David Warlick blogged a bit about this idea last June, but I thought it was interesting that one of the most popular articles in 2006 from Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge series was the one titled Open Source Science: A New Model for Innovation. The article discusses using open source software development ideas to address previously-unsolvable scientific problems. The article is definitely worth a read, as are several other of the top articles from last year.
It would be fascinating to use this model in a school system. For example, a school or district blog could throw out a question (e.g., How can we better engage parents? How can we improve the academic achievement of non-English-speaking students? How can we cut our heating and electricity costs?), and solicit solutions from educational experts, other experts, the general public, etc. Obviously you’d have to sort the wheat from the chaff and, in some instances, there might need to be some way of providing an incentive large enough for folks to participate. Nonetheless, I think the idea has some power if implemented thoughtfully.
Does anyone know of a school or district that is doing this right now and seeing positive effects?