Opening up ...

Sarah Vaughan

Wowsers - Today is a momentous day! No, not just because I’ve written something for you (which obvs was super fun). It is because what happens today. This day. A Tuesday. 24 hrs, like any other 24hrs in November. Can and will change history for generations to come.  

Having been exposed to a few too many episodes of The Handmaids Tale recently. Not for one second do I forget the enormous privilege I have in being able to write freely for you right now, from my own home, using a laptop, having digital skills. Like childhood poverty, the digital divide massively disrupts learning, and is another one of the greatest, avoidable, tragedies of this century, ones we must all seek to resolve. This absolute privilege of living, working, and using digital tools to educate myself, as an independent female in the 21st century, never escapes me. 

The outcome of today, will transform the function and momentum of education and technology-enhanced learning [TEL] for generations to come. Inevitably, as education and academia open up, so too will digital learning landscapes for minorities, women, accessibility communities, LGBTQ people, and all other disadvantaged groups in society. AI-led learning, Transhumanism, Nanotech, and other remarkable forms of technology for enhancing the human experience, can and will make the world a better place.   

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As an extraordinarily passionate advocate of Open Education, Open Education Resources (OERs) and Open Educational Practices, and Pedagogies (OEPs) I, like you reading this, have the potential to dramatically reshape the future of learning for EVERYONE. Yes everyone. I have always felt every individual deserves the right to reach their academic potential, whatever form hat may be for them. If it is a few GCSEs fab! If it is an Apprenticeship brilliant! A Doctorate in rocket science amazing!  

Let us not discriminate, or be intimated by the traditional elitism, which has historically haunted institutions of academia. Let’s blast open the doors of possibility at Oxford, crack Harvard’s code, and deliver excruciatingly exciting, and extraordinarily lifechanging, forms of digital learning, which take the next generation to the cosmos and beyond. THIS is exactly what opening up education and running effective social learning communities, and communities of inquiry, practise, can do for us. Especially, for women of colour, and women in STEM. 

There is always so much we can do to help one another.  

Let’s start now. Being kind. Sharing knowledge. 

Only together can we succeed. Only together do we win.  

So as far as I’m concerned, it’s Lead, Follow, or Get out the wayAll the way. 

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