Open Educator Manifesto

"Open Educator Manifesto ~ by David Truss"

[Version I: Just the Manifesto]

My Open Educator Manifesto

‘We’ educate future citizens of the world

Teaching is my professional practice

I Share by default

I am Open, Transparent, Collaborative, and Social

My students own their own: (Learning)

• learning process

• learning environment

• learning products

• learning assessment

My students belong to learning networks

Every student deserves customized learning

• Student voice

• Student choice

Every educator deserves customized learning

I have high expectations

I Care, Share, and Dare

I am a role model

I am the change I want to see in Education!

_________________      _______________      _______________

Chris Kennedy asks:

How do we move from being a connected network to becoming a group of influence?

How can we aggregate our thinking in a way that has influence in the larger community?

In response to my comment, Chris says, (& I’ve added emphasis & links…)

“… I think we (those inside the system) need to come to some agreement on what we believe and want – in thirty seconds be able to explain what schooling could / should look like. We then need to find ways to take this out to the larger community in a coordinated way.

Here is one you might have some thoughts on – What is the new “product” we use to share our thinking. The old way was we would produce “white papers” or “thought papers” on a topic and circulate it in the community and maybe create some sort of one-way feedback. Is the new way a website like Born to Learn, is it a video like New Brunswick did, is it a multi channel approach. If we actually can agree on some basics pieces – almost universally in the province about the system we desire what is (are) the vehicle(s) we use to share it. When I hear people are commissioning a “paper” on change I just don’t think that is going to do it.”

My blog is not the new “product”, but it is my starting place. I’m not sure what the ideal venue will be?

The manifesto above, by itself, is a 30 second explanation of what schools and education could be like. Here is the manifesto again, with some ‘discussion’ added. Hopefully others will share their thoughts and their manifestos too. However, please note: as Dean Shareski says, “I’m a giant derivative… I won’t pretend that I’m going to share something new and original. That’s really hard.”

… And in fact, I remember reading some great Manifestos on Steve Hargadon‘s School2.0 wiki years ago. I even wrote a Participant’s Manifesto a while back, to look at what I think is an underutilized aspect of learning: the responsibility of the learner! Other influences to this post include Subbaraman Iyer’s “The education and learning approaches” and Jennifer Dalby’s “Down in Front“.

This manifesto is my attempt to ‘agree on some basic pieces‘. I hope this is a conversation starter.

_________________      _______________      _______________

[Version II: With explanations, multimedia, and links added.]

My Open Educator Manifesto

‘We’ educate future citizens of the world

“The goal of education is to enrich the lives of students while producing articulate, expressive thinkers and lifelong learners, who are socially responsible, resilient, and active citizens of the world. Education is about teaching students, not subjects. It is about engaging students in their learning, and maximizing the potential of each and every child. Education is about looking beyond the child’s intellect, and seeing the whole child. Education is about providing students with opportunities to be challenged and still succeed.” (Link)

"Statement of Educational Philosophy Wordle ~ by David Truss"

“It takes a village to raise a child” and so ‘We’ must communicate, collaborate and coordinate opportunities to authentically work together. We must meaningfully cooperate with all stakeholders in education. Parents (and grandparents) are our partners in education. Businesses are not just future employers, but intellectual and financial stakeholders too. Teacher, support staff, and student unions all have a say. So do school boards and elected officials. ‘We’ can only find success in being open to cooperative ventures and adventures with the common goal of being in and of service to our children. After all, we all want the same things!

"What I Want For My Children ~ by Heidi Hass Gable ~ CC = BY::NC::SA"

Teaching is my professional practice

I have a responsibility to be current, and I must prepare my students for an unknown future, where adaptability and creativity take precedence over ‘book’ knowledge.

"Did You Know - Shift Happens ~ by Karl Fisch and modified by Scott McLeod"

"Sir Ken Robinson ~ Do Schools Kill Creativity? ~ TED Talk"

We practice teaching. “We have an obligation to do our best, but that will ultimately change as we… practice. If we want to apply ‘best practice’ to teaching, then we need to look at ourselves as role model learners. We need to be relentless learners striving to be our best. We need to be self-reflective… We need to ‘practice teaching’ to the best of our ability.” (Link)

I Share by default

I am copy-left, not copyright. In the words of Dean Shareski, ‘Sharing is a Moral Imperative‘, “I’ve been blessed to work as part of a larger community of learners, teachers, explorers and innovators who, in the spirit of sharing have thrown their ideas onto a giant whiteboard for others to use, critique, and mash up.”

