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Anna Greathead

Innovation and Openness

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H817 is about openness and innovation so OERs (so beloved in H800 - NOT!) are a natural early place to begin. 

The idea of OERs is simply wonderful - a huge collection of educational and learning resources and programs which can be sourced without charge via the internet enabling access for both students with niche learning requirements and also for learners with access limitations (due to geography, disability, wealth etc.). 

I like the idea of this being innovation - it's hard to remember how game-changing the internet has been in all areas of our lives because it's been so game changing! The opportunities it offers for many sectors of society, including learning, are only limited by our imaginations and the technology keeps getting better and offering further opportunities with each step forward. I definitely like the fact that it's open. The democratization of knowledge across national, ethnic and wealth classes must be a good thing! 

I enjoyed the McAndrew and Farrow paper because it was backwards! OERs are already out of the imagination of their creators, available to the masses and a reality for millions - all before there has been time to debate and develop and good robust pedagogy and theoretical underpinning of this new and very new feature of learning and education. This 'backwards' feature is inevitable when the world moves and changes rapidly as it has in the internet age but it is hardly new. Most theory is developed retrospectively though it may, naturally, also be used to inform the development of new products and plans, and to optimize and rationalize old ones. 

As is often the case where there is an acronym - a word by word analysis is of great value:

  • Open - things which are easily available to many / most. 
  • Educational - things designed for learning, not where learning is an incidental effect (So a video about the physics of space travel rather than a film such as Star Trek in which you might learn some principles about space travel)
  • Resources - I would characterize these as being artefacts (papers, worksheets, videos, audio clips, books) rather than people (experts, teachers).

Some of the 'innovations' we've looked at some far don't feel very innovative in 2019 but give examples of the use of new technology to implement new ideas. As is often the case - the first uses of a technology quickly become outdated and soon feel clunky but this does not make them less innovative - it simply makes them a step en route to what we now consider 'innovative' which will, in turn, seem outdated and clunky! 


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