Thursday, April 13, 2017

Is no news good news?

Day after day, I look up towards the horizon, I see the tree leaves opening, open, green, reddening, browning, falling, blackening, rotting on the ground.

Bare branches frame the dawn, the dusk, a midday sun, a night, a year.

Sway, still.

Moments, keep sakes, sketches, musings.

A place, a breath, a dove that calls, a ritual.

I make a mark, a mental notch.

Insignificant significance...


Tabloid fonts, professional grievers, grave faces, po faces, serious faces...blood, guts and glee.


Ratings rise with my blood pressure, my anxiety, my feelings of helplessness, my loss of will to act.

I am Charlie, a Migrant, A Syrian, A Copte.

What day is it today?

I click twice.

The tree seems far away.

Wring your hands, wring the tea towel.

I open the fridge and get the milk.

I sit down and open the newspaper.

What day is it today?

Is no news good news?

“What the hell does it all mean anyhow? Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nothing comes to anything. And yet, there's no shortage of idiots to babble. Not me. I have a vision. I'm discussing you. Your friends. Your coworkers. Your newspapers. The TV. Everybody's happy to talk. Full of misinformation. Morality, science, religion, politics, sports, love, your portfolio, your children, health. Christ, if I have to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day to live, I don't wanna live. I hate goddamn fruits and vegetables. And your omega 3's, and the treadmill, and the cardiogram, and the mammogram, and the pelvic sonogram, and oh my god the-the-the colonoscopy, and with it all the day still comes where they put you in a box, and its on to the next generation of idiots, who'll also tell you all about life and define for you what's appropriate. My father committed suicide because the morning newspapers depressed him. And could you blame him? With the horror, and corruption, and ignorance, and poverty, and genocide, and AIDS, and global warming, and terrorism, and-and the family value morons, and the gun morons. "The horror," Kurtz said at the end of Heart of Darkness, "the horror." Lucky Kurtz didn't have the Times delivered in the jungle. Ugh... then he'd see some horror. But what do you do? You read about some massacre in Darfur or some school bus gets blown up, and you go "Oh my God, the horror," and then you turn the page and finish your eggs from the free range chickens. Because what can you do. It's overwhelming!” 

Is no news good news?

“Was I sleeping, while the others suffered? Am I sleeping now? Tomorrow, when I wake, or think I do, what shall I say of today? That with Estragon my friend, at this place, until the fall of night, I waited for Godot?” 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Open tribute.

I still have the moon-landing celebratory plate.

I still have the Life magazine special edition.

I still remember the grainy black and white images on the TV and  feeling both excited and mystified.

I still remember really liking the stars and stripes flag on the spacesuits.

I still remember watching the Apollo take-off with awe.

"It will free man from the remaining chains, the chains of gravity which still tie him to this planet."

Wernher Von Braun.

As a historian I was for ever fascinated in stories of the people behind the dates.

Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun (March 23, 1912 – June 16, 1977) was a German, later American, aerospace engineer[3] and space architect credited with inventing the V-2 rocket for Nazi Germany and the Saturn V for the United States.[4][5] He was one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany, where he was a member of the Nazi Party and the SS.
Following World War II, he was secretly moved to the United States, along with about 1,500 other scientists, engineers, and technicians, as part of Operation Paperclip, where he developed the rockets that launched the United States' first space satellite Explorer 1, and the Apollo program manned lunar landings.
In his twenties and early thirties, von Braun worked in Germany's rocket development program, where he helped design and develop the V-2 rocket at Peenemünde during World War II. Following the war, von Braun worked for the United States Army on an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) program before his group was assimilated into NASA. Under NASA, he served as director of the newly formed Marshall Space Flight Center and as the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle, the superbooster that propelled the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon.[6] In 1975, he received the National Medal of Science. He continued insisting on the human mission to Mars throughout his life.

As I learnt more about the men behind the space program, with its origins in ballistic missile technology and dreams of intercontinental domination, my feelings about "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." were muddied.

How often have I thought that ignorance is bliss?

I was never an easy-living believer, I asked too many questions, damn it.

I still remember the enthusiasm I felt for the internet and its promise. 

I learnt later how it emerged from military programs related to the atomic bomb.

My feelings about "One small click for man, one giant open enclyopaedia for mankind." have been muddied.

I have mixed feelings about "Open Education", I would like to pay tribute to friends, to fellow thinkers and doers from around the world who have become co-learners and kindred spirits to me.

I would like to celebrate the warmth, intelligence, goodwill and generosity of people that I have met in the "Open Education" movement.

I would like to celebrate the desire for questioning and openness of people such as those at the OER17 conference.

I would like to celebrate people's undying enthusiasm for working towards a more equitable world.

When I read what I write at times, I feel that I am seeing things too darkly.

I don't think that that is the case.

I feel things darkly.

I feel things brightly.

I think things over.

So with this in mind.

I shall remain ever pragmatist, idealistic but critical.

I shall note down a few a pistes for future reflection.

