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February 14, 2007

Donations to Creative Commons and Wikimedia

One of the great things about working at the Eduserv Foundation is our ability to give money to projects and activities that we feel are of benefit to the education community.  I am therefore very pleased to announce that we have given $10,000(US) each to Creative Commons and the Wikimedia Foundation (press release, PDF).

Creative Commons has fundamentally changed, and continues to change, our attitude to the way content is created and shared. By 'our' I am primarily thinking about the UK education community, though clearly the impact of CC is much wider than that - part of CC's attraction is that the underlying principles are understandable and applicable globally. CC has liberated us from thinking first and foremost about protecting and restricting content and has given us the ability to focus on sharing, which is fundamental to both learning and research. Sure, we have a long way to go in fully realising the benefits of CC, that's why it is important for organisations like the Eduserv Foundation to continue to support CC, but it seems to me that in a very real sense CC has changed the landscape in which we operate. The basis of the community's discussion about content is fundamentally different now because people come to the table with CC as a viable option.

In a similar way, our donation to the Wikimedia Foundation recognises the growing importance of the suite of activities they undertake, notably Wikipedia, in the context of learning and teaching. This is not just because Wikipedia has become such a valuable resource to teachers and learners in its own right, but because it has demonstrated the real potential of the Web; the potential for building very significant and valuable encyclopedic resources collaboratively, using a highly distributed knowledge base, in ways that were unimaginable to most of us even 3 or 4 years ago. I fully expect Wikipedia and their other offerings to continue to grow in importance within our community over the coming years.


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