Open Pedagogy

Chapter One: Introduction


Chapter One - Introduction
This chapter will

Intro the book

Frame the contents of the book (What is Open Pedagogy, Open Pedagogy in Action, Getting Started with Open Pedagogy, & Open Pedagogy in your Classroom) & share our theoretical alignment with open pedagogy.

Explain how to use the book

On March 11th 2017, Tim Berners Lee, inventor of the world wide we, penned a piece describing how his vision for what was meant to be a democratic platform failed. One of Sir Berner-Lee’s biggest gripe revolved around our loss of personal data and our identities. His original dream of a common place in which information could be spread freely around the world was somewhat lost in corporate land grabs and algorithm powered silos. The common citizen had lost any real attempts to control their own future and identity. Tech savvy middlemen and bots had snuck in across these digital spaces to control power and truth online.  

In the early days of the web the technology was built by “others.” It was the freaks, geeks, and misfits doing their identity work that built the platforms on the internet. They were stretching the canvas while painting. With each pixel created and shared, individuals in effect wrote themselves into existence in a digital world. Today, however, we have lost our sense of agency. The identity worked that empowered a generation now gets sold back to users. Large multinational corporations suck up our personal data and sell it to third party markets. Unbeknownst to most users, they assume all to the photos,videos, and digital breadcrumbs you leave behind. Businesses and technology companies play fast and loose with the terms of use (ToU) and Terms of Service (ToS) that are supposed to inform and protect the user. Offering quirky services, shiny apps, and opportunities to connect with others as collateral, companies now own the identity work we do.

Learning, as it slowly responded to technology is no different. Increasingly, learning institutions do not see a learner but a data point. They do not look at instructional and educational uses of technology as a means to improve teaching and learning. Instead, they look at technology as a means to cut costs, increase efficiency, possibly not have to waste a seat or bed at a brick and mortar site. This focus on the bottom line is also evident in the learning management systems (LMS) that our learning institutions utilize. In early childhood and elementary classrooms this is marked by the use of tools like ClassDojo and SeeSaw that promise privacy and security of students while locking up content within corporate servers. In elementary, middle, and high school, this includes the use of Edmodo, Google Classroom, or Google Apps for Education. In each of these instances, instructor materials, student work, and the digital residue of learning is left behind and locked up as classes and school years terminate. Higher education is likely the most problematic as institutions spend large amounts of money on a custom built LMS only to shift gears several years later, leaving their digital effects behind. The reason for this influx of tools and platforms is that it makes it easier for software developers and companies to provide spaces that are “safe”, “secure” and easy to use by individuals. We have to ask what we’re gaining, losing, and trading for these supposed securities. Additionally, in the age of frequent data breaches and hacks, we have to wonder how safe is safe, especially after we’ve left our content behind years before.

The web has reshaped the way we read, write, and participate as a society. The same transformation is occurring in education but a much slower rate. Meanwhile all the coursework a student completes and all the instructional designs of the educator get locked  beyond silos that rival those of of social media corporations. You do not own your learning. There are many challenges with the systems that we currently utilize. The first is that they are rarely “open access” or “open source.” Open access refers to content or learning materials that are free of all restrictions on access or use. Open source refers to the computer software being used and the ability to study, change, or distribute the content or platform for any purpose. Another challenge is that the learning and content is placed behind a wall. This is a challenge because learners are not provided with opportunities to openly build, share, and revise their digital identity.  The digital residue of student learning, consisting of student interactions, content, work product, and assessments are created within the learning space and remain behind the wall of the LMS. When the class is over, students lose access to the content and any data or learning materials. This learning architecture is not conducive to the literacies individuals will need on the web. Furthermore, it leaves students with the incorrect supposition that learning is conducted in stages or steps that are separated from one another and should not be connected.

How to use this book

We need a better way forward. This book will help explain the current challenges in the field, and chart out a possible path that embraces open pedagogy. In this, we will need to define open pedagogy, while providing a series of guiding principles that developed after years of research. It should be noted that due to the ubiquity and transformational/disruptive nature of technology, these definitions and constructs must be written and understood with a bit of ambiguity or flexibility. To address this,  we will then help situate this evolving definition of open pedagogy by describing examples of it in teaching and learning. We In the third section of the book, we provide a simple structure to get you started in the principles and process of open pedagogy. Finally we conclude with ideas of bringing open pedagogy into the K12 classroom, higher ed, or staff development in the workplace.

Much of the challenge in understanding open is that it can mean many things for many different people. Open can mean a journey. It can be a noun, a verb, an adjective. Open is usually linked to other descriptors, as in open access, open source, open education, and open scholarship. In all of these, it becomes clear that open, as we’ll frame it in this text, is an attitude. It is a disposition, a willingness to act, a habit. As we describe open pedagogy as a mindset, it’s important to state that we’ll never truly define the term in this book. We will frame open pedagogy, and identify instances where it definitely doesn’t exist. This text will identify the texts, spaces, and technologies that help make open pedagogy happen, but ultimately it comes down to your usage and intent. What open pedagogy isn’t is simply technology. Open pedagogy isn’t solely about  free textbooks and course shells. It isn’t about content to replace educators, or differentiate for students. pen pedagogy isn’t a checklist of skills or competencies.

