The Open Education Working Group: What do we do and what is coming up next

The Open Education Working Group (https://education.okfn.org) is a very active community of educators, researchers, PhD students, policy makers and advocates that promote, support and collaborate with projects related with the advancement of Open Education in different fields at international level. This group aims at supporting the development of Open Educational projects at international level but also, at promoting good practices in Open Education. In this blog we give an update on our recent activities.

The coordinators of the group are Paul Bacsich (@pbacsich) (Open Policies), a professor with a large experience in educational policy and open education, Annalisa Manca (@AnnalisaManca) (Open Science), an expert in critical pedagogy currently completing her PhD in Medical Education and Javiera Atenas @jatenas (Open Data) a lecturer with a PhD in Education with interest in Open Data and Media Literacies.

Our ethos is to be a platform that promotes Openness in education at all levels, including OER, Open Science, Open Education and Open Access focusing on Open Educational Practices to democratise and enhance education at all levels. Our mission is to support organisations and individuals to implement, support and develop Open Education projects, research and policies and also to support communities of open practice towards ensuring that everyone can have democratic access to education.

In the last years we have done lots of things, published books, worked with Open Education international organisations, and participated in a large number of projects, some of which can be summarised as follows:

Publication of the Open Educator Handbook, which has been written to provide a useful point of reference for readers with a range of different roles and interests who are interested in learning more about the concept of Open Education and to help them deal with a variety of practical situations.

Publication of the book Open Data as Open Educational Resources: Case studies of Emerging Practice. This book contains a series of case studies related with use of open data as pedagogical materials. The authors of this chapters are academics and practitioners who have been using open data in different educational scenarios and the cases present different dynamics and approaches for the use of open data in the classroom.

Involvement in the POERUP policy project and the OpenMed project, aimed at opening up teaching and learning resources in the southern Mediterranean countries – in partnership with UniMed Rome.

Organisation of a pre-Open Data Day event at UCL,  which was round table to discuss challenges and opportunities of the use of open data as teaching and learning resources with a group of expert  and practitioners  and with the Latin American Open Data Initiative. We also organised a course for academics on Open Data as Open Educational Resources with the support of the Open Education Unit of the Universidad de la República Uruguay in partnership with A Scuola di OpenCoesione. The outcome of the course can be read in the blog Putting research into practice: Training academics to use Open Data as OER: An experience from Uruguay.

In regards with campaigning we have worked with Communia in support for their rightcopyright.eu campaign for better education, aimed at collecting petitions from educators throughout Europe to let the European Parliamentarians know we need a better copyright for education. You can read more about it in this blog.

Our blog at https://education.okfn.org/blog reflects the current state of the arts in Open Education around the world. We have blog posts from Croatia, Sweden, Brazil, Scotland, Finland, Germany, Italy and Spain on different topics, from Open Educational Resources Toolkits, Open Education Policy, Open Data and Open Education  Research. In our forum we have spaces for different communities of practice to interact, exchange and discuss. You can join the discussion through: https://discuss.okfn.org/c/working-groups/open-education

At the moment we are supporting the 101openstories, a collaborative project led by a group of Open Practitioners aimed at collecting stories and ideas of openness from educators, researchers and learners in general. Also, we are supporting the development of local Open Education Working Groups such as the Italian network of Open Educators, who met recently in Bologna to discuss an agenda to promote and enhance open education accross all the educational sectors in Italy (read more).

In this Year of Open we will be participating in a series of events and congresses, including the Latin American Open Data Conference in Costa Rica in August, Con Datos and the OER congress in Slovenia in September. Also, we have joined the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data towards collaborating with different initiatives towards improving Open Data literacies.

We are always open to collaborations and willing to support innovative projects on Open Education. If you would like to get in touch with us, you will find us on twitter as @okfnedu or via email at okfn.edu@gmail.com.

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