Guest Post : Open Knowledge – Marieke Guy

In the first of our series of guest posts we hear from Marieke Guy from Open Knowledge.

marieke

Hi, I’m Marieke Guy and I work for Open Knowledge (https://okfn.org)  a global not-for-profit organization that want to open up knowledge around the world and see it used and useful.

My main area of interest is open education, I co-ordinate the Open Education Working Group (http://education.okfn.org) and I work on a project called LinkedUp (http://linkedup-project.eu).

linked-up

LinkedUp is an EU-funded project that aims to push forward the exploitation of public, open data available on the Web, in particular by educational institutions and organizations.

Open Educational Practices

oep

The Open Education Working Group brings together people and groups interested in open education in an effort to initiate cross-sector, cross-domain, global activity that encompasses the various facets of open education. One of these facets is open educational practices (OEPs), and open learning and teaching practices. These two terms are often used interchangeably. One could argue that open learning and teaching practices is more of an umbrella term for any open practices related used in education while open educational practices tends to refer more specifically to the use of Open Education Resources (OERs) in learning and teaching. For the sake of this blog post I’m talking about the broad spectrum of innovative teaching and learning techniques that often build on open resources and have open technology at their heart.

 

Traditional pedagogy is based on the idea of teaching and learning – the teacher transfers knowledge to students.  However the teacher – student relationship has changed with the introduction of the Internet and the distribution of knowledge. The challenge now is not to appropriately transfer the knowledge, but to teach learners how to appropriately extract the knowledge that they need independently. Teaching and learning is evolving from fact learning to competence development, where competence is the combination of knowledge and motivation for application.

We have begun to see the blurring or removal of traditional roles such as teacher, student and educator and moves towards mentor and learner. These new approaches to learning where people create and shape knowledge openly together promotes practices and policies that advance the vision of removing barriers to learning..

The Cape Town Open Education Declaration (http://www.capetowndeclaration.org ) reads: “open education is not limited to just open educational resources. It also draws upon open technologies that facilitate collaborative, flexible learning and the open sharing of teaching practices that empower educators to benefit from the best ideas of their colleagues. It may also grow to include new approaches to assessment, accreditation and collaborative learning“.

Open data in Schools

One new activity that falls under the banner of open learning and teaching practices that the working group is currently exploring is the use of open data in schools. In the open education field there tends to be a lot of focus on open resources, but open data and its potential is a relatively new area. Open data is data that can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose (from the open definition http://opendefinition.org).

There are many kinds of open data that have potential uses and applications (from https://okfn.org/opendata/):

Cultural: Data about cultural works and artefacts — for example titles and authors — and generally collected and held by galleries, libraries, archives and museums.

  • Science: Data that is produced as part of scientific research from astronomy to zoology.
  • Finance: Data such as government accounts (expenditure and revenue) and information on financial markets (stocks, shares, bonds etc).
  • Statistics: Data produced by statistical offices such as the census and key socioeconomic indicators.
  • Weather: The many types of information used to understand and predict the weather and climate.
  • Environment: Information related to the natural environment such presence and level of pollutants, the quality and rivers and seas.
  • Transport: Data such as timetables, routes, on-time statistics.
  • Building data literacy is a core part of enabling people to use and build on the data that exists.

school-of-data

To make use of the potential of open data users need to be skilled in understanding data and asking relevant questions of the data. School of Data (http://schoolofdata.org) is working to improve data literacy among civil society organizations, journalists and citizens. However there is currently relatively little data education in schools meaning that data literacy levels continue to be low, both in and out of schools.

At the next Open Education Working Group call to be held on Monday 29th September 3pm – 4pm BST (http://education.okfn.org/fifth-open-education-working-group-call/) we will be exploring open data education in schools.

There will two brief talks:

  •  Marco Fioretti, freelance writer, popularizer, activist and teacher, will talk about using open data in schools. See his recent blog post for more details.
  • Rayna Stamboliyska, board member of Open Knowledge France and founder of its Open/Citizen Science workgroup, is in the process of setting up the very first ‘data expedition for kids’. Rayna will tell us how plans are coming along and hopefully spark a discussion on innovative approaches to learning and the implications for open education.

Come along to the call or join the working group mailing list if you’d like to find out more (http://education.okfn.org/mailing-list/).



 

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