The most exciting aspect of the Open Education movement for me is the wealth of free resources that anyone with an internet connection can connect with and learn from. Bonk (2009), reflecting on free courses available with all of the content from prestigious universities, says that “those with Web access now had a passport to learn from the best” (p. 167). The fact that there are people willing to produce and share free content for its own sake, or make available existing coursework for free, is a sign that we all can benefit from, and add to!, the Open Education movement (look at Massive Online Open Courses-MOOCs). Bonk (2009) further asserts that “this sharing culture will be the mark of teaching and learning in the twenty-first century” (p. 366).
One of the biggest challenges that needs to be overcome is the most blatant one: how do people without internet connection learn with, and add value to, educational content on the Web? Bonk (2009) says that one billion out of 6.7 billion having internet access, while the numbers are not current in The World is Open, we can assume that three years has not added billions of new users, but it’s getting there! The simple fact is more and more people are being connected to the internet, not less. While more people are gaining access to educational content and materials, more input can be given and more knowledge can be shared, strengthening one of the biggest factors of the Open Education Movement.
The Open Education Movement and Open resources will aid learners in finding more, free information during the Major World Religions learning activity, taking place both inside and outside the classroom. My students have access to smart phones, laptops, iPads and computer labs, and use a variety on a daily basis. My question this week touches on the have-nots: Are individual computing devices necessary for blended learning in our mobile and wireless age, or can students make due with computer labs and in-class computers?
Bonk, C. (2009). The World is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.