In the JRC report ”Opening
up Education
” (2016) the authors refer to five major recommendations to
promote open education (p. 30-31). Two of them I feel will have an immediate
impact on me in my role as a teacher; hence I will focus on them in this post.
The first refers to how we should embrace change and the second about how such
change should be directed.

Openness requires a willingness to share what you believe is yours with
others, as David Wiley express in a TED-talk concerning
education. This is a necessity in education in the various relationships viewed
as part of learning. As an educational activity it is set within historical boundaries
to how it may be fulfilled. The perception of these is, I would argue, why the JRC
report so heavily focuses on changing structures as to create space for
openness.

Student centred learning is a
pedagogical buzzword of today, and, admittedly, it is a pretty good platform to
start a teaching effort from, a pedagogical faith in which you can embrace your
ideas of how to share. So we have to acknowledge how students learn as to adapt
to their needs and from there develop our support (ways of sharing). John
Dewey, the pragmatist and philosopher, devoting much of his work towards
education, knowledge, democracy and peace, did early reflect ideas of learning
as capacity evolution related to self-realization. Douglas J Simpson (2001)
starts his study into Dewey’s view of students with a clarification, an
important one, namely that Dewey argued parents, educators and others holding
the main responsibility for a students education, but that the student need to
show initiative and involvement otherwise educational efforts are wasted.
Learning is something the student has to do and the initiative lies with her. (p.
183)

To realize capacity /…/ means to act at the height of action, to realize
its full meaning. The child realizes his artistic capacity whenever he acts
with the completeness of his existing powers. To realize capacity means to act
concretely, not abstractly ; it is primarily a direction to us with reference
to knowledge, not with reference to performance.
(Dewey, 1893:659)

Very largely, however, we think of some parts of this life as merely
preparatory to other later stages of it. It is so very largely as to the
process of education ; and if I were asked to name the most needed of all
reforms in the spirit of education, I would say : “Cease conceiving of
education as mere preparation for later life, and make of it the full meaning of
the present life.” And to add that only in this case does it become truly a
preparation for after life is not the paradox it seems. An activity which does
not have worth enough to be carried on for its own sake cannot be very
effective as a preparation for something else.
(Dewey, 1893:660)

Emily Robertson (1992) asks herself 25 years ago if Dewey’s thoughts
have much to share with modern education. A conclusion is that it has not had
much impact on American public schooling, which is for sure still educating for
later life (so is Swedish). However, with reflections on Dewey’s attention to
investigative thinking there was for sure room for revival and, if related to
his clear demand on classroom democracy, it is, I would argue, open to
negotiate the buzzword student centred
learning
despite his focus on the facilitator’s work in education.

It is important to understand that today’s students are current, not a
future alone. For an educational institution and policy makers it is thus pivotal
not only to focus on education as investment, but on learning per se – a way of
be someone in society. From this standpoint it is clear that openness in
educational resources, including tutoring, is crucial from a democratic
perspective. Students do not only build capacities, but also in doing so
becoming aware of them as they on a daily basis challenge their frontier of
knowledge. We, facilitators, must be on the same journey in this life-long
learning process. So, even us facilitators need help to breach the resistance
to change (Weller & Anderson, 2013) and be less of administrators and more
of critical learning companions. We, in our professional capacity, need to make
what activities we engage in worthwhile for both us and our students, because
the meaning of our capacity rests in what we do here and now, it is practical.
At least if we go the pragmatic way!

Openness of education does not change this. It is rather, I would argue,
a premise for an evolving democracy in society allowing many more to take part
in solving actual problems, and for much less.

Resources used

Dewey, J. (1893). Self-Realization
as the Moral Ideal
The Philosophical Review Vol. 2, No. 6
(Nov., 1893), pp. 652-664

Inamorato dos Santos, A.; Punie, Y. & Castano Munoz (2016). Opening
up Education. A support framework for higher education institutions
EUR
27938 EN European Commission.

Robertson, E. (1992).
Is Dewey’s Educational Vision Still
Viable?
Review of Research in Education Vol. 18 (1992),
pp. 335-381

Simpson, D. J. (2001). John Dewey’s Concept of the Student
Canadian Journal of Education / Revue
canadienne de l’éducation

Vol. 26, No. 2 (2001), pp. 183-200

Weller, M., &
Anderson, T. (2013). Digital resilience in higher education.
European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, 16(1), 53.

Wiley, D (2010). Open
education and the future
,
TED. Retrieved from Youtube 2017-03-16