Trespassing Without Risk

Dean Shareski, Dean and I are both from the same school division.  My adult life has kind of happened backwards to the “norm” for those who are my age.  Very soon out of high school I got married, had kids and worked in the Moose Jaw School Division (now Prairie South School Division).  Then my life took a turn, as many lives do, and I made a decision when I turned 30 to do something that would make ME happy.  So, I soon left my beloved job as a teaching assistant at Albert E.Peacock and entered the U of R as a full time single parent student in the faculty of Education as a Biology major and Chemistry minor (this may explain my previous blogs being somewhat science based).  See, I have actually been embedded into education far beyond by professional duties as a teacher and administration, and I have questioned why some professionals were so guarded.  I felt very drawn to Dean’s video Sharing, the Moral Imperative.

See, I believe that education is not limited to the walls that make up our classrooms and our schools.  As Dean stated “Educators have a duty to share as an ethical responsibility”.  But, as many educators that I admire believe, not only should we share our information as connected leaners, but so should our students.  Our students should own their thought and work, not only for the sake of their own learning, but to become connected students and share with like-minded (and maybe some not like-minded) individuals globally.

I am the type of educator that is willing to share everything that I have, I find this is my duty.  I have had the amazing opportunity to work with Dean Elliott and Fatma Zohra-Henni at the Ministry of Education developing and writing new curriculum.  If I wasn’t a “sharer”, there is no way that I would have applied for this – you see, now I have shared my thoughts and ideas with at least all high school Health Science 20 teachers in the province, as well as those that read the curriculum beyond the provincial boundaries.  I also have the amazing opportunities to work as a curriculum implementer for HS20 and an advisor for HS21.  I have co-presented the curriculum alongside my co-writers to many, many people and have enjoyed the feedback – the networking if you will, from educators with ideas all their own.

If that wasn’t lucky enough, I have now had the opportunity to present Vernier probeware systems for Merlan Scientific alongside Patrick Kossmann, an amazing friend and co-worker to numerous teachers who also want their student to learn science by doing.

Successful sharing, although individual, could not be achieved if it wasn’t for the amazing school division that I am employed – for they have given me the ability, trust and freedom to spread my wings and experience networking outside of my classroom. Open education is changing lives as it allows for updating lessons and curriculum with the most up to date information available. Sites such as creative commons makes open sharing easy as it allows for “sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools”. I have never considered publishing my work under creative commons before, mostly because I had only ever used cc for images.  So I checked out Athabasca University, BC Campus, and Ontario Online Learning Portal – I was a bit disappointed as I was looking for high school materials, and found mainly university level, maybe this isn’t formed yet?  Or maybe I wasn’t looking in the right spaces – this is something I will continue to work at.  I mean, a source other than Teachers Pay Teachers, an open source free sharing site with attributions.  Please do not misinterpret what I am meaning, I do think that authors of resources on TPT do need reimbursement for the work/lessons/resources that they are creating, but it isn’t exactly what I am looking for presently.  I am looking for a collaborative site that will allow for remixing and extensions beyond what the author has already created, working alongside the author.  I did find sources such as OpenSci and Sci-mate – yet these still were not what I was quite looking for as they were way above what I would teach at the high school level.

I chose to watch the Internet’s Own Boy – the story of Aaron Swartz. Aaron Swartz

                                                                                    Photo Credit: ( Pittografo ) x vocazione via Compfight cc

If you did not watch this, I highly urge you to!  I have beliefs similar to Aaron did, on a familiar yet less grand platform about open education resources.  I want to be able to give the best possible education to my students, even if I am not whom is the best for the particular subject matter.  For instance, if I struggle with a concept in modern physics, I want to find the best teacher there is for my students, and likewise, if there were a teacher struggling with health science concepts – I would like that teacher to feel free to access my resources openly and collaboratively for the benefit of their students.

Since watching the documentary based on Aaron Schwartz, understanding the change from  read-write culture to read only culture through the eyes of Lawrence Lessig– to the contrary mr. suss, our vocal cords are not silenced, rather they are yelling louder than ever though the sharing of resources and thoughts, welcoming all trespassers and citizens alike!  Remix all you like, just please share back so I can learn from you too as my students are the ultimate beneficiaries in the evolution that is education.

Thank you Aaron Swartz and Larry Lessig for making it possible for people like Jack Andraka to have the freedom and access to publication to make a difference in the world.

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3 thoughts on “Trespassing Without Risk”

  1. Good for you for going back to university at 30. I loved working for the Moose Jaw School Division the one year that I covered a leave. As a former French immersion science teacher, access to resources could be difficult so open education would have been helpful…

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