After this week’s lecture in regards to open education my mind was spinning. Now, because this is not my first class with Alec, it was not my first experience discussing open education in general. However, I do believe that in prior classes I looked at Open Education and it’s advantages (and implications) solely through the lens of Digital Citizenship. I had examined Open Education with Ribble’s 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship in mind.
Past Questions such as: What are the ethics of content that is available to all? (Rights and Responsibilities) or How do we natigate crediting and sharing sources when they are free – and does free mean the same thing as shareable? (Digital Law).
This week, although we discussed a topic I already felt quite familiar with, the presentation – and the accompanying videos helped me to look at Open Education in a new way, as a Culture of Sharing.
To begin, Alec mentioned a quote that described Open Source Communities as “high performance collaboration”. This shifted my considerations from Open Education simply meaning content that is available to all without transaction to open source information, technology, software, or platforms where people can collaborate to not only access information but to take information and make it something new.
Maybe this is a weird comparison but the example that popped into my head as Alec was speaking about open source products was a documentary I recently watched on Netflix called High Score (2020) that among other things examined the creators of the video game Doom. In their interview with creators they discussed how online game play not only changed the face of video games, but the creators took it one step further by “fully opening the game and giving out information on how levels were created” thereby allowing tech savy players to “mod” their game. Players could add new graphics, levels, sounds, and weapons to create a whole new- personalized Doom experience. Now of course this of course is not fully open source education (players had to purchase the paid version of the game before they could mod it) but the tenet of collaboration to create something totally new was definitely honoured in this experience.
This gave way to knew questions such as: What else could have been gained or created more video game or software creators subscribed to a “gift” culture or a culture of sharing without any payment at all?
The next part of the lecture that really got me was the paraphrased quote from Gladwell about a “Strength in weak ties”. I know that I have said many times that the single most meaningful experience I have had from my EC&I tech focused classes was the network of learners I have created on Twitter. I have been made to think deeply, gathered inspiration from and been given resources by people I have met over a single tweet. Open education can certainly take place over large scale platforms with more professional content that you can save, share, update and edit for your own needs – but I would argue it also takes place in a much more informal manner almost constantly on Social Media Platforms.
Personally, my Major Learning Project would not be possible without the option of Open Education. There are a limited amount of fluent Heritage Michif speakers left within Canada, and of those – the vast majority are not people whom you would easily connect with over social media to ask questions and learn from. I am fortunate because of my past educational experiences and my current teaching role – I have access to speakers I can physically meet with. However, when I speak with my families during their intake interview the number one reason that they state for wanting their child in an Indigenous Language program is the fact that they do NOT have access to a fluent speaker in their life – and have no idea about how to get in contact with one. I see open education as a way to subvert that problem for people who want to learn something they feel is either rare, or quickly disappearing. At least it has been for me.
Some of the most helpful resources I have accessed in my language learning journey are not just the organizations (like the Gabriel Dumont Institute) that create resources for learners to access – but the individuals on their own language journies that have put out their own resources – and then stated they are open for adaptation for your own needs or to your own purpose. For example this incredibly through resource has been hugely impactful in my work to become conversational in Michif. They offer many examples of conversations, accompanying vocabulary and tons of helpful phonetic clues. Sometimes when you want to create something new – it’s wonderful to have all of the time consuming work compiled for your use.
How has Open Education impacted your own personal learning of – anything?!