This framing is primarily defined by how you’ll use it, and how it will advance in the future. What we can not do, even after writing a book on the subject, is define open pedagogy for you. This examination of open pedagogy will require a certain amount of ambiguity, flexibility, and wiggle room. You will need to problematize your own thinking about pedagogy. Wee ask you to embrace the ambiguity (Belshaw, 2016) of the term, and the problems and variability inherent in teaching and learning online. We also invite you to join us and a crew of others who try to define open pedagogy all over the web. Open pedagogy exists as individuals such as yourselves publish content and pushing them everywhere. Blog posts and videos fly through all the major social networks. Come hang out with us. Culture is something you build not inherit.

As we frame open pedagogy, we’ll also consider the future our learners will inherit, and the skillsets we’ll need to prepare them with. With the rise of our networked society (cite Castells) we need more than college and career ready. Current socioeconomic shifts foretell a future where colleges will be disrupted or disbanded. Career ready will be even more problematic as students are preparing for careers that don’t exist. We need to prepare self-programmable, entrepreneurial learners that are civic and community ready first. A focus on betterment of self and society will always open up opportunities in higher education and the job market. The way to build and model the types of skills and dispositions needed for our world are best taught through pedagogy that is shared openly for all.
Sections of the book

This book is divided into four sections. What is Open Pedagogy, Open Pedagogy in Action, Getting Started with Open Pedagogy, and Open Pedagogy in your Classroom. Open Pedagogy is all about defining theory, principles, and perspectives involved in this work. Open Pedagogy in Action is all about the challenges and opportunities involved in teaching, learning, and assessment in these open, digital spaces.

Getting Started with Open Pedagogy is

Open Pedagogy in your Classroom is

This book is about open pedagogy and not simply about embedded technology into instruction or online learning into pedagogy. New digital texts and tools have created hybrid, and blended learning spaces for learners, communities, and content. In the first section of the book we endeavor to describe open pedagogy. We begin this examination with a history of open, In the second section of the book We also hope to highlight the thought leaders who embrace and help define open pedagogy.  The characters are writing the scripts right before our eyes. We would like to acknowledge those who have helped to build the places we discuss in this book. These are our friends and mentors that have helped us frame our understandings of these nascent spaces. In the second section of the book we share real life examples of open pedagogy. The stories we share were all collected as part of open research, podcasts or using material published on the hundreds of decentralized blogs. This work is also an homage to those who shout the mission of open pedagogy from every rooftop as you place the learner at the center of your instructional design. In the last section of the book we try and describe what open pedagogy could look like in your classroom. We begin with an exploration of building  in the k12 classroom. We then describe steps to creating open pedagogy in higher education. Finally we describe the potential open pedagogy has in transforming the workplace. We conclude the book with a third section detailing how you get started in open pedagogy and point you to to multimodal tutorials found across the web. We even describe ideas of how to apply open pedagogy in your classroom on in the office.

    This is also not a book about technology. It serves as more of an biography of individuals on the front lines of these spaces. It hopefully helps to canonize a movement. This is the story of open pedagogy. It is a tale not of shiny new toys but of real people in digital places. This can be true of open learning and pedagogical models. Educators must consider their objectives, learning outcomes, and most importantly your learners. Overall we hope to share  why open pedagogy is the instructional model most effective for student learning and engagement. Open pedagogy may provide an opportunity for sustainable, disruptive transformation of some of the challenges that permeate teaching and learning in traditional contexts.

    We believe that open pedagogy empowers the individual as a learner. The student owns their work. The students gets to decide when and how they want to share their work. Open pedagogy works when we as the students ourselves learn out loud. In many ways open pedagogy is  held up by strong pillars of privacy and agency. Most importantly you are left with rich data trails the learner and not the state or some company controls. It should also be noted that simply by adding technology to instruction this does not mean that all learners will be motivated or engaged. Integrating technology into the classroom should not drive instructional decision-making; rather, pedagogical goals and objectives should determine if a hybrid model is the best instructional design. Hutchison and Woodward (2014) argue that when incorporating any digital technology into the classroom, the instructional goal should be the first consideration and also should provide the impetus for reflection after the tool has been implemented.

As we end this introduction and move to the story, we need to indicate that much of this text is not only about open pedagogy, but it is open pedagogy. Much of the work found in this book is really a remix or our blogs as we documented our journey into and through open pedagogy. We wrote this text in the open, and charted our path openly online where previously there was none. It is this mindset, this attitude that frames our thinking about open pedagogy, and hopefully yours as well. All of the research we conducted and all of the drafts for this book are out there somewhere. If you search carefully online, you should be able to find all of the digital breadcrumbs we left behind as we documented this journey. There is an openly licensed version available but we do hope you buy the book. This is about the text and about the lessons learned. This is not just about the messages we present in the text, but also the paths we took to bring it to you. Please pay attention to the choices, challenges, and opportunities we faced along the way. We’re excited to see you on the other side.