Sharing is caring…an ethical responsibility

Open education is a term that prior to this week I had not given much thought about. So the first thing I did was start reading to see what I could find about the topic of open education. I started by reading the article “What do we mean by ‘open’ in education?” and this gave me lots of great background knowledge behind the ideas and benefits of open education.

In the article, Tony Bates shared how open education can take on many forms. Some of the forms listed where as follows:

  • Free education for all
  • Open access to recognized, qualified programs
  • Open access to courses and programs without formal credit
  • Open educational resources for teachers and learners
  • Open textbooks- online and free
  • Open research- research papers posted online to be downloaded
  • Open data- data open to anyone to use, reuse and redistribute

I look at the list above and I can’t help but think of the endless possibilities that open education could provide. One thing that keeps coming to my mind this week while I read and watch videos on open education is  the idea of ‘privilege’. Where on a spectrum does ‘privilege’ and education fall? And where on a spectrum does ‘right’ and education fall? Education should be a right, and everyone should in fact have fair access to top-notch education. Unfortunately, in the world we live in education is not a right it is still very much a privilege. Yes, children are given access to free public education but that education is not always the best education. As mentioned in the video “Why open education matters”  many schools do not have access to quality education and resources so students, in turn, are not getting the best education that they could be. Thinking beyond public school who attends post secondary education. Is that a right or a privilege?

Open education pushes the boundaries of education and moves education from being a privilege and opens doors to allow education to be a right that everyone can access fairly. We all know that Post Secondary education is very costly and requires students to meet specific prerequisite qualifications. This would allow for more individuals to obtain a higher level of education which would, in turn, benefit our society. Like the words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. We can use education to change our world and open education is one way that we can work towards change. I feel that this is powerful and creates many opportunities for people who may not otherwise have these opportunities. I feel that the move towards more open education will benefit many and as a parent with children who will be growing up in this era I am very excited about the possibilities and the doors that this could open for them and the opportunities that this could provide to them.                                                                                                                                                             Photo Credit: Get Motivated 

As an educator I genuinely appreciate the idea of open resources for teaching and learning. I live by the motto “Why work harder when you can work smarter”. As a teacher we all know that it can become a very overwhelming profession. The expectations are high and the amount of work and planning that goes into teaching can be plain tiring. In Kirby Ferguson’s videos “Everything is a Remix” he shares how creativity isn’t magic, it happens by applying ordinary tools of thought to existing materials”.  I feel that as a teacher this is how we become great. We build on his idea that “nobody starts out original.”  As teachers we are constantly ‘remixing’ things. We find an idea and we take that idea and re-work it and remix it to fit the needs of our students, classrooms and curriculum objectives.

marketing sharing GIF

Gif Credit: Giphy 

I like how Roxanne shares in her blog post Sharing ideas that aren’t mine…Ok or not ok? that as teachers we often refer to this as collaboration. This is true. I feel that I do Image result for no copyinga great job of collaborating within my school and the teachers within my building. That being said I haven’t felt the push or need to share outside of my building. Maybe it is that I feel safe sharing within my building and I don’t worry about the repercussions of ‘copying’ or someone thinking I am taking ownership of an original idea of theirs and remixing it to make it my own. I feel that when we share within our building we feel secure, and once we post something online for everyone around the globe to access the stakes are a bit higher and you fear that you may get in trouble for ‘copying’.                     Photo Credit

The video Sharing: The Moral Imperative by Dean Shareski was a powerful video to challenge any of my concerns about online sharing and teaching. He shares how sharing is an obligation of teachers and that it is very important that teachers are sharing. He challenges teachers to think deeply about your obligation to share online and that teachers need to be sharing regularly. He states that as teachers we owe it to others to share our lessons and resources. This sharing will help others save time and energy so we all aren’t re inventing the wheel. This will in fact help with burnout rates which unfortunately we know are so very high in the teaching profession. I find the idea of sharing to be so simple yet I haven’t in my career felt the push to share beyond my building. I am going to take his words to heart and begin to think about what he calls an ‘ethical responsibility’ to share and ensure that I try and share something daily about our teaching and learning in my classroom.  I will sign off with this quote by Dean that has left me thinking “Why should we hoard good teaching and learning? There is something very unethical about that!”

Sharing and sharing online specifically, of being an educator. is not in addition to the work IS theWork It . Ewan ...

Photo Credit

So what is our moral imperative to share? Why aren’t you sharing? I know this has me questioning why I haven’t been sharing!



About cdegelman

Grade 3/4 teacher at Douglas Park School in Regina, Saskatchewan
This entry was posted in EC&I 831 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Sharing is caring…an ethical responsibility

  1. Pingback: Free Hugs….Free Resources…Same difference! | Channing Degelman

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