Announcing The Open Organziation Guide for Educators

Lesson plans for an open education

As students head back to school, this community-produced volume in the Open Organization book series offers instructions of building more open learning contexts.

The Open Organization Guide for Educators

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Students everywhere are returning to school this season. But to what kinds of schools are they returning?

Are their classrooms organized like industrial-era factory floors, built around ideals like mass standardization and tailored for maximum efficiency? Or do they look more like agile, networked learning communities?

Are they listening passively from the back of the room? Or are they collaboratively shaping what and how they learn as their teachers connect their lessons to projects and contexts outside the classroom?

Are they submitting large projects in high-stakes gambits for definitive grades? Or are they releasing their materials for assessment early and often, airing their mistakes, gathering useful feedback, and iterating their way to success?

In other words: Do their classrooms function the same way they have for roughly 100 years? Or are they becoming more open? Do their teachers have the freedom to prepare them for the more participatory and dynamic world they're about to enter?

We've just released a new guide for helping educators realize the benefits of constructing their classrooms, departments, and schools on open principles.

The open organization community at hopes it's the latter. And we've just released a new guide for helping educators realize the benefits of constructing their classrooms, departments, and schools on open principles.

The Open Organization Guide for Educators features dozens of tips for creating more transparent, adaptable, and inclusive educational organizations in a number of learning contexts—including public, private, post-secondary, and non-profit spaces. In development since May and available starting today, the book collects case studies and best practices from educators across the globe.

Like all books in the Open Organization series, The Open Organization Guide for Educators is licensed under the terms of a Creative Commons license. So when we say "open your book," we mean it; its source files are available on GitHub, so readers can share it, fork it, modify it, log bugs and typos, and propose their own additions.

Pencils down. Let's get to work.

About the author

Bryan Behrenshausen
Bryan Behrenshausen - Bryan edits and manages the Open Organization section of, which features stories about the ways open values and principles are changing how we think about organizational culture and design. He's worked on since 2011. Find him online as semioticrobotic.

About the author

Aria F. Chernik - Aria F. Chernik, JD, PhD, is an open educator at Duke University, where she is Director of OSPRI (Open Source Pedagogy, Research + Innovation). Aria has over fifteen years of experience teaching at the K-12, undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels. She is passionate about designing open learning environments and believes that open knowledge can create a more participatory, beautiful, and peaceful world.

About the author

Ben Owens - Ben Owens spent 11 years as physics and mathematics teacher at a small, innovative public school of choice in rural Appalachia after a 20 year career as an engineer with a multinational corporation in manufacturing and R&D locations across the U.S. He now leads the national nonprofit, Open Way Learning, that helps schools build cultures of open, learner-centered innovation to better prepare their students for a rapidly changing world. He was the recipient of the 2017 Bridging the Gap...