What is Openness?

Over on week 1 of P2PU Why Open? course the question is:

What do you think “openness” is? Focusing on your own field or context (if you wish), describe what it means to do work openly, or to make one’s activity or artifacts open. Alternatively, you could talk about what you think “openness” means generally, what sort of definition might fit all open activities or works.

What follows are some rather scrappy notes on my first reactions to the question. I’ve blogged a bit about openness before too.

Blogging in the Open

My own field is education, I am a primary teacher now involved in staff development and ict support. To work openly means to me several things:

  • To be able to publish my thoughts and idea without permission (limited by social norms, employment and the law).
  • To put things in my own space not to be tied down to a silo or format.
  • To be able to sink or swim in the internet ocean, the majority of my posts here sink, a few tweets and then down to the Davy Jones locker of archived posts. But that allows me to write what I like, no one is paying for it.
  • For pupils as well as teachers and everyone else there can be amazing connections made by being out in the open online. Here is a video I made for Alan Levine’s True Stories of Open Sharing to give examples of the benefits of working in the open, where I describe one example of goodness that came to my class of 10 year olds by working in the open.

Apologies for the quality of the video, made in too much of a hurry.

Playing in the Open

To play openly is just as important to me, I learn about my field of interest in education, the digital, by playing. Playing in the open give me the same gains as listed above but emphasises:

  • The ability to play freely with others, sharing ideas, copying, riffing and remixing.
  • Talking across domains, I am learning/playing with psychologists, artists, teachers without worrying too much about labels. Being in the open leads to serendipitous connections that would not be made if we kept our activity or artefacts in walled gardens, or our own hard drives.

I’ve a rather long post lurking in my mind about the learning I’ve being doing around GIF FIGHT!!. On the surface a rather silly game of creating gifs played among people who should know better. It turns out I’ve learned more about manipulating graphics than in numerous unfinished tutorials. In addition I’ve learned a lot about learning through play, interacting online and how I learn myself.

Emblem 1.4

More Seriously

Open education can promote knowledge transfer while at the same time enhancing quality and sustainability, supporting social inclusion, and creating a culture of inter-institutional collaboration and sharing.  In addition, open education can expand access to education, widen participation, create new opportunities for the next generation of teachers and learners and prepare them to become fully engaged digital citizens.

from: Scottish Open Education Declaration seems about right to me.

Recently I’ve been challenged a bit about the idea of open being the preferred mode of working online, I am hoping that if I stick to the Why Open? course I’ll be able t ogive less anecdotal answers.