Media Release: #OER17 The Politics of Open

Cross posted from OER17, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License by the Association for Learning Technology (ALT).

As we celebrate Open Education Week in the Year of Open, the OER17 Conference presents an opportunity for open practitioners, activists, educators and policy makers to come together as a community to reflect on ‘The Politics of Open’. The conference will be chaired by social and educational technologist and Wikimedia UK Trustee Josie Fraser, and Alek Tarkowski, Director of Centrum Cyfrowe, co-founder and coordinator of Creative Commons Poland.

This event will prompt participants from the UK and internationally to ask:

  • What are our current key challenges and strengths – locally, nationally, and  internationally?
  • What are our priorities – in terms of political governance, organisational and personal politics?
  • What are the changes that we want to effect together?

Co-chair Josie Fraser said: ‘This is a timely conference as governments and organisations across the globe look strategically at how open resources and open licensing can support access to education, reduce costs, help build capacity, and increase collaboration. There is still work to do in ensuring education funders, policy makers, leaders and practitioners understand the huge opportunity of open education. Open education advocates and activists have always put accessibility at the heart of their work – looking to support access to knowledge and resources for all, tackling issues of disability, discrimination and poverty head-on. This conference is an important meeting of all those working at the frontline of education, technology, and equality – exploring “the politics of open” at local, national, international level, as well as at the level of the personal.’

Alek Tarkowski, Co-Chair, said: ‘One of our goals is to look together at areas where our work on open education can extend beyond a focus on resources. An alternative focus on practices will surely be one of the main subjects of debate at our event, but we also hope to identify other such areas. One area that is of particular interest to me is copyright reform. Educational exceptions are one of the key issues debated during the ongoing copyright reform process in the European Union. From the perspective of “politics of open” we need to ask how development of Open Education and copyright reform advocacy can compliment each other.’

Over two days this event will bring together 170 participants running 100 sessions on all aspects of Open Education research and practice. Highlights within the programme are three keynote sessions with Maha Bali, American University in Cairo, Egypt, Lucy Crompton-Reid, Wikimedia, UK and Diana Arce, activist, artist and researcher, Germany.

Reflecting on the central importance of openness in education, Dr Maren Deepwell, chief executive of the Association for Learning Technology, said, ‘At a time when openness is being contested in so many contexts, it can feel like the inherently political dimension of Open Education dominates its enormous practical potential to help us meet the challenges we face in education. It is important to remember that taking an open approach through practice, resources, governance and policy is not a luxury. Instead, it is an efficient, effective and often empowering way for organisations to achieve their aims.’

For full details see https://oer17.oerconf.org/.

Press passes

If you would like a press pass to attend the conference, please contact Maren Deepwell, maren.deepwell@alt.ac.uk.

Notes for Editors

  1. ALT (the Association for Learning Technology) is a professional and scholarly association which brings together those with an interest in the use of Learning Technology. As the UK’s leading membership organisation in the Learning Technology field, we work to improve practice, promote research, and influence policy.
  2. OER17 is organised by ALT and volunteer members from across the community.
  3. About 2,300 individuals belong to ALT, as do ~ 200 organisations across education sectors in the UK and internationally.
  4. If you are writing about, blogging or sharing images and videos about the OER17 Conference using tools that support tagging, please use the tag #oer17.
  5. Our Sponsors are listed at https://oer17.oerconf.org/our-sponsors-supporters-and-exhibitors/.
  6. More information about the conference: https://oer17.oerconf.org/.
  7. Association for Learning Technology, Gipsy Lane, Headington, Oxford, OX3 0BP Tel: +44 (0)1865 484 125, URL: http://www.alt.ac.uk/
  8. ALT is a Registered Charity in the UK, number: 1160039

Upcoming Keynote & Information Literacy Awards: Lilac 2017

The LILAC annual conference is for librarians and information professionals who teach information literacy skills, are interested in digital literacies and who want to improve the information seeking and evaluation skills of all library users.

The 2017 conference takes place in beautiful Swansea, 10-12 April.

I’m delighted to be judging the Credo Digital Award for Information Literacy again. The award recognises the work of an individual or group, from any sector, who have produced a creative, innovative, and effective digital educational resource for promoting Information Literacy. Entries are due in by 5pm (GMT) on the 3rd March, so get your nominations in asap.

I’ll also be delivering the opening keynote, and I’ll be speaking about Open Educational Practice – what it means and why it is important to every one who supports information literacy:

Libraries as spaces and librarians and information professionals play a critical role in ensuring access to knowledge and information, and supporting meaningfully access that information. As such, they are on the front line of open education.

