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This morning the LinkedUp team facilitated the Open Education Panel Session: The facets of open education. Resources, data and culture at OKCon in Geneva. There were over 100 attendees with delegates sitting on the floor!

Stefan
The session was opened by Stefan Dietze, who introduced the LinkedUp project.

The panel session was moderated by Doug Belshaw, Badges & Skills Lead, Mozilla Foundation.

First up was Jackie Carter, Senior Manager, MIMAS, Centre of Excellence, University of Manchester, who gave the Open Educational Resources perspective. Jackie used the analogy of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird to touch on areas such as the co-existence of open and non-open and how OERs can help with social inequality. She highlighted the UN millenium goals through which world leaders forged a commitment to provide education to all children. Jackie made a plea for organisations and individuals to be courageous as individuals and institutions. She finished by touching on copyright tensions, including Harper Lee’s own battle in this area.

Panel
Panelists: From left to right: Mathieu d’Aquin, Davide Storti, Jackie Carter and Doug Belshaw.

Next we heard from Davide Storti, Programme Specialist, Communication and Information Sector (CI), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) who gave us the open practitioner perspective. Davide talked about the UNESCO OER programme and their role in bridging the gap between practitioner and policy. He talked about YouthMobile, a project that is helping girls and boys develop mobile phone apps.

Lastly Mathieu d’Aquin, Research Fellow, Knowledge Media Institute, Open University, UK, who is a LinkedUp Project team member gave the open data perspective. Mathieu began by explaining that he is interested in open data because he is a techy and likes developing apps. However he recognises that ultimately open data in education is about giving people the ability to do what they want to do. Applications have to be useful and appropriate.

The first question in the discussion session was about how many OERs are available. The panelists were unable to give a definite answer but it was acknowledged that there were a lot but there were still subject areas in which they were lacking. Jackie gave the example of upskilling social scientists in quantitative analysis skills – she is currently trying to encourage release of materials in this area and other strateically important areas. Mathieu pointed out that open educational resources could apply to anything and for students and educators it was often just stuff to help them teach. Doug pointed out that OER is a supply-side term.

Discussion then moved on to how while open education is often about OERs and open data it is actually the culture that needs to change. Other question areas that there was no time for included embedded power structures and how you mitigate them, the ontology of these power structures and workflows of open source software.

At the end of the session the Open Knowledge Foundation Open Education Working Group was officially launched!

Slides from the session are available on Slideshare.

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