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Welcome and let's introduce ourselves

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  • Pamela McLean
    Thanks to Andrius for his posting on What we can do for Open Content. Report from Como, Italy workshop, and welcome to the new participants Andrius has
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 7, 2006
      Thanks to Andrius for his posting on "What we can do for Open Content."
      Report from Como, Italy workshop, and welcome to the new participants
      Andrius has introduced.

      I would like to suggest that we all introduce/re-introduce ourselves to
      each other explaining why we are interested in "learning from each other".

      I appreciate what Andrius has done is setting up this group - but I have
      been slow to take advantage of it - partly because I have been unsure
      what part of my own interests in "Learning From Each Other" I should
      focus on here, and what other people's interests would be. Obviously,
      as self directed learners, we all have our own particular interests in
      what we want to learn - and there will be many possible directions to take.

      Andrius has given me a leadership role in this group - but I will try to
      avoid the temptation of getting involved in every discussion thread.
      Given that the starting point for me was a series of conversations that
      I had with Andrius, I will probably take his thread of "Open Content" as
      my personal starting point.

      Having asked for introductions I should think how to introduce myself:

      I developed the skills and confidence to become an independent learner
      through my studies with the Open University. My paid-work background is
      in teaching and training. My free-work is related to community
      projects in rural Nigeria - which I started to get involved with when a
      friend here in the UK married a Nigerian. Originally I had no intention
      of actually going to Africa - but my involvement has now taken me to
      Nigeria seven times (on working holidays) and to Zambia once (as a
      participant in a trainers workshop).

      My experience as a self directed learner on the Internet came through my
      need to learn various things related to my practical work in Nigeria. At
      first I simply visited websites, but I soon discovered that I could join
      in discussion groups, and that belonging to a community of interest is a
      very valuable way of learning. As a teacher and a learner I am intrigued
      by the way we shift roles between teacher and learner on discussion
      lists. I am also interested in how we discover the relationships where
      the exchange of information is equally valuable to both sides, and
      especially where both parties learn something completely new - which
      neither of them knew initially. I'm also interested in what peer-to-peer
      learning and such like will do to traditional top down learning systems
      and accreditation,

      I want to find ways to help other people to have opportunities for self
      directed life long learning - especially people like those that I link
      with in Nigeria- and that is what I am trying to learn about. I believe
      that the creative use of ICTs should enable the "death of distance", so
      that more people can more easily be included in education/training
      opportunities, formal and informal.

      This means that I am interested in issues such as:
      - the present situation in rural Nigeria and similar locations,
      especially, but not only, regarding access to education and training (it
      has to be seen in context - employment/unemployment realities, health,
      living conditions, local culture, educational funding, local
      infrastructure and economics etc)
      - the development of learning skills
      - ICT systems - digital technologies of all kinds - that enable us to
      access information and knowledge
      - skills that I personally need to use ICTs more effectively in my work
      and learning.
      - issues of infrastructure etc that enable/prevent access to ICTs
      - issues of economics, politics, funding etc that influence the wider
      environment in which people do or do not have access to things like
      educational opportunities and ICTs.
      - working relationships and collaborations enabled by ICTs
      - issues relating to economics and the information age - relating to
      ideas in a book called "The Wealth of Information".
      - other stuff related to the development of new approaches to
      education/training opportunities enabled by digital technologies -
      especially in the context of local cultures and community networks in
      rural Nigeria and similar settings..

      So - that's my introduction - a bit long - which perhaps helps to
      explain why I couldn't' decide where to start on "Learning From Each
      Other". Please share your introductions - as long or as short as you
      choose - but please say something.

      I look forward to learning from you.

    • Pamela McLean
      First of all - Helen - you are most welcome to this group. I look forward to getting to know you and your work, and discovering how our interests overlap and
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 21, 2006
        First of all - Helen - you are most welcome to this group. I look
        forward to getting to know you and your work, and discovering how our
        interests overlap and how we can help each other and learn form each other.

