Open Education

Watchworthy Wednesday: Spreading Storytelling Through Photography and Connecting Educators

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 Comment Student takes a photo with a mobile device

As a documentary photographer, Andrea Birnbaum is a storyteller. But, she emphasizes, “I am very aware that I cannot tell other people’s stories for them. I can only show my perspective on what I see in the world.” So, when she discovered Phonar Nation, the online photography class immediately appealed to Birnbaum, also an educator, as it teaches students how to tell their own stories. Designed by award-winning photographer, Jonathan Worth, Phonar Nation was built to be taught from a mobile device for a mobile device user, and it’s an open course that any student can


Opening Learners’ Minds

Monday, April 11, 2016 Comment illustration by Nick Sousanis of mermaid and sewing needle

If you agree that the best teachers help students learn how to think, Dr. Nick Sousanis’ extraordinary hybridization of words and images, “Unflattening,” ought to be one of your texts. Indeed, “unflattening” struck me as an ideal metaphor for the results an ideal teacher should expect: the opening of learners’ minds to new ways of seeing the world as well as the acquisition of knowledge. Written as an Ed.D. dissertation for Columbia University and published by Harvard University Press, “Unflattening” combines words and images that not only tell but show how visual perception actively shapes our understanding of


Open Networked News Curriculum

Monday, July 06, 2015 Comment group of news photographers journalists news cameras covering an event

Newsactivist was born when Gabriel Flacks, instructor and chair of the Humanities Program at Saint-Lambert Champlain Regional College in Montreal, started looking for ways that students could write about the news in a networked way. “It started as an extracurricular local group,” recalls Flacks, “then expanded to sharing with other students in other parts of the world. Within a year, the idea became a curriculum.” Working with a collaborative teaching partner, Dr. Eric Kaldor, assistant professor of sociology at The College at Brockport, Statue University of New York, Flacks and his partner started with 140 students


Extending Badges

Thursday, May 28, 2015 Comment graphic open badges now with extensions

At the beginning of this month, the Badge Alliance published version 1.1 of the Open Badges specification. This is a technical reference for developers. However, it has exciting, far-reaching pedagogical and social possibilities that are worth highlighting. In this post, I want to explore just a couple of these: mapping and endorsement. Mapping The Open Badges specification has always included a standard set of metadata fields that organisations use to issue badges. These include things like: Name: what the badge is called Description: what the badge is for Criteria: what individuals have to do to earn


Assessing, Measuring Connected Learning Outcomes

Monday, January 19, 2015 Comment jaimie hoffman quote open courses allow for important connections

Although the preponderance of publicity about Massive Open Online Courses has focused on well-funded enterprises such as Coursera and Udacity, and superstars of what is mostly an online version of a lecture course, such as Sebastian Thrun, those of us who have been excited about the potential of MOOCs for a more student-centric, discursive, networked, peer-driven kind of course look to pioneers such as Jim Groom, Jonathan Worth, Anne Balsamo, Michael Wesch and Gardner Campbell. These pioneers don’t have the mainstream fame that the venture-backed edupreneurs have attracted, but educators in the thick of connected learning,


Why We Need a Learning Standard for Web Literacy

Monday, February 18, 2013 Comment page covered in pink white brown dots

Mozilla is working to create a new open learning standard for Web Literacy. In this post I want to consider why we need a ‘standard’ and who might be interested in helping define one. I’ve written much more about this on my blog and you can find more about this area of work on the Mozilla wiki.   Look around you. There are many people and organisations doing amazing things all over the world, in all kinds of areas. Some of this work is highly co-ordinated but most, I would suggest, is not. It’s something frustrating


Remembering Aaron Swartz, Taking Up the Fight

Thursday, January 24, 2013 Comment man standing on stage speaking to protesters with signs at save the internet rally

I encountered the Aaron Swartz memorial the other day that helps ‘liberate’ a randomly selected article from JSTOR, as an act of civil disobedience, to commemorate both the legacy that Swartz leaves behind, but also the high-profile witch-hunt case which was a crucial factor in him taking his own life. Much has been said about Swartz and much more will have to be said about him, and about his work, to make sure that the good that men do does not get interred with their bones. And there are people more articulate, closer to him in


Learning and the Emerging Science of Behavior Change, aka ‘Nudging’

Monday, November 19, 2012 Comment illustration of kid holding heart showing what young people need is love

The language of learning today is full of references to “softness” and “openness.” Software, soft skills, soft performance, and the softening up of school knowledge go hand-in-hand with open source, open access and open educational resources in much current thinking about networked learning. How might this softening and opening up of the language of networked learning influence how learners think, perceive, feel and act? The emerging field of behaviour change theory suggests new ways in which networked technologies might be used as a form of pedagogical persuasion to influence and shape learners’ behavior, even at the