How Open is ‘Open’?

Prompted by a MOOC assignment (engage with current provocative ideas about education) I have been reading about (no book yet) David Price’s work on the concept of ‘open’ – in education and in the 21st Century life.

Price presents the notion of disintermediation – the devaluation of the ‘middle man’. A quick search finds the term initially rising from the finance sector, computing sector and now being ascribed to the social sciences by Price. “Giving the user or the consumer direct access to information that otherwise would require a mediator, such as a salesperson, a librarian, or a lawyer.” (what.Is)

Aaron Davis ably shares Price’s S.O.F.T framework of the aspirational open-life in his blog Read,Write,Respond, so I won’t rephrase here.

I am intrigued by the work of Doug Belshaw,  a passionate (leading) thinker and driver in the ‘open’ realm (ex-Mozilla, open badges etc).  I recommend a visit his blog Open Education Thinkery  and his newest venture, the Co-op We Are Open.coop. Doug and fellow podcaster Dai Barnes recently discussed the whole notion and very definition of ‘open’ in TIDE Podcast (#67 Working Open).  Doug and Dai often accompany me to work via iTunes, and this episode made me question the whole box and dice of my professional life, from teaching, planning and assessment to (so called) professional development and that enormous bug bear, the staff meeting! Some erratic driving occurred that morning.

The tie in with the work of Price is the ‘T’ in SOFT – trust. Share and Open should be no-brainers even in the digital world.  Free, in reality,  really depends on a barrel of contexts, and Doug’n’Dai shared a range of examples where free and open have become pricey and closedTrust – well that’s the elephant-in-the-room for me, in the field of education.

As a serial MOOCer and seeker of professional learning that is high-quality and free, I managed to escape staff meetings for the past 18 months, seeking my own professional learning.  My Principal  unofficially approved my 138 hours of CPD, which I can verify in various ways, as an acceptable alternative. Will the ‘trust’ involved in this transaction come back to bite both of us?

Applying at the school student level, are  schools in any way ready for some degree of student-led personal learning choices and the administration involved? As the 2016 Horizon Report  suggests,  personalised learning and badge learning is scratching at the door and schools generally do not have the mindset to make the shift and effectively carry teachers with them.  Can Price’s SOFT ideals help us shift towards a more student-centred and engaging approach to curriculum, planning, delivery and assessment by moving the middle man?

What’s It All Bout, MOOCY

Rusty cogs - MONA, Tasmania

Rusty cogs – MONA, Tasmania

After 18 months of immersion in Digital Technologies education in my ‘spare time’, I am feeling decidedly wobbly on the reasons I am a music educator. James Humberstone’s MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) via provider Coursea and Sydney Uni (“The Con.”) is exactly the blend of music education and Twenty First Century Pedagogies that I am looking for. Coursea MOOCs have proven to be the most engaging in the past, and I appreciate the friendly ‘reminders’ to get on with things. Brit, James Humberstone, has been around the music technology docks in NSW for a while and the course promises to be a blend of understanding the current and historical Aussie Music Ed. landscape and infusing new directions and broader thinking.
One of my issues with music education in Queensland is the closed nature of thinking. One is either a Kodaly person, or Orff, and classroom or instrumental. Never do we seem to meet philosophically and even in real life, if not real time, to have a friendly and robust exchange of experience and aspiration, rather than bludgeoning others with our singular frames of reference.
Growing an Ed. Tech Professional Learning Network (PLN) has been a real eye-opener and opportunity to witness professional exchanges that grow us as educators and change things for our students.
Is it possible for Queensland and even Australian music educators to put down the battle axes and come together? Now that Queensland Primary Class Music teachers are feeling the big heave-ho, losing their long-held absolute position, school by school, we need to think broadly AND as a community more than ever.
So, James – take it away. Can you lead me to 21C Music Ed. heaven and help me find a reason to keep going after 25 years of working alone? Feeling a little rusted in…..