Information wants to be Shared

Scott Francis
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Hard not to be thrilled about the announcement by O’Reilly Media and the White House on the donation of a Safari Books Online subscription to every high school in the country.  Along the theme of “don’t worry, we’ll keep coding“, Tim O’Reilly writes about the decision to donate computer science books to high schools in the US.

I love how this came about:

First off, this came up very suddenly, with a request from the White House that reached me only on Monday, as the White House and Department of Education were gearing up to Wednesday’s announcement about broadband and iPads in schools. I had a followup conversation with David Edelman, a young staffer who taught himself programming by reading O’Reilly books when in middle school, and launched a web development firm while in high school. He made the case that connectivity alone, without content, wasn’t all it could be. And he thought of his own experience, and he thought of us.

Like many others, David learned to code largely from O’Reilly books.  These books were instrumental in my own education in software as well.  Connectivity without content isn’t nearly as interesting, is it.  But Connectivity and Content… Lots of possibilities.

What’s interesting here is that when we think about education, we often think about investing in teachers. And yes, teachers are incredibly important. But they are only one of the resources we provide to motivated students.

Content like O’Reilly publications, Kahn Academy, and other sources of information are just as important as the teachers that inspire our kids.  I hope this donation of content is a long-lasting one – my kids aren’t in high school yet!  Stories like this remind us that companies can do more than make money.