There are so many reasons why I want to attend this years Open Ed Conference. There is the fact Ken Freedman is going to be a keynote (I have been a fan of WFMU for a couple years), there are also many edtech people I “know” from the internet but have never had the chance to meet and also the awesome opportunity to do a presentation with the Reverend. So what can I bring to the conference?
Well besides props and costumes for whatever crazy presentation Jim and I put together I hope to bring a student perspective on the design of openness. Now I don’t know a lot of students who attend conferences like this (I’m guessing there aren’t a ton) but, I imagine that a lot of these student perform well academically. Let me be honest, I am not a very good academic student. So not only do I feel the need to represent these students but my twisted mind also wants to prove that even those of us who aren’t academically minded can still be interested and care about open education. I think that all students can be impacted by these new ways of containing and distributing content, if only they were shown the way. If we truly believe that open education in its many forms is the future of learning and higher education we need not only faculty to participate, we need students to take hold of it too. In addition, if we believe that open education has implications far beyond the walls of educational institutions it is imperative that students (the vast majority of whom will not work in higher ed) are able to grasp what this all means and how it can fit into their lives as (hopefully) life-long learners. I do not bring the expertise of many of those who will be in attendance, I’m only 2 years into this “world” but I believe that because I am a part of the generation of students currently in college (I refuse to use the term Net-Gen) it is important that we find our way into the conversation sooner rather than later.
Along the same lines one of the critical issues facing me around open education is how do we begin to and continue to cross the gap between edtech, faculty and especially (at least for me) students? Students all to often passively and tacitly agree that whatever the professor has them do in class through whatever medium is just fine. Most students just want to know what hoops they need to jump through whether its a paper or creating new media. The ideas of open education and the application of those ideas in tangible ways has potential to be more than just a new “tool” in the classroom. I believe it has the ability to change the way we view education and if this is to happen we need to have as many people on board as we can and in order to do this there needs to be a open conversation. At Open Ed I know I can find a group of people who care deeply about the implications of open education and are unafraid to discuss the possibilities, limitations and future of open education.
Lastly and unrelated to anything of any real importance it should be said I love spontaneous dance parties, just saying.