This week our Open Network Learning (ONL) community engaged in the conversation of ‘going open’ with educational resources. In theory, this would include; text, audio and video teaching materials created by educators/scholars. Placed online means a carbon copy released to the world with no clue for where it may end up. #Daunting

FREE for ALL to be downloaded, used, reused and formatted within the public domain under an open intellectual property license agreement with more clauses than an annual gathering of Santa enthusiasts. I find the idea of a world with no borders fascinating and I encourage everyone to consider life devoid of war catalysing patriotism. (conversation for another day).

In 2017 there we around 57 Million people living in South Africa (SA) and roughly 50% of SA homes do not have access to the internet… so tell me how ‘free’ are those resources?

Yes, most OERs are scalable, free online, available to be downloaded, bypass commercial interests and is certainly a couple hundred steps forward from the oligarchs of Socrates day.

Open Educational Resources (OERs) have since the early 2000’s been noted as resources to bridge the social divide, however in the context of SA and countries alike, OERs are maintaining the status quo due to an internet connection not being high on the priority list next to bread, water and electricity.

However, all is not gloom and doom. Progressive pedagogy ninja’s are not oblivious to the reality stated above. They are fully aware of the socioeconomic divide rife in their classrooms, NGO’s and community centres. Classrooms historically have always been a contested space, an extension of the world outside. Failing to acknowledge this and conducting practice devoid of this is certainly naive.

To my peers and other practitioners, it would be a meaningful activity to critically reflect on the social context of learners in your classroom before you email them a link which holds the keys to their future. Assuming that your job is done after clicking send is an indication of the need to reflect on your community and your obligation to go the extra mile.

A good place to start would be reading Stephen D. Brookfield’s, Becoming a Critically Reflection Teacher. Ironically, I can’t share that with you due to it’s IP agreement.

When one door closes, another one… BANG!