Matt Mullenwag and Doug Belshaw gave me a one – two punch last night.
Matt Mullenwag, who invented WordPress, scared the hell out of me with this:
“As Marc Andreessen says, software is eating the world. It’s a creative gale of destruction that irreversibly changes every industry it touches, and if you don’t control the software, the software controls you.”
Re-read that last part: “if you don’t control the software, the software controls you.”
The software decides who you can connect with and how you can connect with them. It decides how (or even if) information can be brought into the platform or can be exported out. Take a look at the platforms that you are building on. Compare them to things like Moodle and WordPress. Can you add features? Can you get information in and out easily? Who owns what you and your students are creating?
I followed this up with Doug Belshaw’s latest post:
“I’m increasingly leaning away from using software that has shareholders and leaning towards alternatives.”
Doug compares online private public spaces to shopping areas. They are open and seem to be public, until something controversial happens. Then suddenly we begin see how these platforms aren’t really public at all. The concept of “software with shareholders”is one worth considering. Who is reaping most of the benefits in the relationship that your school has with ICT vendors and services? How much control do you have over how you can use their products and services?
We are paying increasing attention to the design and structure of learning spaces in the real world, believing they have an effect on the kind of learning that can happen. What we believe about online learning spaces is just as important.