Navigating the Marvellous: Openness in Education - #altc 2014


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Keynote presentation for #ALTC 2014. A fuller link to video & a summary of the keynote is here:

Abstract: Inspired by a Seamus Heaney poem (Lightenings viii), I’ll explore “navigating the marvellous”, the challenge of embracing open practices, of being open, in higher education, from the perspective of educators and students, citizens and policy makers. To be in higher education is to learn in two worlds: the open world of informal learning and networked connections, and the predominantly closed world of the institution. As higher education moves slowly, warily, and unevenly towards openness, students deal daily with the dissonance between these two worlds; navigating their own paths between them, and developing different skills, practices, and identities in the various learning spaces which they visit and inhabit. Educators also make daily choices about the extent to which they teach, share their work, and interact, with students and others, in bounded and open spaces. How might we construct and navigate Third Spaces of learning, not formal or informal but combined spaces where connections are made between students and educators (across all sectors), scholars, thinkers, and citizens — and where a range of identities and literacy practices are welcomed? And if, as Joi Ito has said, openness is a survival trait for the future, how do we facilitate this process of “opening education”? The task is one not just of changing practices but of culture change; we can learn much from other movements for justice, equality and social change.

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  • This is one of the best definitions I’ve seen of Education… and how open, networked practices are changing, and will change education.

    Not connected/limited by geography, space, time... but connected by our own ideas, passion, commitment via open practices & social media.

    QUESTION: How best can I help my students to live & thrive in this world?

    …this informs my practice (learning, teaching, research)
  • Rainie & Wellman: developed Castell’s concept of Networked Individualism

    Manuel Castells: “morphology of contemporary societies is the network.” - previous sociological models defined by hierarchies and 1-to-many communication patterns declining in importance.

    Info & Comm Ecologies strikingly different..
    Social Networks – networks vs. groups
    INTERNET – baked-in ethic of openness & innovation
    MOBILE – affects our sense of Time & Place… + Presence
  • Transformation in <10 years (ALL AGES!)

    We are all Networked Individuals (whether FB, Twitter, Skype)… Networked Learners.
    Google, Wikipedia, YouTube (many things are students are counseled NOT to do!)

    Unfortunately, many of our students (NIs) rarely get the opportunity to learn & develop their skills for networking & networked learning within formal education.
    In all our attempts to build learning platforms, to tame the wild & open web, we may be reinforcing a lesson with unintended & negative consequences…
  • There is a DIVIDE between Informal & Formal Learning
  • Students must navigate the dissonance between these:
    Informal / everyday / open
    Formal / institutional / bounded

    Our message: Don’t rely on Google. Don’t use Wikipedia.
    Discuss in forum in VLE (which will disappear in 3 months…)
    Here are 6 videos & 12 readings to use…

    Curation & Structure… but we mustn’t stop there!!
  • Excellent DV/DR work…
  • Title… borrows a metaphor from Seamus Heaney.
    Heaney wrote a beautiful multi-verse poem (1991Seeing Things)
    Definition… Lightening: To make light, illuminate or brighten.

    Based on an ancient Irish legend about monks in Clonmacnoise, amazed to see a ship in the sky above them.
    Anchor line got caught, a crew member climbed down… could not breathe + was helped to return to “the sea” above.
    The legend highlights the existence of (at least) two realities, with beings in one space often unaware of and unable to survive in the other.

  • Learning Spaces in HE  consider the different spaces where students + educators interact. We, of course, are active in many spaces – both physical + virtual – as are our students (e.g. multiple FB groups, various SM apps, blogs, etc).
  • 8 years ago, Alec Couros created this
    even by mid-2000s, the way educators learn + teach + share was changing – due to the ability to network openly, with access to a huge amount of content and people – globally.
    Of course it’s not just teachers who are networked individuals…
  • Focus here is not on choices *between* these (many of us use all 3)… but to consider/explore all 3…
    Q: What happens in these spaces?
    Q: What’s possible in these spaces?

    Physical spaces = safe spaces for learners to develop & to share – with teacher, sometimes one another.
    Group  dialogue, collaboration
    Create Community
    Bodily markers

    BUT!! Time & Space, asset for building community  also barriers
  • BUT!!
    “Tyranny of the Architecture” – History – Tradition

    Q: Whose voice is privileged?
    Q: Whose K is privileged?
    Possible to build a community of learners in places like these, but challenging IF we limit ourselves to JUST these.

