Open your Mind
     As we wrap-up our first week in LRNT 521, I’m struck by several topics that could be summed up within the theme of “open.” It has been an amazing week of learning and exploration, and I suspect that I might not be alone in feeling a bit overwhelmed, wondering what I have got myself into! To paraphrase Elizabeth Childs’ words, my brain is quite saturated, between the symposium presentations, tech set-up, connecting with colleagues, and reading articles. This is not a bad thing, but rather a matter of opening oneself up to new experiences and finding the ideal spot within the Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky, 1984) as we poise for great learning, great exploration. In his ARP presentation video, Earl Einarson concluded by encouraging his viewers, “Wherever you are, it’s ok; so you’ll get where you need to be when you need to be there.” (Einarson, 2021)
     I am excited and impressed by the passion, excitement, and energy evident in all of the experts who so graciously and openly shared their time and knowledge through the symposium and their writings. We walk through an ever-changing landscape in the field of education, particularly in the realm of learning and technology which seems to move at an unpredictably accelerating rate of change. Early presentations from 2017 as well as Amanda Coolidge’s on April 12, 2021, Open Education: what it is; what it does and its amazing impact!, directly emphasized openness. One may take this as meaning free versus for a fee in the world of educational resources and processes, and the complexity of the issue is compounded given that the medium and the content are so intertwined. As we shift towards more open resources, there are questions percolating about the real cost of education, the role of the instructor/facilitator, and how to incorporate standardization and quality assurance. Stakeholders and influencers encounter and even create conflicts between old versus new and dominant cultures within this open, constructivist and connectivist realm.
     In conclusion, I find myself pondering the personal application of the tension between openness and privacy, and one’s personal responsibility around this (Muirhead & Robertson, 2021, 6:16). I grapple with an uncomfortable feeling of perhaps living an unexamined digital life, to paraphrase Socrates, as I continue to reflect on their message. Self-application combined with an awareness of the role that technology plays for younger generations, many of whom perceive technology and digital presence as an extension of self, living with some constant degree of anxiety within a digital cancel culture and navigating this world with evident ease, but perhaps also naivety. Let’s embrace the opportunity to explore, learn, and share in the spirit of openness, for the betterment of ourselves and our communities.

References

Coolidge, A., (2021). Open Education: what it is; what it does and its amazing impact! [Video]. Blackboard Collaborate. https://ca.bbcollab.com/collab/ui/session/playback
Einarson, E., (2021). How can we incorporate Indigenous Worldviews in the creation of online culturally safe learning environments? [Video]. KUPI. http://malatpresentation.kupiid.ca/index.html
Muirhead, B & Robinson, L., (2021) Digital Privacy & other considerations. [Video]. Blackboard Collaborate. https://ca.bbcollab.com/collab/ui/session/playback
Vygotskii [Vygotsky], L.S. 1984. “Problemy detskoi (vozrastnoi psikhologii).” In Sobranie sochinenii v 6-ti tomakh, vol. 4, pp. 243–432. Moscow: Pedagogika