fredag 21 mars 2008

OER week 3

This week we were assigned to comment on thoughts about education and educational rights as well as the historical legacy of the enlightenment philosophers.

I think one has the right to develop oneself to ones potentials. Living in a society where education is considered a right as well as a duty, I think education has two sides. The right to develop as a person as far as one wants to go, and as a member in society, to be able to contribute in ones social environment.

As we learn more we get a wider perspective and hopefully develop in a positive way. We are also able to rely more on our own beliefs and react on our own prior knowledge rather than having to rely on what others tell us to do.

Some of the ideas of the enlightenment philosophers developed to take an important role in our society and many of their ideas have taken some time to develop into practice. Many of the pedagogical ideas we use as innovative today actually date back a few hundred years. Other ideas, as Grundtvig´s Folk High School have developed into movements that are still up to date today. Some philosophers and educators serve as a link between old philosophers and the educational systems of today. Ellen Key´s thoughts on children and education, partly influenced from Rousseau through Emilé. She was known as an author, educator and feminist and she had a large impact on the thoughts of education of children mainly in Sweden. The idea of the child´s own development in focus moved on from Rousseau through Key into many pedagogical practices of this age and time. As other ideas from the time of enlightenment, they are the foundation we stand on today.

In the Finnish society education has become more and more obligatory. We talk about lifelong learning and adult education – this means that in almost all lines of work education is continuous. We have nine years of compulsory education and often 3-10 years of various educational programs after that. Then we have to keep up our skills and renew them as technology and society develop –this means either studying while working or taking time of for studying. For some people this has also been a strain – the trough of having to educate oneself trough life. But I think as attitudes change we will see education as a continuous process, not something you do in the beginning of your life and then “move on”.

The similarities behind all educational movements are of course education in one form or another, and that society offers people different ways to develop. The ways and motives might vary, and also the access to participate. The access to libraries and information is probably something that connects different educational systems – the access of information. Through internet the information and development of information is widely accessed and offers anyone to participate in the development contrary to before, where only some had the opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas through books.

Education is a wide definition, everything from basic caretaking to rocket science. Education is everywhere where people are. Education and knowledge is a part of life and is continuously developing and it has to be passed on and developed further in social contexts – the only reason for someone to deny the access of education for someone is the fear of losing power.

söndag 16 mars 2008

OER week 2

Well, I finally completed this week´s assignment. I´ve been in and out in LeMill all week, trying to figure out what I should do there – how can I contribute with something. Pressured by the dead line, I thought I should work with something linked to another relevant project of mine. I am writing a paper for my studies about designing practical courses in virtual environments, and also trying it out in practice. The aim is to create a course in Japanese book binding, so I used this as a presentation in LeMill. I didn’t get that far, but I made an introduction and added a few links. My aim is to make a own demo video and also have a step by step slide show – I am going to publish this material in a closed learning environment (moodle) in our school but at the same time, with the same material use Le Mill and/or other open resources.

My experience in LeMill was positive, but at first a bit “scary”. I started out by trial and error, keeping in mind that everything could be changed and altered or even deleted ;) It was quite easy to use the system even without prior experience. I had to do some html-editing because some of the lines in the text didn´t follow the same structure as when editing…

With some help from Teemus encouraging words “Be bold, be very bold” - I was a bit bold.. ;)

fredag 7 mars 2008

week 1.Comments on different open online education projects

Open University (UK) Open Content Initiative

LearningSpace has an klear and well structured interface, but it takes a little while to look around. It offers a great deal of different fields and provides flashmeetings and videobloggs among other things.

Rice Connexions - TED Talk Richard Baraniuk - Talks about the Connexions project

Connexions seems to provide a meeting space for specifically the educational field. The interface is clear and easy to navigate In. it also had a good virtual tour of the website.

MIT OpenCourseWare

A bit different from the first two, this site provides online courses in a wide range of fields. The only problem was that most of the courses notes were dated a some years back and I didn’t find many newer courses. It seems like the interest in contributing isn’t that big. I was also quite bothered about the big “donate now” signs…

The best thing about LeMill is that you can choose form a good selection of languages you seldom find as an option. It feels like it is a community for Europe. The freedom of choosing ones own language is good, but it also makes the learning environment a bit difficult to use because of the postings and discussions in languages one doesn’t master. LeMill doesn’t yet have a very large database (or so it seems)

Wikiversity is quite clearly structured and easy to use – interface familiar through the use of Wikipedia. Wikiversity seems to hold a lot of material, also in the field of education and has nice demos.

Week 1. Response to “OER: What they are and why do they matter”

As a newcomer in this field I was surprised over how vast OER is and how it is connected to areas I didn´t think of. Some of these areas include politics, economy and the copy write law – all somehow some kind of background factor to open educational resources. But I also found it striking and wonderful that there are a lot of people who want to do something for society without political or economical reasons in first hand.

An interesting point sated was that the field of education is in a sense unique, that by contributing with knowledge there are no losers – but everybody can gain from it - David´s statement “…knowledge is inherently a non-rival good. In this view, knowledge is, indeed, a public good.”

As one new to the field of open sources, I started wondering about things as how reliable was the material? Is there someone controlling it or is everyone responsible? There are probably a lot of people wanting to do good, but don’t have as much knowledge as they should – or how about if someone deliberately wants to sabotage? On page 26 Tuomi defines tree levels of openness, who defines/or controls these specific levels? These are probably quite naïve questions and thoughts, but with no prior knowledge and experience…;)

Even so, without prior experience in this area, I still am amazed about how OER will transform the educational field, and how the individual probably becomes more and more responsible for one´s own learning processes and the continuation of learning. Learning isn’t something you do in restricted areas and forms, but a part of everyday life – therefore it is interesting to see how we relate to informal learning and how we can “show our informal knowledge” for example in applying for a job.

And last, Tuomis text (page5) “Cognitive technologies will be used to repair defects in learning styles and to compensate the effects of aging” was a mind opener. It seems like we still limit online learning to meet but a few learning styles - it will be interesting to see (or be a part of) this development.

torsdag 6 mars 2008

My intro


My name is Annika. I work part time as an arts teacher in secondary school and at the same time studying for my masters degree at the university of Art and Design Helsinki, Finland, the virta3 program. This means that most of our courses are online! I am also personally interested in how to adapt education in new learning environments. I´m taking this course because , apart from some personal experience , I feel that I know next to nothing about this important feeld.