OpenETC reflections and minor miracles

I’ve not blogged any substantial edtech musings in a long time, because it just hasn’t seemed like the moment and I’ve not had the energy. I’ve realised that although I’ve been riding the novelty of a new country and a new role, the grind has also set in for me along with everyone else. So with an OpenETC meeting on the horizon, I needed to find a way towards a bit of excitement in the vain hope that I would have something to contribute on the day.

I started by listening to the OER20 sessions I recorded with Brian Lamb in March 2020, and he then kindly agreed to indulge me in recording a conversation reflecting on what we thought back then and where we are now.

Download 33 MB MP3, 49 minutes

He’s captured it all much better than me in his blog.

Having had a few days to consider our conversation and listen back to it again, beyond how enjoyable I found it to talk about work that I care deeply about, I can’t help come back to how good it was just to have the conversation. Most of my chats with colleagues these days are swapping stories of exhaustion, ethical dumpster fires, and alcohol consumption.

In Brian’s summary he mentions “The haunting spectres of austerity, outsourcing and hollowed-out institutions”. I see a danger that in part our hollowed out institutions will be because we’re all dead inside. Burned out and broken by the immense strain of this pandemic. How long is it going to take to get our creativity and energy back? And what might happen in that intervening period?

Many of us do this work the way we do because we believe certain things about public education, technology, and the digital world. When set against the pressures of the everyday world, our work seems at once all the more vital and not important at all. I believe passionately that open education is going to be crucial in recovering from this pandemic; but I care more about the impact of prolonged isolation on the health of my parents. If I have to really choose where to put my limited emotional capacity right now…

So that’s all to say that the conversation feels important and indulgent simultaneously. I feel we need to make space for more of these creative and interesting conversations to bring back some of the spark, but there’s no way I could advocate for that against any of the pressures others are feeling.

So, we just keep doing the best we can, which is in itself miraculous. I send my love and care to all out there and hope, well, I just hope.

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