"Sharing: The Moral Imparative ~ by Dean Shareski ~ CC = BY::NC::SA""Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)"

I am Open, Transparent, Collaborative, and Social

As Alec Couros defines Open Teaching: “Open teaching is described as the facilitation of learning experiences that are open, transparent, collaborative, and social. Open teachers are advocates of a free and open knowledge society, and support their students in the critical consumption, production, connection, and synthesis of knowledge through the shared development of learning networks.”

"Open Teaching - Thinning the Walls ~ by Alec-Couros ~ CC = By::NC::SA"


When we reflect openly, we gain greater insight, and learn more. (Link)

“Being “open” unintentionally changes us so that doing things in new ways isn’t just a possibility, but a necessity and a convenience. To me these are two key point in why social media is changing education:
Necessity – Being open makes us more reflective educators.
Convenience – Being open creates opportunities for anytime learning, beyond the confines of classrooms and schools.” (Link)


“It mattered that I was publishing my daily agenda to the world on the front page of this wiki. I was keenly aware that things went slower than I’d hoped, that I was winging it as I learned to use a wiki at the same time as my students, that I was asking them for public feedback, etc. … Teachers are forced to be more reflective when they are open. When I started to open my classroom and share what I was doing with parents, and the world, I thought more about what I was doing and why I was doing it. My practice changed.” (Link ~ Same post as the ‘Open’ link above.)


“The Interesting Ways series continues to be a great example of crowdsourcing good quality classroom ideas and it has been a privilege connecting with all of the people who have taken time to add an idea. It is remarkable what can be achieved and created together if you give people the right way to do it.” (A collaborative project created by Tom Barrett)


Are you a networked teacher? What Does the Network Mean to You? (by Alec Couros)

"The Networked Teacher VoiceThread ~ by Alec Couros"

My students own their own learning

a) Learning Process: A metaphor to help guide us is“…the teacher as the compass. We point in a direction, (not necessarily the direction that the student is going), and we are a reference point or guide to the learning.” (Link)

“What happens when you: Allow students to determine what they need to learn, and then enable students to manage their own learning activities? (Link)

b) Learning Environment: We need to create shared learning spaces for our students. “I think that our idea of where learning happens has made a fundamental shift from book knowledge of the last century to anywhere/anytime information access of today.” (Link; cartoon below: Link)

"School Limits ~ by David Truss ~ CC = BY::NC::SA"

c) Learning Products: “We don’t own a student’s learning; It’s their learning. Whenever possible we need to be thinking about how we can provide students with an archive of their work… and that has to include the conversations (or comments in the case of blogs) and the hyperlinks that made the learning experience richer and more desirable to keep.” (Link)

d) Learning Assessment: Marks do not equal Assessment. Grades are numerical while learning is anecdotal. Assessment is not the end of learning, it is an opportunity to provide feedback which can be acted upon to improve achievement and student success. Assessment should be ongoing, frequent and completed by teachers, by students and by teachers with students.

Why have letter grades? See Joe Bower’s Grading Moratorium! According to Alfie Kohn, ‘From Degrading to De-Grading’, “In my experience, the most impressive teachers are those who despise the whole process of giving grades. Their aversion, as it turns out, is supported by solid evidence that raises questions about the very idea of traditional grading.”

My students belong to learning networks

Students are nodes in each others learning network. A network of learners is fundamentally different than a group or a single classroom.

"The Networked Student ~ by Wendy Drexler"

"Web 2.0, E-learning 2.0 and the New Learning ~ by Stephen Downes ~ CC = BY::NC::SA"

Networks also encourage a larger, more legitimate audience for student work. “Being open, and sharing your work and student work online, invites an audience and an authentic audience matters!

Every student deserves customized learning

a) Student Voice: As Erica Goldson says, “We are more than robotic bookshelves, conditioned to blurt out facts we were taught in school. We are all very special, every human on this planet is so special, so aren’t we all deserving of something better, of using our minds for innovation, rather than memorization, for creativity, rather than futile activity, for rumination rather than stagnation? We are not here to get a degree, to then get a job, so we can consume industry-approved placation after placation. There is more, and more still.” (Link)

b) Student Choice: No two learners are alike. We make accommodations to meet a learner’s needs (and interests). We create projects based on learning outcomes that we want students to achieve. Project criteria does not dictate what students must do… learning outcomes are what we want to achieve, not marks on a project. ie. We don’t ‘do’ movie projects, we do projects where a possible learning artifact might be a movie. Our students deserve to demonstrate their learning in ways meaningful to them.