Josie Fraser, an educational technologist who has worked with schools, colleges, universities and government in relation to organisational and staff development, will look at why open education is a key component of information literacy. Her keynote will explore what open educational practice is, and look at how libraries and information professionals are leading the way.

Drawing on her experience of working with educators to support their understanding and use of open educational resources, she will look at the difference that an explicit incorporation of open education can make to learners and professional practice. Understanding and engaging with open education can help librarians and info professionals better support the information literacy of ‘info civilians’ and organisational aspirations with respect to making innovative and effective use of technologies.

At a time when keeping the library open is becoming more and more difficult, Josie will argue that understanding open practice represents a necessity for everyone concerned with information literacy education.

 

Wikimedia UK Education Summit #WMUKED17

Cross-posted from Wikimedia UK.

If you would like to attend, please sign up on the Eventbrite page.

The Wikimedia UK Education Summit takes place on February 20th at Middlesex University, London, in partnership with the University’s Department of Media.

It follows on from the successful 2016 Wikimedia UK Education Meetup. Wikimedians and educators working in schools, colleges, higher education and adult education met in Leicester to help inform the work of Wikimedia UK in relation to education, and connect to others using (or wanting to use) Wikimedia projects. The day showcased educators supporting learning and actively engaging learners using a range of projects, including Wikipedia, Wikisource and Wikidata.

This event will continue to build connections and share expertise in relation to Wikimedia UK’s work in formal education. Everyone is welcome – whether you are just getting started and want to find out more about how Wikimedia projects can support education, or you are an established open education champion!

Why should educators attend?

The day will open with two talks. Melissa Highton (Director of the Learning, Teaching and Web Services, University of Edinburgh) will talk about the benefits of appointing a Wikimedian in Residence. If your institution is looking for an effective, affordable and innovative way of actively engaging students and supporting staff development through real world knowledge projects, this is a not-to-be-missed talk!

Stefan Lutschinger (Associate Lecturer in Digital Publishing, Middlesex University) will talk about incorporating Wikipedia editing into the university curriculum. Stefan will cover the practical experience of using Wikimedia projects with formal learning communities.

There will be a range of workshops throughout the day – ideal for those looking for an introduction to specific projects, or to brush up on their skills. Workshops include Wikidata, Wikipedia in the Classroom (and using the Education Dashboard), and how to maximise the potential of a Wikimedian in Residence in a university setting. There will also be a session looking at identifying and curating Wikimedia project resources for educators, helping to support others across the UK. Alongside all of this will be a facilitated unconference space for attendees to discuss subjects not covered by the planned programme.

Please consider signing up here for a lightening talk (of up to five minutes) to share projects and ideas, or email karla.marte@wikimedia.org.uk.

What can Wikimedia UK offer educators?

Wikimedia UK is the national charity for the global Wikimedia movement and enables people and organisations to contribute to a shared understanding of the world through the creation of open knowledge. We recognise the powerful and important role formal education can and does play in relation to this, but also the challenges sometimes faced by educators in relation to institutional adoption and use of Wikimedia projects, including Wikipedia.

This summit offers educators and Wikimedians in the UK the opportunity to work together to help learners and organisations connect and contribute to real world projects and to the global Wikimedia community.

Wikimedia UK can support educators in a wide range of ways: providing events, training, support, connecting communities to volunteers, and helping identify potential project funding.

Can’t make the summit, but want to be involved?

Become a Wikimedia UK member – membership is only £5 per year and provides a range of practical benefits – directly supporting the work of the organisation to make knowledge open and available to all, and being kept in touch about Wikimedia UK events, activities and opportunities. You can join online here.

Cyberbullying Guidance for Schools

Cyberbullying: Understand, Prevent, Respond

I’ve been privileged to work with Childnet International leading on national cyberbullying guidance under two very different governments in the UK. The original guidance blazed a trail as the first government supported work of its kind produced anywhere in the world. Cyberbullying, Safe To Learn was released in 2007, and followed by Cyberbullying: Supporting School Staff in 2009 – the first national cyberbullying guidance for school employees.

Co-funded by the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility and the UK’s Government Equalities Office the new guidance, Cyberbullying: Understand, Prevent, Respond builds on the success and lessons learnt of the original work, and responds to changes in online abuse and young peoples experience of mobile, internet and gaming technologies.

