We are back from the joint conference of "Towards Open eEurope – Challenges for Teacher Education" and ESPs "Learning goes mobile". Our workshop had 12 participants from all around Europe: Belgium, Netherlands, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia, Finland, Germany, Poland, Portugal and Spain. The total amount of educational professionals in both conferences was around 200.
Half of our workshop was held in Vantaa at Palmenia continuity education centre and half at the 2800 passenger Silja Serenade ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm. Everything went very well, expect the organization at the ferry was lacking a bit. We didn’t have our conference room reserved and the timetables were always late, for example. I guess it would have been better to have two intensive days instead of four days with short sessions and long breaks in very diverse environments (Stockholm, Vantaa, Järvenpää, Helsinki, ferry etc). People had problems in adapting to changing situations.
The participants had to work as researchers of three future scenarios describing the world in year 2010 (see the attached PDF documents):
- Learner Communities
- Customized Learning
Both me and Timo thought that our workshop was a great success. The people gave breathtaking presentations of the work they did. The way all of them explained the logo and name of their team displayed expectional creativity and deep understanding of their topic. I would hire every one of them to design me a brand which has a meaning.
My impression was that the way they had to tackle very complex and new issues from various points of view related to FLOSS, emerging technologies and changes in teaching and learning resulted in major conceptual changes in the way they perceive the world. I hope they have been able to set a strategy for their organizations related to issues they had learned during the session.
I think my objective was fulfilled. I tried to help them understand FLOSS not only as freely available software pieces but as connected and related to major changes happening in our society, business and education as a whole. I and Timo also learned a lot from them. We heard very fresh ideas when they explained their understanding of things like Open Content and Connectivism. We will write more about these later.
One thing they noticed was that they are all very different people coming from very different cultures. Greatest opportunities emerge from understanding the differencies while building shared understanding. This is what we have to do more: connect ideas from different cultures to come up with something new. In that context Open Content and Open Source is very important. Free culture, if you will.
We recorded their presentations so that we could write something more detailed about their ideas, but for now here are some preliminary results:
The work with these great people will continue online in step 2 using tools like FLOSS weblogs and wikis. This will be about brainstorming EU project ideas related to ICT in education. Obviously, all project proposals will be connected to these three scenarios that were under development.
Some other things experienced during the ride:
- The Polish women came up with new names for me and Timo: Timon and Pumba. Obviously I’m the clever Timon and Timo is Pumba
- A debate with a person from one of the largest publishers
about Open Content. It’s interesting to see the differencies when the
other party has a completely commercial mindset. I think that’s where
you start to loose the fact that there are other values as well… and there is a major shift towards those other values in progress at the moment in our society. Citizen journalism is only one example. Maybe
that’s exactly the thing that will hit the forehead of larger
publishers in the next 5 years if they are not able to deal with the change (no, suing your own customers is not the right way)