Old Post Revisit – The New Education Economy of “Free”

Published: 2016-10-13 04:00 |

Category: Technology |

This is a new post format I’m going to try out from time to time. I don’t remember where I saw the original idea, but that person suggested going back, reading old posts, and then commenting on changed perspectives as a method of reflection.

I use [Alan Levine’s](http://www.twitter.com/cogdog) [PHP script to dig up wold WordPress posts](http://stackoverflow.com/a/27569816/2278429) by simply visiting [blog.ohheybrian.com/random](http://blog.ohheybrian.com/random) and re-reading. Try it yourself for some vintage bennettscience.

_If you’d like perspective, [here is the original post](http://blog.ohheybrian.com/2014/10/the-new-education-economy-of-free)._

Paying for software continues to be a four-letter word in EDUland. Some of the reasons free services are important are legitimate (I only have so much of my own money to spend) and some aren’t (I’m a teacher, help me out). In particular,

We need to differentiate between the free sharing of ideas and the free sharing of products.

Also, there seems to have been a rise in EDU-ratti who suggest that you give away lessons and your custom materials away for free as long as you remember to buy their book on 50 ways to do that. There cannot be a double standard.

Alan (he’s shown up a lot in my posts lately) [says it much better than I do](http://cogdogblog.com/2016/10/flickr-cc0/):

I get hired to provide them as a service, despite the fact people can use my stuff for free. You make a living from providing services, consulting, ideas, not from digital stuff. If I was a pro photographer, I would hope to make money from the service, not the products. I would get more clients if they can find examples of my work in the world.

Looking back at the original article, I think that was the point I was trying to make. It’s not selling the product (the book, curriculum…whatever) that’s worth the cost, it’s the **service you provide in creating that product.**

The distinction is very small, but again, it gets to the idea that we have to value the time and effort – the service – that goes into creating any product, be it a book or software.

Consider the tools you’re using now. If it’s free, there is usually an option to send some love to the developers through a donation. If not, send them a note and ask how you can buy that person a beer.

Comments are always open. You can get in touch by sending me an email at brian@ohheybrian.com