by Corey Blay
Sitting in Gov 3.0, I often find myself on the cutting edge of pedagogical innovation. We talk about open data and its applications in a flipped classroom structure that invites the students as participants in a learning community to leverage their skills and collaborative to construct new knowledge. Listening to open data advocates and engineers alike I can hear a true excitement about innovation new modes of learning and educating – an approach that is iterative, self-directed, yet community focused.
Yet, I’ve also wondered aloud how “new” any of this actually is. While elements of lean start up and computer programming are relatively new in their applications, the spirit behind their respective modes of learning are definitely not new. Indeed, I would posit that Open Pedagogy is a natural outgrowth and new iteration of progressive education. Let’s uncover why.
Open pedagogy employs, “a wide variety of options… from open online courses to even open online projects. Open pedagogy encourages educators blended learning opportunities and integration of technology in all curriculum [sic]. Open pedgagogy also promotes collaboration within communities of learning and alternative methods of learning like inquiry based projects.” Inquiry based learning is at the core of progressive education. And utilizing tools, be they wooden blocks or an iPad, to construct new understanding also is a core tenant of progressive education. When I hear these descriptions I can’t help but think about John Dewey and his impact of modern education.
In fact, this summary notes “while instruction in process-oriented composition classrooms clearly shares many elements with the Open Source method, few pedagogies have engaged fully with the implications of that method.” I found this quote to be truly fascinating, because up until this point I hadn’t heard any advocate of open pedagogy acknowledge its historical roots. In fact, after one class I had a rather animated conversation about this very subject where I was told emphatically there are no examples of this type of learning anywhere.
That statement is clearly untrue, but I have often wondered why it is seemingly so important for open pedagogy to be a new construction – why it has to be untied to the history of pedagogy that precedes this moment or technology innovation. Not only do I find that notion to be antithetical to Open Pedagogy’s core element of iterative design, I also just find it short sighted. If we have more data points available to help better design an open ed approach to pedagogy – use them! In the end, it will only help us become better educators and learners.