According to opensource.com “open education is a philosophy about the way people should produce, share, and build on knowledge.” Open education is something that I find both fascinating and exciting, and I have enjoyed learning about. So far, I see it as a way to remove the financial restrictions and other barriers that lots of people face and put the emphasis back on education. I think that only good things can come from this form of education, and the possibilities for improvements are endless.
One category of open education that excites me is looking at open participation. By removing the restrictions on courses more people would be able to participate, which would provide a higher diversity of students in the courses. I think that there are so many different perspectives out there that we can learn from, and by opening up who can take the courses you are allowing a greater difference of opinions, experiences, and understandings, which will lead to a more enriched and vibrant course. I just want to say, that the most important and impactful things I’ve learned throughout my education haven’t been from some old professor who has been teaching the same way for 40 years…
I also loved learning about open permissions. I had heard about creative commons licenses, but never really understood what they were. If you want to learn more about creative commons licenses, you can read about them here. I think that by using openly licensed materials, we can encourage our students to engage with and create more meaning from the information. This would also mean that the information we are interacting with is constantly growing and improving. I love the idea that anyone can take something, make it their own, make it better, and then share it to the world so that they can benefit as well. I think that this ideology greatly reflects the teaching profession and that it should be mirrored in the information we choose to share with our students.
Furthermore, I think that open pedagogy is the very basis of good teaching. I agree with Jesse Stommel in this article, in that we want our students to be creators of knowledge not just consumers of it. Especially in today’s world, when technology is changing faster than we can keep up, it is incredibly important for our students to be able to take control of their learning and make meaning for themselves. I think that BC’s new curriculum goes hand in hand with open pedagogy, as it encourages students to take responsibility and be leaders in their education.
Overall, I agreed with a lot of the categories of open education. I think that information is constantly changing, and having open education allows us to better keep up with the changes taking place. I think that it eliminates the financial burdens and other barriers people may face and focuses on fair and open education for all people.
As an elementary school educator, I think that the opportunities for improvements exist for us as well. When I did a quick google search, I was impressed to find that even the British Columbia government website had a section on open education resources, which can be found here. I find it quite interesting that I made it through an entire undergraduate degree in education before coming across these free resources and tools that support K-12 students. It makes me wonder if we are truly taking advantage of the possibilities that open education provides us.
When looking into it even further, I also came across this video on Edutopia.com:
I think this does a magnificent job explaining why open education is so important. My favourite part of the video is when they say that “OER’s are so critically important because they unlock the full technological power of the internet. Everything the internet enables, OER allows, and with OER resources, for the first time in history, mankind truly has the power to democratize education.” I find this quote to be quite moving, as it makes you realize what technology can help us to achieve, if only we allow it. Yet, we are limited by what sorts of information we are providing to our students. I think that through open resources, the world opens up and we can progress so much further than before.
So, my question is, why haven’t we moved towards open education? Is it because we don’t know how to? Is it because there aren’t enough resources out there? Is it because we’re scared it’s not going to be as effective as our old methods? Because, to me, it seems like the better option. Especially compared to forcing someone to choose whether to buy themselves dinner or to buy that $500 textbook they’re only going to use for one semester…
***This blog post was originally posted here, and has since been revised and added to***
Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/vectors/pixel-cells-pixel-learn-3674125/