Chris Follows, my UAL colleague who is managing the DIAL digital literacy project and the initiator of the Process.Arts site is also coming to the end of his SCORE fellowship and has asked folk to reflect on how Process.Arts and Open Educational Practice (OEP) has helped develop my ideas. So here goes:
Point 1: Process.Arts kind of helped me to ‘prove’ a dissident concept that had been rolling around in part of the e-learning scene for quite some time. Namely that the creation and installation of specialist digital repositories for learning resources was not a solution to increasing the sharing and reuse of those learning resources – and driving the attendant cultural changes that are required . This may come as a suprise to those readers outside the e-learning scene, but for quite a long time there a kind of techno-fetish dominating the field of designing, developing and sharing of learning resources (it still does in many ways) – resulting in some truly awful software and a lot of public money being flushed down the drain. Remember the UK e-U? We do need a place to store and manage learning resources but without a social space like Process.Arts to discuss and work on those resources. Without such a space a repository becomes a graveyard that no one ever visits this was a point that the UNESCO chair in e-learning at Barcelona recently made in an EU workshop in Dublin recently. As Patrick Lambe has pointed out, to do this means switching from an info management paradigm to a knowledge paradigm and that in turn means librarians and techies having to go outside their comfort zones and relinquish control. You can find a fuller discussion of these factors in a recent paper some of the the ALTO UK advisory board helped me to write called ONCE (Open Networks for Culture and Education) that was delivered at a workshop in Florence – see http://alto.arts.ac.uk/943/
Point 2: This is the big one and is about OpenEd in general. It gives us (potentially) access to the tools to understand, critique and improve existing educational systems. I say potentially as it also requires a conceptual shift to a more critical appraisal of the status quo which the existence of an open alternative provides. When you have seen how open education is actually being used it makes large parts of the existing education system seem, well, a bit wanting and even irrational and give us a language to express this. So, to borrow a phrase from tech land OpenEd is a powerful disruptor in the education market, interesting times indeed!