Passions Inextricably Linked

I have 3 inextricably linked passions: open education, global librarianship, digital libraries.

Why open education? Open education speaks to the fact that access to a quality education is a universal human right. Open Educational Resources (OER) are a primary means to building open education practice. OER are teaching and learning materials that are released into the public domain or with intellectual property licenses that allow for free use, adaptation, and distribution (UNESCO, 2015). OER provide free access to resources and remove barriers to education that may have been historically governed by political and philosophical boundaries. Rather, free access to information and resources creates permeable boundaries, allowing local resource needs to be met and educational practice to develop.

Why global librarianship? Open education provides unlimited opportunity for global librarianship. Supporting access to open education practice and resources means providing optimism, future orientation, and the unloosing of restraints caused by scarcity. Global librarians involved in open education elevate the role of the teacher and provide them with the means to select educational resources that hold high relevance and cultural appropriateness for their local context, whether that be meeting the challenges of addressing the U.S. Common Core State Standards, advancing drought awareness and preparedness in California or Africa, teaching Arabic, Swahili, Chinese or other critical languages, or addressing basic education needs across the globe.

Why digital libraries? Digital libraries provide access to a universe of digital content. The earliest digital libraries were “super libraries” that pulled together massive amounts of digital content under one roof. Today, we are moving into an age of high-value digital libraries where content is curated for specific audiences and to meet specific information needs. Examples of high-value digital libraries are Agriculture OER, developed by OER Africa to share agricultural resources;  Al-Masdar, designed to support teaching and learning needs in Arabic language and culture classrooms; Darakht-e Danesh Online Library that supports Afghani teachers as they further education in Afghanistan; or, the Primary Source Hub at OER Commons that provides teachers with tools and resources for supporting students in building close reading and inquiry-based learning skills called for by the U.S. Common Core State Standards.


2015. UNESCO. Communication and Information | Open Educational Resources.

Openness as an Aesthetic

Openness is an aesthetic and an approach to seeing
and interacting with the world and others.

I think a lot about openness …

… as an aesthetic

            … that provides a rich and fertile environment

… for meaningful teaching and learning.

The type of openness that I’m thinking about implies a significant departure from generally accepted educational practice and quality judgments.

It requires new habits of mind and practice that expand the walls of our cultural and societal concepts about the very nature of learning and knowledge.

An open aesthetic allows one to look anew at the world and at one’s place in it, with an eye to discover creative approaches and relationships from which to build sustainable solutions of mutual benefit.

Open educational practice embraces a fundamental philosophy that elevates teacher and learner as partners and co-creators. Open educators invite essential questions, critical thinking and student engagement in deeper learning. Open learners can consider diverse perspectives, understand the role of multiple disciplines in solving complex problems, and engage in civic dialogue.

Openness allows for new perspectives and solutions to emerge.

Origins of OER

I found this interview about the origins of Open Education Resources (OER) fascinating. Prepared in honor of 2012 Open Education Week, QFI interviewed two of the movement’s main pioneers: Lisa Petrides, Founder of Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education, and Marshall “Mike” Smith, Public Policy expert and professor. Lisa and Mike are not only leaders in the field, but they are also members of QFI’s Education Technology and Innovation Program Advisory Group. In this video, we hear about the beginnings of open education, the role that QFI can play in this field, how they both became involved in this movement, and what is the education philosophy that drives their participation in open education.