Open Source

Ozmozr – Power for Educators and Academics

Have you seen the Ozmozr? It’s a bit difficult to explain what Ozmozr is, but we may call it social-knowledge-management or social-informal-learning site. It’s a meta social networking, meta aggregator and meta link sharing site. It is still alpha version and the user interface is very uneasy and noisy. But the idea is very good.

I feel that even more important than the idea, is the fact that Ozmozr is developed in the Center for Open and Sustainable Learning, Department of Instructional Technology at Utah State University, USA.

Why I think this is important?

I see that academic groups operating in the field of educational technology should be much more like the one in Utah. They should do research, design and release software (and hardware).

Focus on evaluation of educational technology that is brought to the field by companies or authorities is not enough. Writing texts is not enough. Academics must write code.

This means that in addition to research publications, also software (and hardware) should be recognized as academic results and outcomes. In the academic world this translates to money.

If you have a look of the Utah group’s list of publication and their list of software projects (what a list!) you’ll see that they do both. They publish research papers and release software. We may ask which one will have a greater impact to the world of education?

Still, there wouldn’t be one without the other. You must know your field to build meaningful software for the field. Who knows the best the field of education? Educators and researchers of teaching and learning or software entrepreneurs and educational authorities?

Maybe we should have educational technology conference dedicated for “academic” or other way experimental educational technology solutions. No papers, no power points. Only demos.

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