Group One: Open Access Wiki Notes

88514759_cbe81239ab_t.jpg Access to high-quality education for all, and the role of open content in providing such access.
If high-quality education is to be available for all, it must be affordable and easy to access. One practice that can support this is the use of open content. Open content is any material that is licensed in such a way as to facilitate its reproduction and use. In education, open content offers alternatives to expensive textbooks and enables collaborative construction of learning materials. Open content resources can be accessed freely and can often be updated or edited by the user community, ensuring that the resources remain current as new information is found.

Please consider any five of the following questions as you explore the theme of open content and its role in access to education for all:

1. Who are the producers of the content? Who maintains content once it is produced?

Learners and potentially the traditional content developers: instructors, instruct. designers. "audience formerly known as learners." The audience is on the stage.
The learners and their guides would maintain the content, with quality and relevance assurance. The content is everyone's responsibility. Learning happens through producing the content. Interested in evolving structure out of wiki style environment. The Afghan perspective ... great enthusiasm for student directed learning after they've been exposed to this model, a model different from memorization and regurgitated opinions. The typical model in Middle East is to sit still, offer no dissenting opinions, merely memorized content. Many ethnic/religious minorities are having their culture expunged by not having access to education unless or until they decide to reiterate majority culture. Open culture of Internet has opened many eyes to value and need for tolerance.

Openness means democratic participation, but there's also the issue of quality control. Teachers, especially, need to be able to verify content is high quality, well organized. Importance of metadata as well, to be able to find the appropriate content. Problem is not creation of content but evaluation of content. Can some of this evaluation be socially done, with social ratings, number of downloads, etc.

A publish then filter model could be great, with experts filtering but not gatekeeping. The sciences will be particularly skeptical, however, as they rightly worry about the dangers of junk science and other false information being circulated.

Blogging is crucial in repressive circumstances--the Internet may be the only open source of information in certain situations. But the openness also creates problems, as the repressive agents begin to flood the open channels with their own misinformation and propaganda. The strategy here is to engage in cyberwar, to meet the misinformation with more and more blogging and tweeting activity that presents more open and tolerant points of view. Great paradoxes and ironies here. How to meet these challenges? Perhaps openness is not THE answer, but the best way to ensure opportunities for all to participate, and the hope that the good will outweigh the bad, even though the bad will be more fully tolerated and empowered by their access to the open platform.

The need for authority and expertise will not go away, but the relationship between expert and student will become more personal and less authoritative.

Question of maintenance emerges: combination of metatag plus social ranking?

What if we had a United Nations of Education, with some agreed upon practices and standards? how might this be different from the currently available set of free Internet resources.

What about maintenance? Will models like Wikipedia's emerge? Who will be responsible for the content, keeping it fresh, evolving, accessible

2010 in Denmark ... a testing scenario in which students are examined while having full access to the Internet. The test is then not timed writing but evaluation, synthesizing, etc. Evaluation becomes a core competency.


2. What are the implications for traditional academic practices like admissions, outreach, skills assessment, and so on?

What tests will be appropriate to measure life experience, alternate educational experiences, admissions competencies, etc. Admissions are a problem in Spain ... no easy way to accept credits and degrees from other schools. Competencies in newer programs are not the same as in traditional programs, so what will be measured will vary from program to program. UOC admissions are just legal ones, not with other requirements as well. Perhaps the idea is that everyone has access, but what you end up with depends on outcomes once you're in the system.

The credit hour has become the enemy of innovation. We will need to rethink how to transfer educational accomplishments from one learning environment to another. How to do this as students sample from content and experiences in a wide variety of settings?

What about E-Bay models of assessment-establishing a reputation. Assessment is tied to measuring contributions. Personalization by pieces offers one model. Students assess the stage below their own level, where "their level" represents the accomplishment they've demonstrated.

Important to remember that students can learn skills quickly if they have lots of practice at specific areas.



3. What else is needed to support access to education for all besides content?

Tutoring and support for specific skill training such as writing centers. Equal access to high quality technology and tools. Simple technologies and tools like the SMS affordances Jessica demonstrated. Culture, home, and circumstances ... need community and peer support. Infrastructure, tutoring, ways to get across major physical barriers to access and network connectivity, free Internet, culture of learning, big organizations and associations to demonstrate critical mass, visualizations of dynamic learning activity with lots of content of learning in process published to the Net. Against LMS....
Learning is not only content but interaction ... remember David Wiley's cautionary words here.
informal learning activities in museums, libraries, churches, orchestras, etc. Recognizing all the other learning communities.



4. How can success be measured?

Evaluating of person at outset and then at outcome. Visualize the beehive of activity that's going on in the environment. Not just a score on a private report card. How much of the open content generated would be reused ... how much uptake of these materials. Talent development ... perhaps standardized competency models can yield to models of individualized talent identification and development. How much pedagogical wraparound does the community produce ... if the school is successful, it will generate not only content but ways of thinking to and thinking about the learning as well.



5. What are the unique implications for the K-12 level? the postsecondary level? for lifelong or independent learners?

Developing competencies and thinking about achievement. Stop thinking of courses as containers limited in time and space. Not just knowledge but avenues to learning. What's missing from the knowledge is the pedagogical wraparound. If people are lurking and surfing around the web show a predisposition to learn, how do we develop a practice of learning with focus and generation. Content is infrastructure and needs organizing, but then again we need the pedagogical wraparound.

Use search and metadata to be able to mine the conversation surrounding the generation of content. Cf. Google Sidewiki. Multiple solutions to address multiple learning styles ...



6. What are the policy implications?

Privacy issues such as FERPA. E.G privacy flags for students in particular contexts. Registration of children to be sure we've provided equal access. Hundreds of millions of children in China have no birth certificate.


7. What are some promising examples? (please list URLs if possible)

Personalization by pieces.




8. What are some of the roadblocks?

Political roadblocks. Importance of change management ... don't just kitchen sink, but plot the path and include audience in the plotting of the path.



Action Steps

List the top three to five action steps that could be taken right now towards implementing this idea. Which people or organization(s) might be able to take each action?

1. Develop rich, effective systems of tagging and metadata so that proliferating open content can be identified, evaluated, discovered by means of search, etc.
2. Establish strategies (reflective blogging, metadata, documentation of process, visualization of learning, etc.) for linking content generation to "pedagogical wraparounds" that embed content within effective learning practices.
3. Recognize and leverage other examples of learning communities: museums, churches, orchestras, etc. To what extent can these organizations furnish examples of open learning environments from which we can learn? Also good for community outreach--schools embedded within other community learning practices.