Is sharing caring? #OpenBlog19

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Photo by Krzyboy2o on Wikimedia Commons

This is a post for #OpenBlog19. I attended an event in Utrecht, in the Netherlands way back in 2007, at around the time that social media was emerging as a serious learning technology. Together for two days, we discussed how digital technologies and networks could support learning. The event was called ‘Show that you Share’ and focused on tools such as Creative Commons, personal learning environments and mobile phones as a means of creating, sharing and repurposing content, knowledge and artefacts for education.

I learnt a lot from interacting with the other delegates and was involved in several discussions that are still ongoing, even today. I firmly believe that educators, as far as possible, should share their content as widely and feely as possible. Sure, there are conditions under which teachers cannot, will not, or should not share content freely. But personally, I have never had a problem about giving away my content, as long as I am acknowledged as the source (note that the image on this page follows that criterion – I have acknowledge the source and provided the link to comply with the licence of the original work). As you will have noticed if you read this blog, watched my YouTube channel or used my slide decks, I almost always attach a Creative Commons share-and-share-alike licence on my work.

Just the fact that I allow repurposing on much of my content has reaped its own rewards over the years. A few years ago I discovered that there had been a sharp rise in the visitor count on this blog (which is currently approaching 8.5 million views). I wasn’t sure why that might be, but then discovered that someone had taken some of my blog posts, and had translated them into Spanish. Suddenly, most of the South American continent had access to my work, and the link back to my blog include, ensured an increased visitor count.

But the main reason for sharing content freely is that I care. I care about the education of people, whatever their age, and I want to share what I know. It doesn’t cost me anything, except a little time and effort, to be able to share content globally. It’s still quite magical to me, to think that I can be writing this post right now, and in a few minutes, when I press the Publish button, these words have the potential to appear on millions of screens in millions of homes, schools, colleges and universities around the world. It’s still a buzz, I can tell you.

So, I have got into the habit of sharing my content freely. For me it is a form of caring for my community of colleagues and friends. But I get back a lot more than I give. Others are doing the same thing, and I regularly read posts that have been freely shared by colleagues around the world. That’s what a community is, and should be – sharing and learning together.

One final thought: Knowledge is like love. You can give it away as much as you like, because you still get to keep it.

Creative Commons License
Is sharing caring? #OpenBlog19 by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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Is sharing caring? #OpenBlog19
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