Last week I posted my reflections on my learning this term, including reviewing the artifacts that I had created.

But yesterday, as I sat in a meeting with colleagues from across Canada looking at proprietary software solutions, I was reminded of the other part of my learning journey that was so powerful. I have already posted several times on this topic – open source, open access, open content.

As I explored “open”, I realized a difference between open source software and open content. In my first post, Free and Open Content, I started the dialogue about focusing on free content rather than the focus on the software. I was beginning to struggle through these concepts.

My next post Outside the OSS Club Looking In was a turning point for me. As I began to explore the open source space, I felt under attack for my use of proprietary software. It seemed that if I didn’t abandon proprietary completely that I couldn’t participate in an open source discussion. The comments I received to this post assured me there were others who saw the utility of both, that it really could be a both/and rather than an either/or world. Just as with our learning tools it is about choosing the right tool for the right purpose. A quote emerged that has since become a favourite:

If you only have a hammer you tend to see every problem as a nail.
– Abraham Maslow

Perhaps not surprising, this post has generated more comments than any other. And the dialogue that ensued helped me to know that my view was not heresy. And that was a turning point for me.

My latest post on the subject, Open Source, Open Content, Open Access, set the stage for me to explore the more important issues (at least to me) than which software is used. I described the three legs of the open stool and I believe the most contentious is not open source. Nor is it open content as I believe that will be the underpinning of knowledge today and in the future. What is contentious is open access when we are working with K-12 students. That is where I will focus my intellectual energy and welcome others to the discussion.

As I started my learning journey, I was interested in internet safety and parent engagement. I followed those interests as well, but my most powerful learning was in exploring the open world. Thanks to all who participated with me.

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