How To Create & Collaborate In A Sharing Economy


How To Create & Collaborate In A Sharing Economy

by TeachThought Staff

2015 has been a year ripe with change and watershed transformation, but as we move into 2016 many new trends lurk on the horizon. In a new report, Billee Howard talks about the top 10 emerging trends to look out for in the year ahead that will impact entrepreneurialism, innovation and the consumer landscape overall. One of those trends that parallels those happening in education is the idea of a sharing economy.

The sharing economy will continue to explode but will move away from the notion of “altruism” to profiting for the many and not the few. We will see a continued push towards sharing business ecosystems that embrace the we instead of the me and provide value and benefit to the communities they operate in as a whole.

This idea of businesses benefiting themselves, the consumers they serve, and local people seeking freelance employment, will become more evident and an obvious sign of the permanence of our new Uber X economy.

The sharing economy will also continue to identify new untapped pockets of opportunity that can benefit from sharing and also potentially serve a greater or “social” purpose. This is discussed in further detail in the new book, The We-Commerce: The Book where the theme of this publication is based on the power of “we” over the power of “me.”

“Today, the most successful businesses and entrepreneurs thrive through connectivity, socialization, and sharing. It is an age of WE-Commerce, an economy centered on the power of “we” instead of “me,” focused on the needs of the many over the few.”

The idea of moving from “me” (or them) to “we” has direct implications and applications for the education sector. A new economy expert will be a sharing and communal expert as well. Two areas where educators are actively engaging in a sharing economy are through social media and with open education resources (OER).

Sharing Through Social Media

The Internet and social media have enabled educators to be connected educators. This translates into educators being able to share ideas, thoughts, teaching and learning strategies, and resources online via platforms like Twitter, Pearltrees, ScoopIt, Facebook, and online communities such as and Classroom 2.0.

Information has the ability to travel and update just as quickly as the world changes. Social media also provides a platform for even the most quiet people to have a voice. Most importantly, we are no longer just consumers of content. We now have the ability to be authors, leaders, even experts; and we love it.

Connected or We-Oriented educators understand the importance of and responsibility for the sharing economy within the educational sector. Connected educators create and share their own successes and failures, lesson ideas, student work, and resources via social networks. They have a deep understanding that as creators and sharers, everyone benefits. These benefits include reflecting on one’s own practices through writing about them in preparation for posting to social media, putting one’s work out there so others can improve upon it – recycling it so that a better product results for all, and acquiring and implementing the ideas that other educators shared via social media. The larger and more significant outcome is the improvement and betterment of the education field at large.

Open Education Resources

Open education resources are a second way that the sharing economy is being promoted within educational communities.

Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials that make use of tools such as open licensing to permit their free reuse, continuous improvement and repurposing by others for educational purposes. Education is the key to economic, social and environmental progress, and governments around the world are looking to improve their education systems.

The future of education in the 21st century is not simply about reaching more people, but about improving the quality and diversity of educational opportunities. How to best organize and support teaching and learning requires imagination, creativity and innovation. (Read more.)

The interest in OER has gained some momentum in the last few years due to research by The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). CCSSO is working to advance the understanding, adoption and implementation of open educational resources (OER) practices at state and district levels. Their research provides background and understanding of OER implementation at state and district levels, as well as a more detailed look at how OER can impact classroom practices.

The benefits of open education resources cannot be overstated. For the schools, themselves, money used for textbooks and other educational materials is saved by using OER materials while these materials increase access to diverse and high quality materials. Teacher and students get direct access to educational resources that they might not have had in the past. This is especially true for under-served communities and populations both in the US and abroad.

The Sharing Economy in Education As A Disruptive Force

The sharing economy has a lot of potential for being a disruptive force in changing educational systems for the better. In doing so, though, the consequences of such a disruption needs to be analyzed and discussed. Frank Britt poses the following questions in piece entitled, How Uber and the Sharing Economy Could Improve Education:

What does Uber, Airbnb, etc mean for workforce training and traditional education models?

How does the role of government in education change as consumers are empowered to police their own marketplace, and screen suppliers (schools), and look for selective bad actors that might ruin the experience?

What does accreditation means in a marketplace where the power to affirm value shifts more to peers and employers?

Are there new ways of using the collaborative mindset to help struggling school systems, particularly in regards to cash-strapped states and communities, or the failure of school infrastructure to keep up with new technologies, demands for innovations, and higher levels of scrutiny from parents, taxpayers, and the government?

Embracing a sharing economy in the educational sector has the potential to decentralize the top down power structure that is prevalent in many school systems. A sharing economy model gives the power and the responsibility of acquiring the best educational resources for the learning goals to both teachers and students.

They become direct agents of their own learning.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Billee Howard. The opinions and text are all mine.