  • BOS:
    Online architecture, bits / atoms, flexible
    Fewer temporal constraints (e.g. asynchronous) – though still semester-bound
    Fewer identity markers  work by Jen Ross & Sian Bayne re: embodied vs. virtual teaching

    BOS Challenges:
    Private & closed
    In a typically configured VLE  teacher/instructor is literally privileged

    Solutions are likely to be multimodal
    Build trust, build relationships… mess, challenging
    Cross boundaries  temporal, spatial, geography, culture, institution, education sector
  • BOS:
    Connected, but we cannot simultaneously share our community with our networks – combine them – share our work with wider audience. MESSAGE: what we do here is separate from all else we do; Formal learning divorced from rather than integrated with Informal learning practices and literacies.
    Enable NETWORKED / CONNECTED learning
    Organising principle is the network
    Open… share In/Out and Out/In (share our networks)
    Distributed discussions: Students, scholars, independent thinkers
  • Let’s not conflate Open and MOOCs.
    Purposeful open practices in conventional classroom & online courses can help students to create their own meaning, in authentic contexts.
  • Ask students! (Humility again…)
  • And... a reflection on Khan Academy.
  • Participate openly as a community of learners.
    Use the group to leverage the power of the network.
  • #icollab = community of practice students & lecturers in 7 HE courses, at 7 different institutions, across 6 countries, who are studying – and creating -- mobile & social media

    P2P sharing (e.g.
  • Visualisation of network connections around hashtag #icollab.

    The tool is TAGS Explorer, created by Martin Hawksey – enables visualisation of network connections.

    Distributed discussions: Students, scholars, independent thinkers…

    Purposeful, Related to learning & assessment

    cross boundaries  geography, culture, institution, term time

  • IDENTITY! we continually create/develop our identities, in interactions with others
    “We create, maintain & revise… the story of who we are.” (negotiate)
    Present different facets of our IDs in different contexts.

    DIGITAL IDENTITY = online persona
    This photos captures some of the ambivalence that many of us feel about our digital identities. (relevant to online interactions)

  • Most students come to HE with online identities related to their interests outside school and university.
    HOMAGO (Mimi Ito) –
    Many students already have a confident social online identity – around their friends, their interests, etc. – and use various online identities for interacting and informal learning.

    …but developing an identity as a learner, a writer, a scholar, a citizen…. these are important tasks as part of education.
    As educators we have a role in supporting students in developing their digital identities, to support lifelong learning, to model good practices in these online spaces.
  • Simplistic to assume that a pseudonym & avatar in SM is artificial or in authentic. It can be a way of expressing authenticity that is not possible in other contexts.
  • Many metaphors used by researchers exploring these ideas… liminality, metaxis, 3P, 3S (and 4P, 4S!).

    3S = metaphorical space, an environment for cultural hybridity, open discourse, knowledge and experience sharing and reflection.
     3S = hybrid space, i.e. networked, bridged, dynamic, multimodal, open (time-space)
    “in-between” space where the negotiation of different cultures occurs  

  • “Third Spaces” of Learning - Kris Gutiérrez
    (study of literacy practices in primary school language learning context)

    Knowledge NOT = Curriculum
    Knowledge = “a living landscape of communities of practice that contribute in various ways” to our learning and to our identities
  • OOS = 3S = hybrid activity that bridges the official & unofficial spaces of both learning… formal and informal.
  • 3S = hybrid activity that bridges the official + unofficial spaces of both learning… formal + informal.
    Transformative space  not limited by rigid identities
    Learn across temporal, spatial & historical dimensions
    Students can reconceive who they are!

    Educators & Students interacting in Open Online Spaces:
    Potential to be “social peers”
    Develop new identities – social & civic identities, as well as learner identities
  • Negotiating productive identities… students bringing their identities, developing them.

  • We are living through a moment of great change in education. EDUCATORS and STUDENTS must be involved in creating more flexible, networked & open educ.

    We need to move towards our students.
    Colum McCann (Irish author): “We have to build our half of the bridge… no matter who or where we happen to be.”
  • Navigating the Marvellous: Openness in Education - #altc 2014

