Open EdTech Summit (I). Panel: Trends in Education

I am at the Open EdTech Summit where very interesting people from the world of Education and instructional technology have gathered to share best practices, as the basis for discussions to help identify future education and technology needs and trends for next-generation educational and learning environments.

Opening Up Education
Vijay Kumar, MIT

A departure point of the session is Toru Iiyoshi & Vijay Kumar’s book Opening Up Education (2008), which gathers experiences on open education around the World (and can be freely downloaded at the book’s site).

Some issues: what does open education mean for the future of institutions? how can it be made financially sustainable? how can it work as an agency for change in both formal and informal education? how can niche learning communities take advantage of open educational resources?

Three axes: Open Technology, Open Content, Open Knowledge.


  • Investigate the transformative potential and ecological transitions: does open education helps in finding solutions to the structural or traditional problems of education? can quality be scaled to reach wide national needs? what’s the role and design of blended learning? how can we throw down the boundaries of education?
  • Change Education’s culture and policy: fight inertial frames (e.g. “scarcity of knowledge/content”), enabling structures, how can open education help to improve access to and quality of education? are we ready for that much openness? what arrangements have to be made in institutions and educators to benefit from openness?

Susan D’Antoni, UNESCO IIEP

Not only universities: but education as a whole, universal primary education, gender equity.

The Horizon Report 2008 states some crucial aspects: the needed change of scope and leadership in research topics related to education (and open education); the importance of mobile devices for mobile learning; the emphasis on collaborative learning that demands new forms of interaction and assessment; new literacies that education has to bring into curricula.

Experience shows that communities of interest are useful for:

  • awareness raising and identifiying who the leaders to be informed are
  • spreading knowledge and capacity bulding
  • guarantee quality and serve as a reputation device for both content and people

Paul G. West, Commonwealth of Learning

The “openness” process has to be smooth and progressive, and same applies to the process of “blendification” or “e-learningification” of Education, specially in those communities where the digital divide is more than a tag (physical access, broadband, affordability…).

In this sense, it is important to see that the sharing will not be one-way sharing (from developed to developing countries) but a two-way sharing. And this requires a change of mindset in developed countries institutions and people.

We need to think on whole-world terms, and beyond the interests of closed groups. And, on the other hand, on the different perspectives and approaches of the many and many kinds of people and communities around the World. And this takes us back again to the digital divide issue.

Linda G. Roberts, Curriki

There’s always been innovators, innovators that are necessary to break with the way things have normally been done and try and find new ways of doing them… or of doing new things the old way. Normally, doing different is the most difficult way.

Clayton M. Christensen Disrupting Class: work from outside the system, break it. Linda G. Roberts: we should work both from inside and outside the system.

After breaking barriers, after bringing innovations into the spotlight, sustainability is the issue. Innovation requires new strategies. If (methodologically successful) innovations are not here to stay, because they are not sustainable at all, should we engage in the effort of making them up?

Sustainability is also about political or strategical sustainability. Thus, the correct questions have to be put — and given an answer — so that the whole thing makes sense for each and everyone.

Of course, sustainability is not only about taking into account costs, or investment, but also in how this investment is going to cut down final costs of alternatives to the innovation (i.e. the traditional way), in this case, open educational resources.

Llorenç Valverde, Open University of Catalonia

We shouldn’t talk about teaching, but about learning — and this is specially important in open or distance education institutions.

If content is open, the container should be open too.

And, as a matter of fact, if content has any value, it does not make any sense to close it to “protect or investment”, because, sooner or later, someone will open it for us.


Open Ed Tech (2008)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2008) “Open EdTech Summit (I). Panel: Trends in Education” In ICTlogy, #62, November 2008. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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