The Open Education Conference sponsors made available three travel scholarships for people attending this year's conference. The requirement to apply is to write a blog post answering two questions, so I guess that's a very good excuse to write again in this blog, that has been a little abandoned in the last semester (mostly because I do prefer writing in Spanish, obviously).
Anyway, these are the questions:
- What you would “bring” to the conference? What can you contribute?
Well, I have an already accepted proposal, so based on that I'll say that my contribution is the story of an experiment that we have done with about 700 higher education teachers, that has started to go mildly viral . The interesting thing about this experience is that it goes beyond the mere discourse about Learning Objects or OER, exposing participants to a connected/connective learning experience. I'd say it can be a valuable demonstration (that, of course, we expect to improve with the feedback from the attendees) of how can we 'walk the talk' regarding the use of technology in our daily practice.
Something else: In the past, I've had some experience reporting events like this in Spanish, so that's something else I will do during the conference. You can expect me to provide information related to OpenEd to the Spanish-speaking community, both via Twitter and my blog. I also expect to be around with a video camera, asking participants about their thoughts on the pertinence of education. That's the general subject of a national forum that the Colombian Ministry of Education will have in October, so I intend to collect and publish online the ideas and thoughts of people around the world, to enrich our own perspective on this critical issue.
I think of myself as sort of a "bridge builder"... I'm convinced of the importance of helping non-English speakers to get access to many current discussions that have a huge impact on the way we think about learning and the role of education, so I think that attending OpenEd will be, for me, a good opportunity to help bringing a lot of different and interesting ideas to an educational community that can make good use of them.
What you see as the most critical issue facing you in your efforts around Open Education, and how you think the conference can help you address it?
This has to do with something else that I'll definitely bring to the conference: lots of questions. The OER / Open Education movement is just starting in my country, and there are a lot of issues that we'll be able to address through the participation in this conference. For example, since 2006, we have a national work in progress around LO (that I helped to design), so we are facing the usual problems related to sharing resources among institutions, and how to use them in an effective way in teacher's practices. I think OpenEd will a good opportunity to enrich our current approach to this subject.
Now, on the other hand, I think Open Education (in general) has a huge potential to improve the way we think about both teaching and formal education. I believe that the possibility of getting first-hand knowledge about the issues faced by institutions and new initiatives around the world could be useful to build a strong case for Open Education in a country like Colombia, helping us to go beyond the mere content approach, to explore the political and economical issues involved.
Finally, it won't be fair to end this without saying that going to OpenEd is, clearly, a fantastic opportunity to meet a lot of people that I have read over the years, who have helped me change the way I see the world. I'll be really honored to be there.
So, that's it. That's my reflection about the things I can bring to OpenEd, and the things I expect to learn about. I hope it makes some sense…!