    1. Navigating the Marvellous: Openness in Education Catherine Cronin  @catherinecronin  #altc  2nd Sept 2014 Image: CC BY-NC 2.0 owaief89
    2. open divide spaces identity
    3. open divide spaces identity
    4. Education is inherently an ethical and political act. Michael Apple
    5. Public domain: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, U.S. News & World Report Magazine Collection ppmsca.04295 CC BY Burns Library, Boston College (Flickr)
    6. Image: CC BY 2.0 dlofink
    7. At its best openness is an ethos not a license. It's an approach to teaching and learning that builds a community of learners online and off. Jim Groom @jimgroom “
    8. Image: CC BY-SA 2.0 cogdog Openness: hubris or humility?
    9. “I don’t think education is about centralized instruction anymore; rather, it is the process [of] establishing oneself as a node in a broad network of distributed creativity.” – Joi Ito @joi Slide: CC-BY-SA catherinecronin Image: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 yobink
    10. Networked Individualism Social Networks Internet Mobile
    11. 2005 2013 Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 2005-2013
    12. open divide spaces identity
    13. There is a divide between formal and informal learning. Students navigate the dissonance between these – with or without our support.
    14. …furtive thinking and behaviour around open-web resources such as Wikipedia masks the level of use of non-traditional resources and also masks the methods learners use to increase their understanding of subjects, creating what we have called The Learning Black Market. The point at which learning takes place is often not being discussed because either explicitly or implicitly learners are being told by their educational intuitions or perceive that the educational institutions view that their information-seeking practices are not legitimate. David White, Lynn S. Connaway, Donna Lanclos, Erin M. Hood & Carrie Vass Evaluating digital services: a Visitors and Residents approach, JISC InfoNet “
    15. Seamus Heaney Lightenings viii - video by Eoghan Kidney
    16. open divide spaces identity
    17. Networked Teacher Image: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Alec Couros
    18. Networked Educators Networked Students Physical Spaces Bounded Online Spaces Open Online Spaces
    19. CC images: cdessums, infidelic, sholeh!
    20. Networked Educators Networked Students Physical Spaces Bounded Online Spaces Open Online Spaces
    21. Networked Educators Networked Students Physical Spaces Bounded Online Spaces Open Online Spaces
    22. open divide spaces identity
    23. Khan Academy... #studentvoice Strange putting a face to the voice of my first year maths lecturer! Khan Academy is possibly one of the most useful sources for students studying maths. The idea is simple, If you don't understand the first time you watch it... watch it again. “
    24. @CT231 #ct231
    25. #icollab We’re now looking at the ‘tag-team model’ of education: the projects never end, as there is always a cohort to carry on, and lead into the next group, and when they overlap that’s great – that’s where the genuine collaboration happens. Traditionally, we deliver modules/courses, neatly chunked into 12 weeks, with units of assessment, leading to grades etc. and that’s the way things are (generally) done. I’m not saying scrap all of that, but I do think that modules are best served as springboards to other things. Increasingly, students are connecting across levels and cohorts through Twitter and now we have ex-students getting together with current students, undergrads coming to postgrad classes (and vice versa) as they’ve connected online and have a genuine interest in getting involved in other groups/further curricula outside of their taught modules.” Helen Keegan (2012) @heloukee “
    26. #icollab TAGSExplorer thanks to @mhawksey
    27. Individuals, students and educators, can be nodes in a network. Groups and learning communities also can be nodes, e.g. via #hashtags.
    28. HE – primary school collaboration @msokeeffesclass effesclass-visit-to-nuig
    29. Youth Media Team @YMTfm
    30. Coder Dojo @coderdojo
    32. #studentvoice
    33. #studentvoice Openness... “ I learned a lot more about writing to the public. Before this I would have been less likely to express my views to a group of people online whereas now I would not have a problem in doing so. By posting publicly it opened up our world to other academics or people who are just interested in the topic... I don’t think anyone would have thought that the author of one of the works we were researching would get involved. “
    34. #studentvoice Social networks... “ “ Before studying it, I used Facebook and Twitter mainly just for keeping in contact with people, but since have discovered they both have much more to offer. They are places to discover new information and boost your knowledge. That both education and socialising can be rolled into one.
    35. Open practices give us and our students opportunities to cross boundaries of geography, culture, institution, term, education sector, community, and/or power level…
    36. open divide spaces identity
    37. Image: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Frederic Poirot digital identity
    38. Image: CC BY 2.0 davitydave
    39. DigiLit Leicester Working to improve learner outcomes and raise standards in secondary level schools across Leicester through design & implementation of a digital literacy framework for secondary school staff. Josie Fraser, Richard Hall & Lucy Atkins
