Day before yesterday I was doing my bit for free and open education, giving a 2 hour presentation to a group of IT teachers from TAFE NSW Illawarra.
Along the way I came across the usual things that make TAFE a bit of a joke… access denials, not being set up to play MPEG4 movies, and other stuff I can’t really recall just now, but then the joke turned on me!
It was when I was up to the bit about wikis – using wikipedia, wikiversity, and the South African Curriculum wiki as examples. I thought I’d be smart and type in ‘TAFE NSW’ as a search in wikipedia. Cocky as always I pre-empted the results expecting a no show for my search when BAM! There it was! A wikipedia entry on Technical And Further Education in Australia! In a silly fumble to reclaim myself I said something like, “wow! this must have been put up in the last week, I’m sure it wasn’t here a week ago..” Then one in the audience, displaying an excellent grasp of the bigger wiki picture that I was demonstrating suggested I look at the history of the entry. With my heart in my mouth I clicked page history and everyone saw… the entry had been started in 2003 with edits by quiet a number of people since then!
I think Bryan Derksen was the man who started it all off in March 2003 with:
In Australia, Technical and Further Education’ or TAFE refers to institutions which offer a wide range of post-secondary education and training, generally in vocational fields (such as hospitality, tourism, construction, woodwork, secretarial skills, etc), often at a level of difficulty below that of a corresponding or related university course.
After that is was smooth sailing, with the entry developing into quite a site with pages on individual Institutes, their locations, other related information… in my opinion its a better site all together then any of the official sites out there!
What a great example of free and open development for TAFE.
Here we are, the free and open crusaders, talking up wikis, blogs, RSS, tagging etc etc… and then, right under our noses is quite a good entry about TAFE, with some very interesting page development and author name history.
How much do we love and cherish wikis and wikipedia?
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons (Attribution) license.