Petition to Adopt Reddit into The Open Ed Family

“Fishing spot” flickr photo by Patrick McConahay https://flickr.com/photos/pat_mcconahay/15106445506 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

The way Reddit works is really quite conducive to open pedagogy. I think, if I’m understanding the meaning of this saying properly, it is one of those things that is ‘of’ the Internet and not just ‘on’ it. The structure wasn’t designed specifically for educational purposes, but it sure does a better job of it than most things designed with ed-tech in mind.

Here’s how it works, put simply:

Subreddits:

are subdomains with their own topic/category/culture/set of rules. r/hockey is a place to talk hockey. r/Toronto is a place to talk about Toronto (helpful if you live there!). r/Askscience is a place to ask science questions that you hope somebody who knows more than you to answer. r/shittyaskscience is the same thing only with deliberately shitty answers, just for fun. There is a whole suite of ‘shitty’ subreddits, which is hilarious. Subreddits can be¬†whatever the community wants and you can create your own.

Posts:

You can post a link, image or just some text to a subreddit. See something cute and educational anywhere else on the Web? Go post it to r/awwducational

Comments:

Each post basically gets its own discussion board by default. Know some more info about that cute thing on r/awwducational? Add your knowledge and link to more in-depth info. Or just ask for more detail if you don’t know.

Voting:

Each post, and each comment, can be upvoted or downvoted. The stuff with the higher +/- in votes is higher up, with the idea being upvoted stuff is the best stuff. It doesn’t always work that way as hive-minds can get carried away, but it often lets you find the quality stuff more quickly. You can also sort by new comments or controversial etc.

And all those things together gives us what?

What we end up with is a place where we can create our own community, easily contribute ideas and things, discuss, and vote on (to give more/less visibility). If the Open Education community were to post the awesome things that they find or do on Reddit (say, anything that someone would Tweet out) what we would have is a stream with a little more permanence than your Twitter feed. If Twitter were a rushing creek or waterfall, Reddit could be a slowly plodding brook or river full of life meandering through it.

The most interesting Subreddits seem to grow organically. Here are some neat communities:

Explain Like I’m Five

Cool Guides

A whole bunch more

Thanks for the inspiration to blog, Gardner!