds. Open Science is a tricky thing to define, but we’ve designed this course to share what we know about it, working as a community to make this open resource better.
  • Open data for GLAMs (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) – This course is for professionals in cultural institutions who are interested in opening up their data as open culture data. It will guide you through the different steps towards open data and provide you with extensive background information on how to handle copyright and other possible issues.
  • Intro to Openness in Education – This is an introductory course exploring the history and impacts of openness in education. The main goal of the course is to give you a broad but shallow grounding in the primary areas of work in the field of open education.
  • A Look at Open Video – This course will give you a quick overview of some of the issues, tools and areas of interest in the area of open video. It is aimed at students interested in developing software, video journalists, editors and all users of video who want to take their knowledge further.
  • Contributing to Wikimedia Commons – A sister project of Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons is a repository of openly licensed images that people all over the world use and contribute to. This challenge gets you acquainted with uploading your works to the commons.
  • Open Detective – This course will help you explore the scale of open to non-open content and how to tell the difference.

And more… check out all the courses at http://schoolofopen.org/.

Join a launch event this week


School of Open at the Citizen Science Workshop / Levi Simons / CC BY

  • P2PU: A Showcase of Open Peer Learning (Wednesday, March 13) – Join this webinar to see a showcase of some of P2PU’s best learning groups spanning topics from education to open content to programming to Spanish and more, and learn how you can participate.
  • Open Video Sudan (all week, March 10-17) – Join the Open Video Forum in improving “A Look at Open Video” and creating new courses and resources on open video in Sudan.

And more events as part of Open Education Week at http://www.openeducationweek.org/events-webinars/.

Spread the word

Just do these 3 things and call it a day.

      1. Tweet this:

      #SchoolofOpen has launched! Take free courses on #copyright, #OER, #openscience & more: http://creativecommons.org/?p=37179

      2. Blog and email this:

      The School of Open has launched! Take a free online course on copyright, CC licenses, Wikipedia, open science, open culture, open video formats, and more at http://schoolofopen.org/. Especially check out this course: [link to course of your choice here]. Read more about the launch at http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/37179.

      3. Print out a copy of this pdf and pin it to the bulletin board at your work, school, or local coffee shop.
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Join us: Open Education Week (11-15 March)

Cable Green, March 6th, 2013

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It is time to celebrate and spread the dream that everyone in the world can access a high quality, affordable education if we collectively share our educational resources and spend our public resources wisely!

The second annual Open Education Week will take place March 11-15, 2013 (see schedule). Open Education Week is a five-day celebration of the global Open Education movement, featuring online and local events around the world, video showcases of open education projects, and lots of information. The week is designed to raise awareness of both the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide.

Open Education refers to the growing set of practices that promote the sharing high quality, openly licensed educational resources (OER) and support for learners to access education anywhere, anytime. Open Education incorporates educational networks, open teaching and learning materials, open textbooks, open data, open scholarship, and open-source educational tools.

As part of Open Education Week, Creative Commons and its affiliates are hosting and participating in local events and webinars on OER, Version 4.0 of the CC licenses, the Open Policy Network, School of Open, and more. In addition, the School of Open will officially launch its first set of courses next week, including courses on copyright and Creative Commons for educators. Courses will be free to take and free to reuse and remix under P2PU’s default CC BY-SA licensing policy.

And a special thanks to our friends at the OpenCourseWare Consortium for organizing the 2nd annual Open Education Week.

See you all next week!

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