Every educator deserves customized learning

“We” are not all alike either… Educators are learners too. “I think there needs to be a recognition that we aren’t in the ‘teaching business’, rather we are in the ‘learning business’, and if we aren’t constructing a teaching model that supports teachers in their learning then we need to redesign what a teacher’s day looks like!” (Link)

Teachers need learning to be embedded into their day. They need: (Link)
1. Time- Pro-D, preparation, planning & play
2. Co-teaching & collaboration opportunities
3. Models & Mentorship

I have high expectations

I expect great things from my students and from myself. When I create the proper environment, and set high expectations, students will often exceed those expectations. I have high expectations for behaviour, work habits, discussion, participation, and achieving learning outcomes.

"Expectations and Attitude - POD's Interview Part 3 ~ by Sony Woloshen ~ CC = BY::NC::SA"

My expectations are high, but attainable, and they are developed with students’ abilities in mind.

“I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor
and an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.”
~ By Taylor Mali

I Care, Share, and Dare

I am Caring: My students are first and foremost important individuals in our learning community. They need to be respected and respectful, nurtured and nurturing, given a voice and listened to. I can be firm, I can have high expectations, I can be demanding, but through it all I have let me students know that I care about them and want what is best for them.

I am Sharing: Of my time, my resources, my knowledge, my questions, my challenges, and my (two-dimes worth of) thoughts. I have obligations beyond my classroom, to my school community, my personal community and my learning community. I inherently know that through openly sharing, I benefit from the reciprocation my sharing invites.

I am Daring: I try new techniques and transformative new tools. I give students: Choice; A voice; An audience; A place to collaborate; A place to lead; And a digital place to learn (and play).

I am an Edupunk, and/or I support the DIY educators that are leading the way, and/or I break the rules, and/or I do not go quietly into my classroom, and I am an agent of changeI am innovative in my practice. I will make mistakes, I will fail, because I know that if I don’t, then I’m not trying hard enough!

"A Brave New World Wide Web ~ by David Truss ~ CC = BY::NC::SA"

I also expect my students to Care, Share, Dare!

I am a role model

I have a great attitude towards teaching and learning. I am an engaged and enthusiastic teacher and learner. I treat my face-to-face and online connections with dignity and respect. I have a great digital footprint. I care about my family and my community. I care about my school. I care about those in need, and I stand up to injustice. I am tolerant, forgiving, respectful, kind and courteous. I feed the good wolf within me.

I am the change I want to see in Education!

______________________ ____________________ ____________________

…And now it’s your turn!

Share your thoughts, share a manifesto, share a link… participate.

Are these things we can agree on? What can’t we agree on? What’s missing?

Please join the conversation.

(Cross-posted on David Truss :: Pair-a-Dimes for Your Thoughts)


  1. […] Open Educator Manifesto | Connected Principals I don't think there is anything startlingly new in the manifesto but it neatly encapsulates some important ideas. (tags: usqict ttf ee4l e-learning) […]

    April 13, 2011
  2. arun jee said:

    ” Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam” — This is a well-known saying in Sanskrit which means that the whole world is a family.
    It has become more relevant for the open and connected world of the INTERNET today.

    April 14, 2011
  3. David Truss said:

    That’s wonderful! Thank you for sharing.

    From Wikipedia:
    Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (from “vasudha”, the earth; “eva” = emphasizer and “kutumbakam”, “family”) is a Sanskrit phrase that means that the whole world is one single family.

    Similar concepts
    The concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is used in a theory presented by Marshall McLuhan as global village. It has also seen to be similar to the ancient African concepts like Ubuntu. Same concept found in 100BC Tamil purananuru poem as “Yaadhum Oore Yaavarum Kelir” which means, ‘every country is my own and all the people are my kinsmen.’

    Exploring the similar concepts, they are each grounded in the same theme, but are also unique. Thank you very much for introducing me to Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – What a beautiful, and as you say ‘relevant’ saying!

    Today you were my teacher! 🙂

    April 14, 2011

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