        Secondly I am responding to what Andrius Kulikauskas wrote in "What we
        can do for Open Content." Report from Como, Italy workshop:

        >(snip)We spoke about the aspects of "open content" that we were most
        >interested in. I have marked (*) the topics that we decided to focus on:
        >Training and Support the Teachers *
        >How to populate *
        >How to make a service *
        >How to collect *
        >How to manage *
        These interest me too.

        >Our major question was, how can we support teachers so that they can use
        >and build a system of open content in their teaching? I note that this
        >is also very relevant to Pamela McLean in her work with teachers in Africa.
        Yes, indeed so. Andrius is referring to "TT" the "Teachers Talking -
        About ICT" programme that I am working on with "colleagues" in
        Nigeria (Incidentally can anyone tell me what is the right word for
        people you work with - when it's not paid work?)

        By the way, I'm aware that different people mean slightly different
        things by "open content" - but let's not worry about defining it at this
        point - we can do that later if we find there are areas of confusion or
        disagreement because of different assumptions of what "open content"
        means ;-)

        >Then George Auckland of the BBC presented a vision of two sides that we
        >might bring together in the pursuit of "quality":
        >- The traditional expert
        >- Popular knowledge (as at Amazon, Wikipedia)

        This is a a big snip - not because what was in the snip said nothing
        interesting- but because it prompted too many thoughts to respond to in
        writing at present.

        >One project is to place "open content" as part of the practice of new
        >teaching techniques. Many of these are social, such as collaborative
        >learning, and can make use of social software, a community of practice,
        >and the ability to lead such a community. Such growth and leadership
        >arises if we support the personal growth that the teachers seek for
        >themselves and by which they show their example. Our Minciu Sodas
        >laboratory has working groups to support such leadership. (snip)
        I am excited and intrigued by this possibility and appreciate the
        opportunity that Andrius is giving me here through making me leader of
        this group. I am still "getting my head around" the "Russian doll"
        aspects of what we could do here as we are Learning From Each Other
        There are issues within issues:
        #. How we learn.
        # How we learn to learn.
        # How we teach.
        # How we learn to teach.
        # How we use ICTs to learn and to teach.
        # How we learn to use the ICTs,
        # How we use those ICTs to help each other to learn and to teach -
        formally and informally (I thrive on informal).
        # How we teach people who are excluded from ICT-enabled learning
        processes to be able to be included,.etc.

        >Another project is to develop "open content" as a way to understand what
        >kind of education is truly relevant. (snip) we find out what kind of knowledge there is an interest in and a demand for. "Open content" helps the expert and the
        >populace find each other.
        (snip - another big one - again snipped completely because it is too
        rich for me to write a response in the time I have available for this post)

        >Finally, a project that received enthusiastic support was to facilitate
        >the publication cycle. How might we separate design, layout, promotion,
        >distribution of open content into different services? This would
        >facilitate the reuse of content and the opportunities for working together.
        >I welcome us again to Pamela McLean's working group Learning From Each
        >Other. I invite us to share our ideas. In particular, please let us
        >know how you would like to work together on making "open content" a
        >reality in education.
        I have a suggestion related to the subjects of open content, demand,
        working together etc
        Regarding TT there are some resources that I developed for "NC3" - the
        "No-Computer Computer Course" element of TT. We could take one or more
        of these resources to play around with, and see what some of Andrius'
        project ideas would mean in practice. If things worked out well we might
        continue with more of the NC3 resources - if not we would at least have
        learned something about collaborating on the development of open content
        and have a clearer idea of how to move forward and what kind of project
        to try next.

        Working on NC3 (even if it was on just one of the resources) would not
        be an empty exercise but a practical one. . I recently presented TT as a
        case study at an IICD "Train the Trainers" workshop in Zambia. Fellow
        trainers were interested in using the NC3 resources in their own work. I
        want to develop an effective mechanism for sharing the resources with
        those trainers and with others. Anything that we Learn From Each Other
        about good ways to share the resources will affect the way I go forward
        with NC3 afterwards.

        Would anyone be interested in possibly taking this further?

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