    40. As studies become more contextualised it seems that the real lesson of online identity is not that it transforms identity but that it makes us more aware that offline identity was already more multiple, culturally contingent and contextual than we had appreciated. Danny Miller (2013) @dannyanth Photo by George Miller (used with permission) “
    41. Alearning space not THEspace
    42. We proposed the idea of a Third Space where teacher and student scripts – the formal and informal, the official and unofficial spaces of the learning environment – intersect, creating the potential for authentic interaction and a shift in the social organization of learning and what counts as knowledge. Kris Gutiérrez (2008) University of Colorado, Boulder “
    43. People live their lives and learn across multiple settings, and this holds true not only across the span of our lives but also across and within the institutions and communities they inhabit... I take an approach that urges me to consider the significant overlap across these boundaries as people, tools, and practices travel through different and even contradictory contexts and activities . Gutiérrez (2008) “
    44. Networked Educators Networked Students Physical Spaces Bounded Online Spaces Open Online Spaces
    45. If institutions of learning are going to help learners with the real challenges they face... [they] will have to shift their focus from imparting curriculum to supporting the negotiation of productive identities through landscapes of practices. Etienne Wenger (2010) CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 choconancy1 “
    46. Manifesto for teaching online MSc in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh By redefining connection, we find we can make eye contact online. Place is differently, not less, important online. Community and contact drive good online learning. …
    47. There’s a risk that online education systems get tooled to “the norm” – a roaming autodidact a self-motivated, able learner that is simultan-eously embedded in technocratic futures and disembedded from place, culture, history, and markets. Tressie McMillan Cottom (2014) “
    48. Learners need to practice and experiment with different ways of enacting their identities, and adopt subject positions through different social technologies and media. These opportunities can only be supported by academic staff who are themselves engaged in digital practices and questioning their own relationship with knowledge. - Keri Facer & Neil Selwyn (2010)
    49. open divide spaces identity
    50. navigating the marvellous…
    51. #YesAllWomen
    52. of-colour-being-othered
    53. Gardner Campbell – Ecologies of Yearning Openness [is] process, not product after all. It’s not so much the what we learn but the how and the who with and the why we do so… it’s not so much about “open” as an adjective to describe education; rather it’s “opening” as a verb to describe what we must do. What we want students, learners, all of us, to do. Audrey Watters (2012) “
    54. “We have to build our half of the bridge…” Colum McCann Image: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Tim Haynes
    55. Thank you! Catherine Cronin @catherinecronin Image: CC BY 2.0 visualpanic
    56. References Apple, Michael (1990). Foreword. In S.G. O’Malley, R.C. Rosen & L. Vogt (Eds.) Politics of Education: Essays from Radical Teacher. State University of New York Press. Atkins, L., Fraser, J. and Hall, R. (2014) DigiLit Leicester: Project Activities Report, Leicester: Leicester City Council (CC BY-NC 3.0). Cottom, Tressie McMillan (2014). Roundup of Berkman Center Notes & Reflections. Cronin, Catherine (2014). Networked learning and identity development in open online spaces. 9th international Networked Learning Conference, Edinburgh. Facer, Keri & Selwyn, Neil (2010). Social networking: Key messages from the research. In R. Sharpe, H. Beetham & S. de Freitas (Eds.) Rethinking Learning For A Digital Age. Routledge. Gutiérrez, Kris D. (2008). Developing a sociocritical literacy in the Third Space. Reading Research Quarterly, 43(2), 148-164. Heaney, Seamus (1991) Lightenings viii, Seeing Things. Faber and Faber. Ito, Joi (2011, December 5). In an open-source society, innovating by the seat of our pants. The New York Times. Keegan, Helen (2012). A new academic year: global, connected, creative – and not (quite) a MOOC. Miller, Danny (2013). Future Identities report. Foresight Project, DR2. Pew Research Internet Project (2013). Social Media Update 2013. Rainie, Lee & Wellman, Barry (2012). Networked: The new social operating system. MIT Press. Watters, Audrey (2012). Gardner Campbell, J. Alfred Prufock, and the Ecologies of Yearning. hackeducation Wenger, Etienne (2010). Knowledgeability in Landscapes of Practice SRHE Conference 2010. In deFreitas & Jameson, Eds. (2012) The e-Learning Reader.
    57. Additional Resources
    58. #connectedcourses
    61. Reclaim Open Learning “Showcases innovation that brings together the best of truly open, online and networked learning in the wilds of the Internet, with the expertise represented by institutions of higher education.”
    62. Reclaim Open Learning Challenge 2013
    63. Open Mercia @OpenMercia Collaboration by developers, data analysts and policy advisors – from the public sector, voluntary sector, academia and technology SMEs; Interested in encouraging openness by default and with specific reference to data, encouraging the release and use of open data for social, economic and environmental benefit.