Caring for OER

This is the beginning of a post I’m researching on the CARE Framework using a workflow that includes Zotero to record and display reference information and Hypothesis to record and display notes.

As I haven’t drafted any content yet, so far this post just displays the references and notes I’ve already collected.

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Post-Fact Fictions: Let’s Get REAL About Information Literacy

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I’m still thinking about the 2016 US election and what it means for the people, ideas and future I care about. One thing that is clear to me is that understanding and participating in such an election calls on all of us—regardless of our point of view—to increase our information literacy and use it to inform our critical reasoning. How’s your statistical and data literacy doing?

Folks are saying we now live in a “post fact” world, but I recognize that “facts” have always been generated within cultural, political, economic, and social contexts. If anything, we are drowning in facts, not sailing away from them. To survive, we need to get better at understanding how facts are now made, circulated, and given value.

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Open Batteries

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When kids are little, we are quick to share their works, without worrying if they are worthy, or if sharing gets in the way of the creator’s growth. A first scribble hung on the fridge engages its crayon-wielding artist in community, audience, and their own creative evolution. I still remember my first daughter’s prolific Blue Period, quickly far too large for her limited fridge gallery.

Yet as soon as kids enter school, their work descends into an underworld of assessment: kindergarten’s finger paintings give way to worksheets, reports, and standardized tests that fall quickly to their final, lonely resting places, giving off the dying breath of grades.

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REAL Circuits of Learning

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Now that Renewable Experiential & Applied Learning has an acronym (REAL), the next thing it needs is metaphors and cocktail napkin sketches…so here goes:

Napkin sketch showing learners moving between educational educational and workplace settings along a circuit, generating and storing value in OER-based renewable assignments.

A key part of REAL’s “renewability” is the idea of connecting learning and experience in virtuous cycles that rotate through activities in educational organizations and the wider world of communities and workplaces. My first metaphor for these virtuous cycles is an electrical circuit:

  1. Learners are the electrical charge,
  2. traveling from knowledge-building activities in educational settings
  3. across conduits to activities of practice in community/workplace settings
  4. and then completing the circuit by returning to their original educational setting.
  5. Once returned, learners amplify their experience by engaging in renewable assignments
  6. that further their learning and enable assessment of their progress toward learning goals.

In this “electric” metaphor, the openly-licensed artifacts (OER) that learners generate via renewable assignments at different points around the circuit act as batteries, storing the power of learning to later empower other learners and learning.

 

Getting Real: Renewable Experiential & Applied Learning

One of the best parts about working with David Wiley (@opencontent) at Lumen Learning is how he inspires new thinking in me and others around him.

A series of conversations with David about what he introduced me to as disposable assignments—students hate doing them, you hate grading them—led us to start calling the alternative—assignments where students produce meaningful, public works—”renewable assignments”. David has expanded on this thinking, talking about the potential cognitive surplus that could be realized if all disposable assignments became renewable.

This line of thinking in turn led me to start imagining larger constellations of renewable educational activity. For example: imagine an EDU institution that has relationships with one or more local businesses, nonprofits or government organizations. Graduates from the institution are often employed by the organizations and/or organization workers often participate in professional development at the institution. These relationships exist all over and are a welcome sign of healthy community engagement and economic development.

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