[Foundation-l] Open teaching materials in the Netherlands

Ziko van Dijk zvandijk at googlemail.com
Tue May 19 14:40:18 UTC 2009


Maybe this is interesting for Wikimedians too, certainly for Wikibookians.
The Dutch ministry of education is going to set up "Wikiwijs", a project to
develop provide open and free school books or teaching materials to Dutch
schools. In the elections the parties promised to abolish parents' payments
for school books, and now the government has to cope with the costs.

On a seminar in Amersfoort at Friday it became obvious that many questions
are still unanswered. Wikiwijs is intended to be a platform for
collaboratively developping teachings materials, but also link to already
existing materials (also commercial ones). Although a letter of the minister
to the parliament said that only teachers will be able to edit on Wikiwijs,
now this remains to be discussed.

Kennisnet (a government foundation known to Wikimedians because it supported
Wikipedia with technological help) and the Open University are commissioned
to create Wikiwijs. The man from the Open University admitted that Wikiwijs
will not work like a wiki, and Marjon Bakker from Wikimedia Nederland asked
him why the name is Wikiwijs then. (But on many occasions the minister and
others compared Wikiwijs to Wikipedia - are they exploiting our good name?)

The organisation of Dutch high schools wants to set up a different project.
This has to do a lot with the distribution of power between the agents in
the educational system in the Netherlands, and also within the schools.

Nearly all already existing initiatives for open teaching materials use the
CC-NC-SA, the Creative Commons license that prohibits commercial use. I was
told that you cannot explain to teachers why others should have the right to
commercially exploit their work...

The project manager of the organisation of Dutch high schools gave me a very
striking reason against a license that allows commercial use: Most of the
teachers want to teach with the help of ordinary school books, with
additional material taken from the internet. They want to have something on
paper. If the school book publishers are allowed to make print versions from
open content, then the teachers want those print versions. They will put
pressure on their head masters to buy them, and then the shift from print to
digital will not occur, and the plan of the organisation to save 385
millions €  will not become reality. So, the manager says, the better if the
publishers cannot sell print versions.

Ziko van Dijk

read more in German on

Ziko van Dijk

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