Think about the technology you choose in Open Education

@moodler After your input, Martin, we switched to NextCloud + Only Office which was setup by Gerald Henzinger, one of the team members. Thanks, Gerald.

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Interesting - I wonder what the trend looks like… The data I saw suggested that 800 million gained Internet access (from 4.1billion to 4.9) between 2019 and 2021 (source: https://www.itu.int/hub/2021/11/facts-and-figures-2021-2-9-billion-people-still-offline/ ). If we assume a linear deployment trajectory, that suggests about 5.7 billion online by the end of 2023, which, if we’ve got 7.8 billion total population (as the article implies), suggests the number without Internet access is closer to 2.3 billion now, and dropping rapidly.

At the current (assumed) rate, over the course of the next 6 years, that number will be approaching 0. The biggest issue is that the adoption of Internet access is driven by individuals with diverse incentives (self interest, especially) and many actors bringing substantial resources to bear in pursuing it (as I’m sure you know, the Network Effect is a formidable social force).

The process of a) developing a viable static (non-Internet-based) OER deployment mechanism (I’m aware of a few efforts, but though they’re great work, they’re very modest efforts, resource-wise), b) assembling, in a useful format, a critical mass of OERs, and then c) scaling the initiative to get it to those people in need… will take at least that long, and will be carried out by far fewer people with scant resources in comparison.

I’d wager that Internet access will reach almost everyone long before such a ‘static’ effort possibly could, even if it had a thousand times the resources behind it that any of the current efforts do.

Thanks for this important reminder, Martin. This issue is why I stopped taking Creative Commons seriously as a leader in this space.

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I have been following this topic with interest, an important one that I will be reflecting on more fully and will link to my post later. My reason for posting this now is that I notice that Rachel and myself are the only female replies so far. There are some really valid points made so far and useful sharing but let’s get more granularity into the discussion: who makes the choices of tools we use at work? Practitioners like myself rarely have a voice. Let’s make sure this thread in this open space welcomes input from all by explicitiy acknowledging that tool choice may be a luxury which many don’t have.

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Thanks for speaking up, Teresa. I’m always trying to find ways to enable as much participating as possible. The disparity in input is likely more a factor of how many of us are dispersed in so many communities, and how thin people’s attentions are spread. While I would like OEG Connect to be a key place to go, it’s not always on everyone’s scans.

I can think of many female voices that are active elsewhere on this topic, @ammienoot leaps to mind.

You do raise a valid point on how technology platform choices seem to be done at the “big iron” level and more often than not, towards proprietary ones. I was following a major projects resource collection where once off the front page, everything one tries to access comes up with a MS login. There seems to be an institutional retreat from self management of technology based tools.

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Thanks Teresa! … I see two separate issues mixed in there … gender and the power of practitioners over tech choices.

For those with power in a space, I 100% agree it’s always a good idea for them to use that power to open up the space to all voices (and I hope no-one feels this thread is trying to exclude anyone!)

Conversely, it’s also the case that if an individual wants more of a voice in any forum, they can increase their confidence through self-education. I’ve seen an issue many times where someone will put themselves into a category of “I don’t know about technology” and makes themself reliant on others. There is also a great learning power in asking just good questions!

I think practitioners should be CENTRAL in Ed Tech choices, and should be getting involved in them in their own institutions whenever they can. Be annoying to IT departments about what you want, and raise awareness of open philosophy and risks that you see. Unfortunately too many decisions are driven by spreadsheet …

I think something we can do here at OEG is to help educate each other on the options and language, on promoting a learning culture around the many great open education resources available to help people get more active in the technology choices around education.

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I also recently discovered https://cryptpad.fr which is doing GREAT as Google Docs replacement in my early tests.

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Thanks for spurring me to blog again!

Thanks for reminding us of the need for a diverse discussion, @warwicklanguage . I would desperately love a broader array of people to be participating, but not sure how to achieve that. Any suggestions would be gratefully accepted. It might be worth mentioning that what I find most empowering about open (libre) technology - and I think this is often missed by people feeling disempowered in their day-to-day tech situation - is that the cost of experimenting with open technologies (unlike any proprietary procurement) is negligible. The cost of a ‘pilot’ or an idle experiment can be measured in cents for a proof-of-concept. All you need to participate is a few hours of time, a credit card, reasonable literacy, and a computer connected to the internet.

At the OER Foundation, we’ve focused on providing copy-and-paste tutorials to help anyone have a try of these open technologies we’ve been using, for their own edification or to show their IT people “here, this is how easy it is. And it works. Try it.”

The case for doing so feels so compelling to me, I find it staggering that it’s not being done by someone at every institution, globally. If anyone wants to try these ‘recipes’ themselves at https://tech.oeru.org, and would like some virtual-in-person assistance (using libre technologies, of course!), just let me know, I’ll be overjoyed to help!

I can feel and share your frustration. I would like to suggest that you share your suggestion live in our Future Teacher webinar later this month. The timezone may be an issue but if you can’t come personally I will share your invitation at this event (which is also included on the OE week calendar) heck it out here Future Teacher Talks UK

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Timezone willing (I think it’d be 2-3am for me here, ouch), I’d be happy to participate and make my suggestion live at your webinar… or, as you say, I’d be happy to have you pass on my message as well. If folks want to see what we’re talking about, our FOSSDLE paper gives an inkling, and we have a list of our FOSS technologies (and the proprietary tools they replace) for which we can provide guidance and a working demonstrator (or direct access - our BigBlueButton is currently underutilised, and would be great for open edtech meetings - anyone interested, let us know and we’ll send you an invite. It’s at least as good as Zoom (which is neither ‘open’ nor privacy respecting).

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Thanks, I don’t expect you to join us in the middle of the night but I will happily pass on your information and invitation :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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