Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Planned obsolescence or OER?



I walked past my dryer today and realized the light was on.  I checked my fridge door and it was slightly ajar, but both lights continued to burn.  These are two examples of lights that never seem to burn out.  In contrast I change the lights in my kitchen continuously, planned obsolescence.

Why is it that the light in your dryer and the light in your fridge both never seem to go out?  I would suggest that the manufacturers realize that changing these is hard, difficult work.  Therefore they make them to last and do not plan for obsolescence.

Canned products, textbooks, bought programs, all fall under planned obsolescence.  They are all created with the intention of being replaced, eventually, with a new "better" product.  More sales and more buying for schools.

OER and the #GoOpen movement look to change this.  Open Educational Resources look to create those "lightbulbs" that never seem to go out.  This analogy is a maybe a bit of stretch... but I think the idea of keeping the light on fits well.

Open Educational Resources are inherently created to be modified, adapted, and created for change as the landscape of curriculum and need change.  They are open sourced within a mindset of continuous improvement.  We can curate them, give feedback, and improve.  Textbooks are not created this way.

So why would you not want to adopt a system where the "light" does not go out?

Why not create a system where multiple contributors can adopt, adapt, and modify to make better?

Why not create content that can evolve to always be relevant for "our kids"?

We need to adopt this mindset to allow our students to receive the best possible ideas, thoughts, readings, etc. that fit their needs in the moment.  Just think about planned obsolescence when thinking about your choices in curriculum.

#iniativefatigue occurs when programs are picked that have a shelf life, no pun intended.  Don't buy something that is going to be dated in years or even months.  Do the work, it is hard work, but commit to it in order to bring experiences to "our kids" that make sense to them and meets them where they are.

Be the change that "our kids" need.  Be the one that is willing to do the work to bring them the ideas, thoughts, and lessons that meet them where they are.  It is that important as "our kids" do not learn like we did, now we need to make sure we are there creating experiences that are relevant to them.

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