Generously shared by Teresa McKinnon
Prepared for the #101openstories project to celebrate 2017 as Year of Open.
My early days as a teacher involved lots of learning. As a new teacher you have to learn fast how to best capture the interest and imagination of your young charges or they will have you for lunch! Open practice was not “a thing” at the time but I was fortunate to be part of a very supportive group of teachers who shared worksheets and ideas. The ethos of open practice was there.
I took on my first leadership role in my early twenties and was eager to maintain the sharing and creativity that I so enjoyed in my job. Our county council had good teacher leaders (David Whale are you still out there?) who organised workshop sessions shared with language teachers from our region and good ideas spread. Open practice became more established but limited by geography and mobility.
When I started working in Higher Education I found there was little overlap with other tutors and so I decided to pass a copy of my most useful worksheet ideas to our Director Dr Bob Powell at the time who, after offering constructive feedback, placed them in our staff room and suggested others may life to do the same. Answer came there none. I wondered where teaching was valued in HE.
However, there were colleagues who wanted to collaborate and fortunately for us the web was becoming more easily accessible. I set about creating online sharing spaces which grew over time and helped me to connect to other practitioners far and wide. I joined twitter, slideshare, youtube. Open practice was becoming a thing, I was becoming an open practitioner. Eager to embrace the affordances, to understand the repercussions and dangers, I set about researching and developing my online presence and set up my blogs. The seeds of open practice germinated and bore fruit.
Here I am, a connected educator keenly involved in redefining learning and teaching in the 21st century, fighting to keep the internet an open space for creativity and to resist the corporate powers who would like to possess and monetise everything. After all, learning is important for all. And so my advocacy of open practice is now sowing seeds in new places through the #wihea #knowhow project.