Getting across Milan is very easy on public transport. It only took me 30 mins to get from Navigli in the south of the city to Bovisa train station in the north. Luckily most of the journey was under cover so I managed to avoid getting soaked by the rain! Day 2 started with opening address from Chrissy Nerantzi and Rosa Maiello and then there was a brief introduction to a new Math and Stats resources Next there was the opening keynote from Carassa Dadda on Advancing Science and Math Education Worldwide through OER: Lessons learned from PhET interactive simulations:  PhET website gives a good overview of their work: “Founded in 2002 by Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman, the PhET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado Boulder creates free interactive math and science simulations. PhET sims are based on extensive education research and engage students through an intuitive, game-like environment where students learn through exploration and discovery” The aim is to make STEM learning more interactive and interesting.

Day 2.1

The first presentation I went to was ‘What is Open Education? Part 1: Are MOOCs Open Educational Resources?’ (Christian M. Stracke) First gave a definition of OERs, then looked at OER typologies and frameworks (SAMR, ICAP,7Cs), then he looked at definitions of Massive, Online, Open Courses (MOOCs) – MOOCs are growing with 81m students 800+ universities. MOOCs and quality: drop out rates over 90% but they could still be considered successful because students just go and get what they want from the course straight away and do not return. A quality reference framework has been developed What is quality open education? Quality cannot be defined except for a specific location and specific aims and objectives of the course. Some conclusions – the reality is complex, MOOCS, from a resources point of view, are not always OERs whilst from a learning innovation perspective they can be and often are more than a MOOC.

After that I went to a short session on Open Education Resources for students by students: challenges and implications. The aim of this research project was to investigate the use of transmedia skills by current students at Manchester Metropolitan University. Some interesting research is taking place – students are watching videos, especially Instagram vloggers. Students were asked to do a mock presentation and then they get feedback from the tutor. Day 2.2Then the students summarise the presentation and create a short video using Creative Commons licences for the images. The first challenge is to understand the digital literacy skills of the student, like recording the screen. Secondly, to create participatory learning environments. Thirdly, to embed this into other modules on the course. Future plans are to expand the number of students creating these videos. Finally the presenter summed up the project with the following sentence: ‘It’s a lot of work but the students are learning more’!

After lunch I went to check out the Poster presentations. Here are two of the posters:

I especially like the poster entitled ‘Sharing the end of the World’ – this is a course at the University of Massachusetts where the tutor asked their students to create a podcast based on end of the world scenarios.  Here is the link to the students podcasts; sound interesting!

After the poster diplays I headed to the action lab on Decentralising education using Bockchain was led by Alexander Mikroyannidis from the Open University. This is ‘hot’ topic at the moment so it led to a lively discussion. We were asked to develop personas and describe how blockchain technology could affect these  personas so the discussion focused around the potential for developing long term records of qualifications, skills and experience that would be useful for employers, students and universities. Alexander is working on a prototype blockchain with several universities at the moment – it will be interesting to see the results of this experimentation into the the prototype version whwn they are revealed.

I next went to Martin Dougiamas’ talk on ‘Building an open education technology platform for the next 100 years’. He started with the values of Moodle and how to make it most efficient as a learning platform (using things like plugins), also he descibed the development of MoodleNet – a platform for Moodle developers and educators. Finally, he outlined the Moodle Education Certification Programe – which are 22 courses that teach skills in Moodle.

He argues that we are now living in a complex and dangerous world with lots of scary things happening, Shrinking world, More data (real and fake), More AI, More corporate influences over news, crazier government behaviour, Issues too complex for anyone to understand, 8-10 billion people struggling to make sense of the world. These are masive global issues that humanity has to resolve or we are going to face a desperate future. For Martin, one solution to these problems is a high quality education:

Day 2 2.5

He unpacked some of these issues in the short period of time that he had but it was good to see he did not start explicitly with the technology. The concepts he outlined in the slide above are civic values that will require new ways of doing things – and maybe that’s what universities should be trying to do! The last part of his talk quickly moved on to the Open EdTech Guiding Principles as a way forward to building the future online learning environment and his last slide should the different ways to keep in touch with these developments:

Day2 2.6

The final Keynote presentation of the day was given by Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams entitled ‘The Warp & Weft of Open Education & Social Justice’. Cheryl used the metaphor of the Warp and Weft to understand the relationship between open Ed and social justice in which Warp threads keep the structure and Weft threads make the pattern. The two interrelated to create the Weave like the traditional Shweshwe cloth (the African denim). This was brought by the European settlers to South Africa.

Using Nancy Fraser’s definition of social justice Cheryl argued we need 1. economic equity; 2. cultural diversity.; 3. Politically who has the decision-making power? Open education is looking for these 3 things – these were encapsulated in the Cape Town Open Education declaration. Open education needs to ‘weave’ the economics, cultural and political elements of justice together in the resources and practices it produces:

Day 22.6.jpg


So that was the end of my Day 2 – the Gala Conference Dinner is tonight for the lucky few so I’m off to explore a bit of my local neighbourhood Navigli tonight!