Thursday, June 25, 2015

Open Education and the iiE

Open Education

Over the past seven weeks, I have been learning more about open education through cases of connected learning in the UofM-Flint course "Investigations in Open Education". We looked at open education through three lenses: tools, communities, and interest-driven practices. The term "open" is not new to education; educators and students have always openly shared, communicated, and learned with others. However, technology in the 21st century has given "open" an entirely new meaning. Open education now means freedom. Freedom to learn when and where we choose, and who we chose to learn with. So, how do we implement this new idea of open learning? 

Connected Learning

Connected learning gives us the framework for open education in the 21st century. In the connected learning framework teachers are no longer the “gatekeeper” of information and shift their schools and classrooms to a more student-centered approach where students become “connected” to social networks and learn to become responsible for their own learning.

"Connected Learning is an educational approach designed for our ever-changing world. It makes learning relevant to all populations, to real life and real work, and to the realities of the digital age, where the demand for learning never stops." (


This all came together during my three days on the UofM campus at the Institute for Innovation in Education (iiE). Day one was interest and academic driven with workshops offed for participants to attend. I had a great time learning more about gamification from Tim Saunders, Amanda Pratt, and Winona Tinholt's workshop, Playtesting: Remixing Off-the-Shelf Games for Your Classroom ( Classroom gamification is something that has really interested me over the past year. In the afternoon, I lead a session on instructional coaching. The session focused on best practices in instructional/technology coaching, from knowledge and skills to supporting innovation, to building relationships and trust. We discuss the role of both the coach and the coached, problem-solved, and network with other coaches. The session was open to current coaches or aspiring coaches, administrators, or anyone who wants to learn more about the role of coaching. (session notes)

Day two focused around educators and business leaders having a shared purpose for innovation in education and networking with one another to make that innovation happen.
Hearing from Richard Sheridan CEO of MENLO Innovations and author of Joy Inc. speak about how a positive work culture and space can help "reintroduce learning, so you can stop teaching" was very powerful and inspiring. The afternoon gave time for some with special projects to share their ideas, needs and wants to help strengthen their projects. I was proud to share the Lincoln Technology Club at the afternoon poster session. During that time, I networked with people in the education, STEM, and technology field to help further my ideas for the club. The un-conference sessions allowed P-12 educators, higher education, non-profit and private sector participants to collaborate, share, and inspire one another around topics fabricated by iiE attendees.

Day three and four was production centered with collaborative project work days. Day three simply allowed participants to produce, create, experiment, and design along with collaborate, share, network and receive feedback from peers. I spent the day working on designing the Lincoln Maker and Technology Club for the fall of 2015. During the breakout jigsaw sessions, I was able to review my work and discuss roadblocks I was having and help I needed to further the project. I left day three feeling that I got a lot accomplished!

Having such great experiences like the iiE and having it help me understand what open and connected learning sounds like, looks like, feels like was very powerful. What if more teachers could have this same experience? The experience to learn more about what interest them. To share, collaborate, and network with others of the same interest. To produce meaningful and innovate work and receive feedback and help from peers.

What would our schools, classrooms, and students look like then?
I imagine much differently.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Open education is a theme! I haven't tried it but I am sure it would increase the desire and interest of students. I would like to try it. I am keen on studying but in a positive way;) I like reading, creating projects, learning something new, and I guess I would be really good as an expert essay paper writer! But this kind of education is new for me and I would like to be part of the open study. You are so lucky guys!