Sound of the Drumbeat

For a couple of reasons this week the Mozilla Drumbeat project popped back onto my radar after a brief previous blip a while ago when it was first announced. This time I have had a proper look and the more I learn the more interested in it I get.

As anyone who has read this blog will know I tend to be pretty supportive of the idea of ‘open’ when it comes to the web. My current focus tends to be around open education and I’m aware I need to do more to support open source (I’m going to move to an Ubuntu powered laptop as my main machine this summer) but what I am mainly interested in is the philosophy of an ‘open web’ (rather than the technological definition that these days seems to get hung up on things like OAuth and OpenID as well as rows about Facebook!)

Drumbeat directly addresses this in that its vision is to;

“In a nutshell: make sure the internet is still open, participatory 100 years from now.”

(OK the 100 years bit might be a bit OTT but I completely agree with the sentiment!)

and it defines the ‘open web’ as;

* Freedom: built with technology and content that anyone can study, use or improve.
* Participation: anyone can participate or innovate without asking permission from others.
* Decentralization: the architecture is distributed and control is shared by many parties.
* Generativity: we can make new ideas from old ones. As we use, we also hack and innovate.

Which is a nice short definition I can understand and thus support! A fuller explanation of this definition is available on the Drumbeat site.

A nice aim of Drumbeat is that it wants to spread its message beyond the usual geek communities and attract a different crowd to its events and online spaces. I think this is great as even in my little corner of the internet there are many people with a real commitment to the future of the web who are put off by things like Barcamps etc at the moment still because of the more technical nature of them.

They have announced the Drumbeat Festival this week in November immediately following on from the Open Education conference in Barcelona in November. I was already hoping to attend OpenEd but am now 100% going to attend this event even if I have to do it in my own time (November is beyond my current contract at JISC so I don’t know who I’ll be working for anyway!)

There is a lot of focus in the movement around creating local events to spread the word but looking at the information available at the moment I’m not sure I grasp the kind of format they are encouraging – maybe I just need to re-read the information again. Bristol strikes me as the sort of place where we could really build a community around this kind of thinking plus it might give me an excuse to use my domain for something 🙂

Anyway I’ve joined a lot of groups and mailing lists and will in particular be keeping an eye on the elements that cross over with open education (like the project P2PU is taking forward and the UnCourse idea Tony Hirst has pitched.)

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