October 21, 2021
These days of being globally connected, I quite often come back to the image of viewing the world from a more anchored position like a lawn (lawn is actually not the right word here, rather a bundle of grass slightly higher than surrounding, in Swedish called ‘grästuva’). A Swedish author Harry Martinsson wrote a book titled just that, ‘View from a lawn’ (‘Utsikter från en grästuva’) where he observe the microcosm of straw and insects around him, but also at times gaze towards the horizon and reflects over the beauty of the clouds hanging over the tree tops. He reminds us of how the world can be seen from lower positions, identifying and acknowledging what’s just around you, beneath you. You might miss the most essential wisdom and knowledge if you lose those perspectives. Openness in a delimited area.
The present task (task 2) is about open resources and open learning activities. It’s presented as something that we should know about and have a relation to. I don’t really.
I can say that when I think of myself as a student, I would not have been so keen on this self guided teaching and learning. I would dare to say that it wouldn’t have suited me very well at all. I have already touched upon this in previous posts, but I think the vagueness (my view) of this pedagogic approach would have got me quite frustrated and even irritated. Now I’m somewhat more mature and of course I see the advantages of departing from the idea of students being more of a carrier of their learning process. Or rather, to look upon it as collaborative activity, something many contribute to.
But the workshop/presentation today with Maha Bali was interesting and gave more food to thoughts. Maha presented her ideas around how open educational practices/resources and open pedagogy could serve social justice.
Maha Bali presented her ideas on openness being more of an attitude or world view beyond technical definitions of openness such as open access. Looking for a personal entrance myself to this concept and idea I found her characteristics of open selves interesting. That would be an editable person, having inward openness to change based on interaction with others. Other traits of open selves would be making ourselves vulnerable and constantly negotiating knowledge.
The session was quite interactive, proving a bit what she actually meant and have put forward in her writings. But again I ask myself in what way these efforts to make the session interactive and more social enhances the outcome as far as learning and understanding. Is it effective or just fun? We were sent to break out rooms and as it happened the three of us there were actually all a bit skeptical. One of us wondered how teaching in engineering need to consider the building of democracy and social justice. Why need education expand beyond its actual curricula and become the enabler of all type of social and personal developments.
But of course, we like the general idea of being open, to be generous and share. But how and when did we agree upon that the resources (platforms, resources, tools and arenas) offered through internet represent this openness? I don’t think even my 21 year old son that grew up with having these resources as part of his reality would consider it to be fundamental for his life and learning. I’m also not sure he would agree that open equals net based activities.
Sorry for being a bit creaking and whiny. I like what we are doing in this course, maybe I’m just doing what has been said to be most important task for a teacher when learners make use of everything ‘thats out there’, to be critical!