Can Grassroots Action “Save” the Education Technology Standards World from Itself?

In the approximately-ten years that most of the well-known Ed Tech Standards bodies have been in existence, it has been hard work to make but a little progress. Why is this? I believe one factor is that there was a premature rush to create high-status specifications and formal standards. There is, however, some light at the end of the tunnel as there is growing evidence (anecdote maybe?) that more grass-roots models may be effective.

I have written a short document to explore this and possible synergies between formal and informal approaches (MS Word) as a  position paper for a meeting on Jan 12th 2010. Other position papers may be found on the meeting page.

2 thoughts on “Can Grassroots Action “Save” the Education Technology Standards World from Itself?

  1. Thanks for the essay.

    In the world of geospatial standards, the Open Geospatial Consortium has a decent track record for picking up “community” standards – GeoRSS, which emerged from the same kind of informal discussions as RSS – and KML, which had commercial origins but was being widely used for innovative, grass-rootsy web mapping work.

    There’s a big contrast between the ISO mindset of standards for the INSPIRE directive on sharing geographic data within Europe, and the Linked Data mindset which is informing data.gov.uk – and it is good to see the “working with what works” approach becoming more acceptable.

    You might be interested in this Tim Bray article which touches on similar themes, about the technical benefits of community-driven emerging standards rather than a UML-first approach:
    http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/201x/2010/01/02/Doing-It-Wrong

  2. Thanks for the comment Jo. I fully go along with the “working with what works”; frankly I don’t care where a useful and properly licenced (no nasty patent or other IPR surprises) spec comes from. Actually, I’d like to see more commercial proprietary specs published under liberal licence terms for anyone to pick up, adopt, borrow models from etc.

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