Open Source as it Applies to Public Education

I will begin examining how the governance systems utilized in the process of open source software engineering can be applied to public education. This quote from Steven Weber’s book, The Success of Open Source, is my opening salvo in that exploration.


. . .simple models fail because the complexities at the core of the task cannot be abstracted away. A physicist dealing with complexity has the advantage of being able to assume that models can be built around unifying physical principles. The software engineer cannot make that assumption. Einstein said that there must be simplifiable explanations of nature because God is not arbitrary. But there is no such structure for software engineering because the complexity at play is “arbitrary complexity, forced without rhyme or reason by the many human institutions and systems to which the programmer’s interfaces must conform”.

–from The Success of Open Source, by Steven Weber

I think there are many fruitful parallels that can be drawn between the process utilized in open source software engineering and the process that educators should utilize in designing units and lessons. This quote discusses the inherent complexity involved in the creative and technical process of software engineering, and I believe this could apply just as accurately to teachers. The process of designing and implementing an effective lesson is incredibly complex in the same manner, and teachers could benefit from utilizing the processes employed by the open source collaborative design model. I will continue to explore this idea through more quotations as I read this book, and through continuing my analysis of the concept of public education as an ecosytem.

Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

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