During his brief tour of Europe’s EdTech, Moodle Founder and CEO Martin Dougiamas spoke at MoodleMoot Germany to discuss all things Moodle, explore the future of open learning, and share quite a few traveling anecdotes.
— ????Martin Dougiamas (@moodler) June 18, 2017
His talk in Mannheim, Moodle for the next ten years, started with his popular metaphor about how the volume of a fire grows more than proportionally with every stick added, which he finds appropriate to describe learning from a constructionist perspective.
He highlighted the international appeal of Moodle, illustrated by the fact that 3 out of the top 5 countries and 6 out of the top 10 are not English-speaking countries. Germany sits at number 7.
While Dougiamas and Moodle are Australian, Moodle feels at home in Europe, where it boasts a comfortable market share upwards of 60% and growing. Universities and companies have also been kind to Moodle and, for Dougiamas, it is important to reciprocate, so he is looking at how the open source LMS and movement can give something back. As luck would have it, some of the world’s “Big Problems” are currently being tackled head on in Europe, with Germany leading the way out front.
The question still remains though: How can Moodle be part of the answer when it comes to issues such as climate change, refugees, and wealth inequality?
For starters, Dougiamas at least knows of a way not to contribute to them. The profit motive, he argues, plays a large role in how the world’s resources are exploited and distributed. He asserts this model is not a good one, nor is it sustainable.
In his search for more nurturing structures, he describes his model of the “open tree,” in which Moodle is only a branch stemming from the trunk, just like “open data,” “open government,” or even “open health” and “open innovation.”
Over the coming years, Dougiamas promises, we will witness greater involvement of Moodle HQ in Europe, starting with a Barcelona subsidiary and a Brussels-based (probably) Moodle Foundation seeking deeper involvement with the continental communities.
As Dougiamas continues to argue, at the root of a thriving, healthy tree, there’s a group of individuals ready to provide and–if push comes to shove–defend it. Because for many reasons, “open” is not so much descriptive of a technology, but of the ideals put forth by leaders, thinkers, and educators. Moodle can also start to be thought of as a technology and as a tool to empower.