The guidance is also critically informed by those working in schools (145 schools and organisations supporting schools took part in the research and consultation) and by the voices of young people. Five groups of young people from secondary schools in London, Manchester, and from the First Out group for young people, Leicester Lesbian Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Centre gave us their time and opinions. We learnt some very important lessons, and these were included the guidance, including a section on What Young People Have Told Us (& if you work with or know any young people, you should read this.).

Several people have asked me recently about the difference between the new guidance, and the guidance produced in 2007. There are several, not least that the new guidance is considerably shorter.

A key change, and one I am very proud of, is that discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes are addressed from the outset. The guidance opens:

Cyberbullying, or online bullying, can be defined as the use of technologies by an individual or by a group of people to deliberately and repeatedly upset someone else.

Cyberbullying is often linked to discrimination, including on the basis of gender, race, faith, sexual orientation, gender identity or special educational needs and disabilities. For example, girls report experiencing a higher incidence of cyberbullying than boys, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are more likely to experience bullying, including cyberbullying.

The guidance is also clear in terms of the responsibility for education providers to ensure learning communities are places that welcome and support all children and young people:

Bullying may also be, or felt to be, supported institutionally and culturally. Young people may be bullying within environments where respect for others, and treating others well, is not seen as important – or where disrespect and poor treatment is tolerated or encouraged. Individuals who do not conform to social norms may face discrimination within intolerant communities.

The guidance can be downloaded from Childnet, along with a range of practical resources including lesson plans and short films.

Co-chairs goals for #OER17: The Politics of Open

Image credit: CC-BY-ND William Ismael https://flic.kr/p/aFeUPx

Image credit: CC-BY-ND William Ismael https://flic.kr/p/aFeUPx

OER17: The Politics of Open takes place in London on the 5th and 6th of April 2017, and is shaping up to be an unmissable conference. The call for proposals has been released, and the global conference committee have started meeting to discuss how they are going to make sure the conference lives up to the excitement it’s already generated.

The OER17 co-chairs, educational technologist Josie Fraser (UK) and policy activist Alek Tarkowski (Poland), have been discussing their priorities and aims for the event with the rest of the team.

Alek’s goals for #OER17

  • Make OER17 international

I’ve participated in two previous OER conferences, and they have always had an international aspect – but I think there’s still room to strengthen it. I appreciate the strong sense of community that exists in the Open Educational Resource (OER) / Open Educational Practice (OEP) space in the UK; and I think we can build on this, adding more international points of view – making OER17 a globally friendly, European conference.

  • Contributing to the global conversation on open education

OER17 fits well into next year’s calendar of OER events – 2017 is an important year globally for open education. There will be a Capetown@10 years event organised together with the OE Global event in Capetown, South Africa, in March. The UNESCO 2nd World OER Congress will take place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in September, following world-wide open educational resource consultations. Our event is a part of this time frame, and a part of the global conversation on the future of OER.

  • Creative practice

I’m really keen on mixing traditional, well tested conference formats (for example, short presentations) with alternative approaches for exchanging information and building a sense of engagement. Many other approaches to the standard conference formula can be taken – we are keen to hear about the community’s innovative ideas, and see them in action during the conference.

Josie’s goals for #OER17

Alek’s three goals – developing international conference attendance/participation, being an active participant in the global OER/OEP conversation, and embracing creative approaches to participation – are really important ones. In addition, I’d add:

  • Addressing inequality

OER17 committee member Nicole Allen (Director of Open Education, SPARC) noted “one aspect of OER17 that I am particularly passionate about is promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in the open community.” This is something Alek and I are committed to, along with the rest of the organising committee. The conference themes have been selected to put these discussions at the heart of the event, in order to actively address issues relating to inequality, and encourage frank and open debate about how to ensure our community is fully open: welcoming and respectful of difference.

  • Mainstreaming open education

Related to this, and to Alek’s points on expansion and place, I’m passionate about us building a bigger community, and making open education a part of mainstream conversations and planning. I’d love to see people who have never attended an open education conference join us in numbers. There are huge advantages for people and organisations working in spaces relating to social engagement/inclusion, and relating to policy and political change, in understanding what open education is and the conference offers an opportunity to find out how to benefit strategically, operationally and financially from open approaches.

  • Movement building

I’m also interested very in what the open movement means and what it might mean. The event provides a great place for both structured and informal discussion about what are our collective priorities are- what are the things we want to change and achieve? How do we best draw on and build our diversity and capacity to do this? How do we strengthen our networks and secure resources and allies?

How can I get involved?

The call for contributions to OER17 is open until the 16th of November – please do submit your ideas. You can also help by passing on information about the event to your networks.

Originally published on the OER17 conference site, shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.