I think a successful community of practice requires a shared set of common goals and a willingness to share your own experiences and workarounds for challenges. General examples are the Moodle and RaspberryPi CoPs. In the Pacific, we have the Fiji National University’s nascent Pasifika Wisdom Community.
Both are examples of open communities which foster open and transparent communications. Hopefully the experience of using a variety of open tools in this DS4OERS course will provide ideas for open communication platforms for Pacific teachers to connect.
Building a thriving community of teachers that create, adopt and share OER is very much needed in this online teaching/ digital education era post COVID19 since it is now for students from early childhood to tertiary level. Resources needed would be the technology such as tablets, laptops and smart phones and internet that is fast and readily available at a cheap cost to everyone and data for learning for students and teachers . Here the community coordinators such as Ministry of Education, Internet providers such as Vodaphone and Digicel and most important is generally parents and Principals and teachers can assist through school to provide free or low cost resources and tools. Collaboration and communication with the relevant stakeholders from Government, Ministry of Education, Principals and teachers and the various internet and technology providers is important step which will also be sustainable and in the best interest of our learners (our students). Tertiary institutions like Fiji National University (FNU) and Ministry of Education can promote OER in Fiji. Its very important to create awareness of workshops such as this and other learning modes to teachers around the region and incentives can be given like certificates and professional development registration to encourage them.
I think for developing nations like Fiji, availability of digital tools and experts to conduct ‘‘Training of Trainers’’ is essential to improve digital literacy amongst members of the community, especially with teachers and students.
You are correct in stating that all should have that common interest in creating awareness. I am a member of Wisdom Community of Pasifika Teachers organized by FNU. It is really encouraging to see how they are motivating the teachers during this pandemic to conduct lessons and assessments using different platforms example Zoom and Google forms respectively. They have a great vision.
Will be interested to hear how this COP can support and promote OER adoption in the region. Zoom and Google forms are valuable tools - but they are not open technologies. This raises an interesting question - can or should we be using closed tools to achieve open goals?
I’m playing “devils advocate” here to seed discussion, thoughts and ideas.
Hi @mackiwg, you have raised a pertinent point here! My take on the issue is that, at this point in time, we in the Pacific need to make efficacious use of technologies that are easily/readily available to the masses. When it comes to openness, I would always encourage practitioners /teachers to ‘openly’ share the associated skills and pedagogical practices with others - The processes are equally important. Technological-associated pedagogical practices/skills are easily transferable as well. It is a continuous topic, and thanks for assuming the role of the devil’s advocate.
On this point, I respectfully disagree. I don’t think that using tools that are readily available for the masses which subject users to surveillance capitalism are in the best interests of sustainable technology solutions for the Pacific. (Apology - the “devil” is “advocating” ).
I think that WCPT has a unique advantage to play a leadership role in open, and I don’t think the goals of open are easily achieved through closed solutions.
But to be fair - I am an open radical, so expecting a fair share of push back from those preferring closed solutions
Appreciate your response to what will hopefully become an insightful, productive and constructive discussion for Pacific technology futures in education and how we build and support OER COPs.
Really appreciate your warm comments re #WCPT, and thanks for your continuous support.
I’d expect nothing less from you [one open advocate to another]. Having a positive outlook doesn’t mean you never feel the “push back” emotions – I hear you, been there and somewhat still there. I guess the devil is, indeed, in the details, the key seems to be finding the right balance between closed and levels of openness; then we get the best of both worlds ……What do you think? Have a great one!
Excellent question with multiple factors to keep in balance.
As advocates and leaders of open, I believe that we have an obligation to model an “open first” philosophy, for example, always ensuring that there is a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) option in everything we do. This does not preclude members of the community using proprietary tools thus respecting freedom of choice, but we should not force any learner or educator to sacrifice their personal data by using the so-called “free” tools.
For some educators this can be a challenge, for example, where organizations restrict users from installing software on computers owned by the employer. Also, budget may be a barrier for fledgling communities who may not have the technical expertise or fiscal resources to host FOSS alternatives.
However, the power of open is that we could establish a co-operative model where institutions across the Pacific could donate a little time of their technical staff for administering shared FOSS infrastructure. For example, a BigBlueButton sever for web conferencing, LimeSurvey for online forms, NextCloud using OnlyOffice for collaborative document editing etc.
The DS4OERS course is based entirely on FOSS tools - so it shows it can be done. For example, the Commonwealth of Learning set up a WordPress Multisite instance for the pacificopencourses.col.org website where the DS4OERS course is hosted. The direct cost for this Digital Ocean droplet (the cloud hosting infrastructure) is about $50 per month. We checked server loads and performance yesterday over the last few days for the +1300 learners registered for the course. We are confident this set up could easily scale to support 10,000 learners. My point being, the technology is not expensive, and if we focus on better technical collaboration in the region, we could potentially eliminate the need to use tools that expose our learners to surveillance capitalism.
An open first approach provides the freedom for our region to establish sustainable technology solutions.
Lots to think about and thanks for opening the conversation (pun intended)
Deepak Prasad the sessions held by FNU through WCPT and PTKP has been a great support for online teaching such as IVCAM, GOOGLE FORMS, MUTIMEDIA FOR LOW BANDWITH and teaching using ZOOM The PD registration has encouraged more teachers to be part of it. Teaching online lessons has been a challenge I have used all the lessons learnt via the platform and hoping for more sessions that make my lessons more interesting