While the work and philosophy of Paulo Freire predates the widespread implementation of digital technology in education, and the emergence of open educational practices as we currently observe and understand them, Freire (1974, 1975) continues to provide a vital critical lense through which we can scrutinise and challenge the nature and purpose of education, and seek to better position higher education as a democratic public good.
Using a Freirean approach that is grounded within critical pedagogy, this session will take the form of a culture circle (Freire, 1974) in which participants will be supported to identify what is to be challenged and changed, with respect to how open education is conceptualised and enacted, in their own educational contexts. Working with participants to locate their personal, institutional and community contexts within a micro, meso, macro framework, the facilitators will share ideas and artefacts from a longitudinal process of dialogue, research and reflection that has resulted in a recently published monograph on the concept of the ‘Digital University’ (Johnston, MacNeill and Smyth, 2019). This work situates open as a central part of a new model for pedagogical and strategic development within universities that challenges the dominance of neoliberal platforms, technology providers and modes of delivery in tertiary education, and which argues for a rethinking of how digital and open education practices are developed and positioned within and beyond the university. Key points and areas of concern within the context of the authors work and critique concern porosity, curriculum development, educational institutions as technology rich space within our communities, value pluralism, public pedagogy (Giroux, 2000) and civic responsibility.
We believe our critique and models (which include a Conceptual Matrix for the University and a model for The Digitally Distributed Curriculum) provide a tangible new way to conceptualise open as a fundamental dimension of organisational and curriculum developments. Thereby providing a force for change that actively brings open in from the periphery to permeate all levels of educational strategy, structures and relationships across international boundaries.
It is our hope that the session will encourage a discussion of participants’ positionality in relation to their definitions and personal experience of geopolitics, university developments and their experience of peripherality. The discussions will be based on the language of hope and critique as advocated by Freire.
Intro and overview of themes and how session will run (10 mins)
Individual response to prompt (5 mins)
Group discussion sharing individual responses and identifying common themes (15 mins)
Open discussion (including sharing of additional artefacts) – sharing of group responses, development of generative themes (20 mins)
Summary (10 mins)
Maximum Number of participants: 20
Freire, P. (1974). Education for Critical Consciousness. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
Freire, P. (1975) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum.
Giroux, H.A. (2000) Public Pedagogy and the Responsibility of Intellectuals: Youth, Littleton, and the loss of innocence, JAC, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 9-42.
Johnston, B., MacNeill, S. and Smyth, K. (2019) Conceptualising the Digital University: The Intersection of Policy, Pedagogy and Practice. Palgrave MacMillan.