We have spent the last 3 days driving and walking around beautiful Washington state. Conversations have flowed around numerous topics – fall out from the Open Ed conference in Vancouver, and sundry issues as they occur. There has been no agenda, and no grand manifestos. It would appear that none of us has a burning desire to achieve any major goal other than to engage in professional conversations across our fields of expertise and interest.
Leigh has written on OER as the new colonialism how the well-intentioned use of Creative Commons licensing may inadvertently be forcing content creators in the developing world to pay heed to copyright in a way they never did before. My own reservation about what I saw at the Open Ed conference (an otherwise excellent 3 days of consistent high level discourse about learning and methodology) was the fact that it was dominated by well-meaning white folks from the developed world espousing a philosophy that at least in part is supposed to benefit those less able to produce quality content. So why was this conference held in North America? Why wasn't it held in somewhere like Mexico that may have enabled participants from central and South America? Or Nigeria? Or Laos?
I did learn that 'openness' is not just about creating content that is freely available to all, but also an attitude that acknowledges that all nations have educators with talent and enthusiasm that we can exploit together on a level playing field in the sense that we all have something to learn from each other, and further, that it's about an approach that acknowledges the role of the learner in crafting educational offerings, and other multiple resources that may make up an individual's PLE.
We have already explored what a future FLNW event may look like – modelled on a broad unconference approach that would include streams outside of education such as the arts, tourism, and trades. Central to this would be the inclusion of multiple streams running concurrently in different spaces, and examples of how a new model of teaching may look. It was very noticeable once again that the Open Ed conference consisted mainly of stand and deliver presenations – as excellent as they were – but it's time to model what is so often suggested, but rarely seen in practice at conferences.
In our travelling group we have touched on what the world would look like if all schools were closed, the propensity of some to create technical changes because they can (eg single sign-on, learning object repositories) and whether we need them, and the recurring problem of bringing in others less disposed to engage in teaching with technology. We have the gold, we all appreciate the wonders of what the technolgy can bring, but still armies of educators in all sectors resist our advances. “Don't worry about people stealing a new idea.. If it's original you will have to ram it down their throats.” So why is this? After 10 plus years of this technology being available we are still pushing the proverbial uphill. Clearly not everyone is going to adopt this technology in any way that instances significant change. Why not? Is it a teacher's personal values? Is it not as fundamentally good as we converts believe? Is the 'gold' too far away in 'them thar hills.'
We are questioning our assumptions (Nancy is great with clarifying questions and reality checks), pushing each others' boundaries and being honest with each other. Lots more I coud add.....but more to come next time.....