Topic #4: The Open Movement – Open Access, OERs & Future of Education

Education is the simple and powerful idea that the world’s knowledge is
a public good and that technology in general and the Worldwide Web in
particular provide an extraordinary opportunity for everyone to share,
use, and reuse knowledge.” ~
The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation

teaching has been a selfish profession with schools and teachers
protective of the programs they have created. This is because, according
Knowles, “Adults
prefer the tried and true… they are reluctant to try new materials”.
They are also highly suspicious, afraid of sharing under the pretense
that it may be used to judge their ability in the classroom. This
insular way of thinking can lead to educators becoming stagnant as they
grow comfortable with their lot and constantly pull out the same tired
old programs they have had success with in the past without adjusting
them to suit the needs of individual students. It is my personal belief,
however, that by putting yourself out there you open yourself up for
criticism (oh no!) which can lead to self reflection and improvement
(yay!). By sharing in an open forum you are also exposed to the
handiwork of like-minded people and can utilise their ideas to further
develop your own practices. It is a big part of why I signed up to
Twitter and, through that forum, decided to participate in Etmooc (even
if I feel as though teaching takes me away from opportunities to learn
in this course; the time demands of marking, planning, etc. being one of
the reasons I have only scraped the surface of much of the
content/topics made available to us).

how exactly do I feel about the open movement, specifically that
relating to education? I honestly love the idea but my imagination isn’t
strong enough to create a future where it is possible. Mostly it’s
because the Western world is a capitalist one. If the move to open
source education were undertaken on a major scope then where do
universities recoup the revenue? Is web based advertising enough to
replace the hundreds of fee paying students? Or, do you make the
learning free and available to everybody but the qualification comes at a
cost? This is, after all, what Google had done with their
certifications for teachers – you have access to all of the course
materials for free but you must pay to sit the examination. And then, is
this truly open? I think the best we can hope for is Sugata Mitra’s
School in the Cloud.
Call it SOLE or PBL, call it whatever you like, the goal is to make
education more available so that all walks of life have access to it.