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Open Education

Open Education
Reflections on the Future of Education.
(My own -that is).


Learning at University and on the Internet at the same time is hard for me to
integrate. It is an advantage to have chosen a University specialised in systems. I have a course of studies coordinator who is open to new technologies. She asked me to post this profile page on her new wiki experiment. It took me less than half an hour (*excuse me Stephen) to briefly put forward my ideas. A year of learning, online artifacts creation and future hopes on one page. And I owe that clarity to blogging; not a university.

Some ideas written in that wiki might be left aside as I continue my learning journey. I think these will probably not:


My Serendipitous Learning
My attitude in front of a screen has changed. I figure our students will face a future of information and communications change for which we cannot fully prepare them. Yet, we can give them tools and a glimpse of the digital literacies they will need for lifelong learning.
What I look for at University
I expect this Materials Design II course to help me go further in the search of theoretical substance to investigate what these ICT tools enable us to do in our classrooms. I hope this year I learn to integrate knowledge gained through formal and informal learning experiences; for I have found that both paths can be powerful enough to generate meaning, reflection and learning.

In search of integration patterns

I cannot speak of the future of education without the word "open" playing a key part.

Via the FOE attendr map, I landed again on Daniel Craig's blog. His post Why Peer-Reviewed Publishing?
invites to reflection on ranking academic journals.

Daniel says:
I have been thinking about this quite a bit over the last couple years, considering that I have a career ahead of me (hopefully) involving tenure review. However, I neither believe that traditional "high-quality" journals should have the power that they do over evaluation of academic prowess nor do I believe that they are the best place way to disseminate information. So, which direction do I go?

My comments
(on his post)
Openness of publication and access can make results rather messy -not to say overwhelming. Spotting good quality is becoming a complex task.

For the time-being, an article saved 140 times in del.icio.us does not speak about its potential academic value. It just states that 140 people have read it.

Perhaps sites like diigo, with shared annotated bookmarks and the possibility to trace the note writer to its webpage, could open room to find diamonds in the rough outside the recognised journals in any given field. Yahoo pipes also looks promising as you mentioned in another post.

Still, as much as technology may simplify the finding process, much remains to be done about learning what makes a contribution valuable. To become more autonomous readers and not just wait until authorities decide what should be read.

Academy culture tends to change slowly. Authority and stability are at the heart of its e
xistence. Should universities become more flexible, open, change altogether? Hard to predict their future.

Afterthoughts (or notes to self)
Where does that leave us teachers?
We will have to teach the separation of form,
content and context if we want students to manage the changing nature of knowledge and information sources. We will have to model reflection in front of our students. Show them how we find patterns in what we consider quality value. Account for the reading selection we bring to class.

How to assess this process?
The key is, perhaps, again in openness. Who will have the power to change or review the syllabus? How open are we to expose our designs to criticism from colleagues? How much value can be given to students' self-assessment of their work?

I do not have definite answers. I'm afraid I never will. One thing is certain. Reflecting on my practice used to be rather lonely. The activities going on in my class were mostly private -except for the odd observation. I fear that all knowledge I did not share before has been lost in my mind. Those ideas did not grow.

Publishing my thoughts has led me to know like-minded people who take me further. Now, I am on the winding road of spotting the good, the bad and the ugly of the Internet. And then how it all integrates with academic contexts.

Sigh.

I hope I am on the right track.

....................
* I read Things you Really Need to Learn on Half an Hour last night. A gem indeed. My favourite post on the future of education. No comments. Just re-read and nodded.

Picture credits:
SimplySchmoopie
joannamkay (her edublog pic)
ChrisCampbell(last 2 pics)

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Claudia,
You say, "Publishing my thoughts has led me to know like-minded people who take me further."
Well I would like you to know that you have become one of those people who 'takes me further' on my journey. Thank You!
It is natural this time of year to think of what could have been... how much more we could have offered our students... this is a reflective journey that can indeed be lonely.
It is great to have internet friends, such as you, that blog about their learning. The journey is no longer serendipitous, it is intentional, meaningful, and above all shared!
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to finish reading "Things you Really Need to Learn" by Stephen Downes... one of my internet friends/teachers has sent me on another learning journey;-)

David,

You just captured my mood behind the writing. Lessons in Argentina start in March and finish in November. However, I am about to finish my semester at University (as a student). There is an inner reflection journey going on in my head.

I want to thank you for letting your visits here permeate your posts. That definitely takes my mind to new lands I had not explored.

By the way, it was you who taught me the word 'serendipitous' on a comment here. I had not come across the term (or the experience of it)inside a classroom.

Of course you are excused for going back to Stephen. I'm planning to go back to that post myself. Several times.

Hi Claudia,

Sorry I hadn't caught your post long ago. I didn't know that anyone ever read my blog :)

A year later I'm still questioning what is considered valuable publication. Of course that might be because I've spent a couple years shopping a manuscript around to traditional publications :) (still doing rewrites).

I really do see the niche that these publications fill. They are gatekeepers. They deem work worthy (by virtue of publication). They do the deciding for us, when many of us won't or can't decide for ourselves. They are also a common repository, where members of a specialization can gather and connect through the published works.

The problem still arises, however, that much of what is published is "good" ONLY by virtue of being published. A couple people said, "sure let them through." I don't know who these people are, but I would like to. I don't know about you, but many academics that I've met (and worked with) have very different ideas than I do about what qualifies as good research. I've know reviewers for CALL journals think that CALL is about discussion forums. In other words, they have a very limited view of the field. I wouldn't want them judging my work.

Alas, this is the system that we work in. I'm playing the game until I can better set the agenda (delusions of a successful career? :)

Take care,
Dan

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