Opening the Citizenship Commons

Painting of a sheep lamenting the death of a lamb surrounded by crows.

As a part of participating in the #OpenEdMOOC, we’ve been asked to reflect on copyright, the public domain, and the commons and I’m inspired to link these topics to the thinking I’ve been doing on opening knowledge practices (OKP).

One of the fundamental assumptions I’ve been making is that OKP must be centered in public institutions like schools, colleges, universities, research groups, libraries, and maybe in some cases, nonprofits. Why? Because — at least in the US — only public institutions have both the track records to house persistent practices and are mostly aligned with the values that infuse OKP — in their missions if not always in their practices. For-profit, commercial organizations may certainly make invaluable contributions to OKP, but have not shown themselves to have the lifespans nor sufficient alignment with OKP values to be primary stewards.

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

Graphic showing overlapping petals labelled information literacy, data literacy, statistical literacy, critical reasoning, visual literacy, technology literacy.

Read more posts about Renewable Experiential & Applied Learning (REAL)

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

Kid's art hung on fridge.

Read more posts about Renewable Experiential & Applied Learning (REAL)

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

Read more posts about Renewable Experiential & Applied Learning (REAL) Now that Renewable Experiential & Applied Learning has an acronym (REAL), the next thing it needs is metaphors and cocktail napkin sketches…so here goes: A key part of REAL’s “renewability” is the idea of connecting learning and experience in virtuous cycles that rotate through activities in … Read more

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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