Open data has changed the face of education in a monumental way.
Self-learning has been taken to a new level with sites like Quora or Stack Exchange, where you can easily post a burning question and receive surprisingly accurate answers. How to videos on almost anything are readily accessible at the push of a button on YouTube from "How to Understand String Theory" to a "Barbie Tutorial". The open data revolution has given every day citizens to share their invididual expertise with the world in an amazing way.
The formal education sector is also evolving. From educational networks like Khan Academy, Coursera to Skillshare, learning is becoming more easily accessible and free. Classrooms are changing just as fast. Flipped classrooms that integrate technology and open data into the curriculum to supplement teaching are being more popular through classes just like Gov 3.0 or through initiatives such as LinkedUp Education. The ever expanding network of open data gives educators a prime opportunity to encourage self-directed learning, classroom innovation, and develop more effective teaching methods.
In addition to innovations in classroom learning, education management systems are also evolving. The Open Source Education Management Information System (EMIS) is rethinking how school data is tracked and stored for policy makers and education stakeholders to better evaluate their education systems. The U.S. Department of Education is also making headway by creating tools to help students succeed and empower them to make informed educational decisions. For example, over 78 million people are now able to download their own Federal student loan and grant data from the Department of Education through the NSLDS Student Access system.
Sharing educational resources freely around the globe, also known as "open education" has been adopted by over 200 higher academic institutions worldwide and is growing rapidly. At NYU, the open education movement has been gaining momentum as well. NYU's goal is to become the first university to deploy 21st‐century technology throughout their global network university. Their current open ed pilot, which was launched in fall 2009, focuses on the creation of public content, greater online student interaction, reuse of course content, and expanded outreach. "According to the OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCW), open education has three main advantages: access and distribution of knowledge to regions of the world where higher education is not readily available; recruitment and retention of students, as well as curriculum development and research collaboration among faculty; and sustainability of interest in and access to higher education."
Free and open access to information has become a staple of our daily lives. Education is more alive than ever in ways that many of us don't even realize. Whether you are checking wikipedia for definitions or reading the news off your twitter feed, humans are engaging in a new kind of self-education and societal integration.