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One of the most enjoyable and inspiring books I have read this year has been Sir Ken Robinson's "Out of our Minds"  and my ref...

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

The invisible permaculture of learning and teaching.

The importance of open educational practice.
I'm no artist as you can see on this my first attempt to sketch the role of open educational practice in supporting the sustainability of teaching using open educational resources. Clearly the image borrows from the water cycle. Admittedly it is stretching the analogy a little, the earth's natural climate is not driving this, rather it shows how the agency of individual practitioners can drive the sustainability of learning resources. OERs on their own would repose in their repository, we would see the sunlight glint from their surface and congratulate ourselves on a sea of wonderful "content". However, once practitioners get involved in the uptake, remixing, improving and shring of OERs, then the magic can really happen. Not only do the resources become more visible, moving further into the landscape. As they travel they bring new life, new connections between practitioners, new ideas, new ways of working. A vital tool in this permaculture is provided to the practitioners in the form of Creative Commons licences.

A culture of sharing has long existed in schools, the workload is intense and collegiality important in order to thrive. However, sharing a worksheet with a colleague does not always transfer to the digital domain. Back in 2009 my friend Kate Borthwick presented the results of work which was undertaken in the then languages subject centre around a repository called Language Box. A key difference in the interface of this system was the understanding that sharing is a social practice, it works best when we know who we are sharing with, when we get feedback and accreditation for our work. This emotional aspect, very familiar to those who engage with social media, seemed to increase the engagement of students who pilotted the resources, they were more likely to comment and remix the resources. 

Today I was able to participate in a Virtually Connecting session with participants in the #digped conference in the USA. This is another great way to use technology to embrace the human need to connect with others and thus enhance and intensify the international connections and discussions around teaching and learning in the age of the internet. I had been following the #digped discussions on twitter and it was clear to me that these folk (many of whom I was already following on twitter) share my passion for the intelligent use of technology and the use of a critical digital lens when implementing learning technologies. fortunately my social media skills are greater than my sketching so I will be actively continuing my sharing with these folk with the aim of ensuring that the digital agenda is not dominated by the "solution providers" who will be selling their AI driven systems as ways to save money in education but by the nature of human interactions which are so rich in often invisible or unseen ways.

As for the sketching, my PLN made me do it! Encouraged by them I will try new things, one day I may be a better sketchnoter, and even if that doesn't happen I will have confronted an aspect of my life that I neglected after a bad experience during my schooling. 

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Creative Commons Accreditation

This week I have started a 10 week course of study towards attaining accreditation in my use of Creative Commons licensing. I am joining a group of about 30 international educators who, like me, see the value of formalising our knowledge and skills in the area of open educational practice. According to our conversations on the course forum man, also like me, are asked about our use of CC licences and want to acquire a greater in depth understanding of the history and implementation of these tools when working online. 

The video above was created in response to the first assignment of the course. Made using Lumen 5 it uses images and music which is shared under CC licence, remixed to communicate a narrative which I hope resonates with many and shows why creative industries have much to gain by welcoming Creative Commons licencing to their activities. 

I am including in this blog post further factual detail around the history of the Creative Commons movement. I didn't wish to include these in the video as I wanted to keep the message simple and focus on the potential offered by CC to enrich our lives through digital creativity. Since much of human communication and activity is now facilitated through online activity thanks to the internet, it has become clear that the law around copyright is not sufficient to clarify our intentions when sharing online. Here are some of the landmarks on the road to clarifying the rights of all internet users:

  • 1998  Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA). The US extends the term of copyright to the life of the creator + 70 years (longer than that agreed in many other countries). Sometimes referred to as Mickey Mouse extension and you can see why in the copyright section here.

The existence of the global network that is Creative Commons, a movement which upholds open education and greater fairness for all has been of vital importance to my work as an educator and an open educational practitioner.