Here are one or two from Catherine Cronin and Laura Czerniewicz's presentation:

First a Martin Weller quoted here:

Critical pragmatism, yes, I would agree with that.

I am not sure about the "Keeping calm" sentiment.

I feel that we can remain critically pragmatic even if we are not calm.

Some things, some people don't keep me calm.

In fact, I refuse to keep calm.

I find a compromise: I shall remain emotionally (not necessarily calmy), critically pragmatic.

These conclusions, I find OK to work with:

I was please to see Jim Groom's post about "Counter (Data) Surveillance".

I would like to hear more from others about how they are dealing with this messy terrain.

Martin Weller's post "The open gift" post resonated:

"I wondered whether this was applicable to openness in general – we give the gift of open to people, in the assumption they will want it, or it will do them good." 

Certainly, an "open door" policy doesn't mean that everybody has to walk through the door, or that we should encourage them to do so uncritically.

An open dog policy is clearly doomed to fail. 

For me, being open is also being open to people's desire for nonopenness.

As a historian, I am forever fascinated in stories of people behind the data.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Comedy of the commons?

"I'm a rambler, I'm a rambler 
from Manchester way.
I may be a wage slave on Monday 
But I am a free man on Sunday."
Ewan MacColl.

Free men 

We ramble, we ramble...

We roam, we search, we browse, we surf, we hack.

We are nomads of the steppes.

We are urban flâneurs.

We rove the range.

We free-ride, we couch-skate, we long-board, 4G wifi, 360°

Wingsuit revolutions will now be televised.

Red Bull crashes Go Pro - viral death spiral.


Internet Service Provider Free has its Freebox Révolution.

La Révolution Française.

(designed by Starck.)

Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité!

Declarations of independence.

"Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather." 

John Perry Barlow, Davos 1996

(The Economist)

Dreams of freedom.

Stories of freedom are pervasive. 

Imagined communities.

Mass movements have powerful hold. 

Massaged egos, echoes of the twenties.


Viral market crashes into a Wall, echoes of the thirties on the streets.

Some have more money, more time to neoliberal eagle's nest, Davos.

Une Révolution (virtuelle)

Don't worry about the mob.

Let them eat Youtube and Fifa 2017

Let them eat Semtec.

Sad losers will get to ruffle the feathers of the great and good, only occasioning the odd Breivik.

Who gives a fuck for collateral damage?  

Bigger bangs for their bucks.

Dream wilder, think bigger, grasp further, dig deeper, sow hate, love and manipulate.

We'd have to be an ostrich with our heads in the sand not to hail this virtual reality as "freedom."

Building the Commons.

Any doubters among you?  

We can save the world. 

We can build the commons "freely."

(With a modest fee for charitable Free or your local friendly ISP)

Not happy with that?  

We shall build fucking Jerusalem...bigger.

Or Middle Earth, complete with brave hobbits and trolls.

Pure fantasy?

We shall hark back to untrammelled images of Empire and hymns of colonial philanthropy. 

We shall nurture our green commons "freely."

We shall scatter seeds...or bomblets.

We shall provide "public service" "freely."

We shall save some millions, "freely."

Tragedy of the commons.

No worries of spoiling the commons is there?

We can't overload the virtual information commons, surely?

OK, you can overload the wifi, I give you that, above all, in soon to be "developed" corners of the globe.

What use is the world with no wifi?

The more you share your lol cats the more lol cats and joy there is for the others!

The internet commons does not deteriorate like land!

No sirree!

OK, so there are piles of tech waste in soon to be "developped" corners of the globe, out of view.

Comedy of the commons.

Wikipedia is a great example of the comedy of the commons! 

Contributors distribute widely, give freely their expertise to inform the world!

What a beautiful sight, an army of erudite slave ants!

Joy to the world.

We shall train them.

Hail Wikimedia!

Recant deviant!

Attack wikiants!

Comedy of commons.

'Tis a comedy of commons, the internet.

Oh ha, ha.



Funny. shall not pass!

"I'm a rambler, I'm a rambler 
from Manchester way.
I may be a wage slave on Monday 
But I am a free man on Sunday."
Ewan MacColl.

Come on ramblers!

Get your laptop backpacks, your sarnies, let us occupy the virtual commons!



I'm a game-keeper.

Come again?

I'm going for a pint.

Well whatever did happen to public space?

Er, well, after the pub, he rambles.


Who are these bleeding game-keepers? 

Well there's us and...then  there's....them.

Don't forget the Kinder Scout.

We're going to need that mass trespass, feet on the ground, in the street.

Act local.

Think Global.

Mass trespass.

Do a public service.

Fire the game-keepers.

Reclaim the commons.

Tragedy of the commons.

"I'm a rambler, I'm a rambler 
from Manchester way.
I may be a universal basic wage slave on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 
But I am a free man on Twitter."

With apologies to 

Ewan MacColl.


The commons is the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. These resources are held in common, not owned privately.

Mayo Fuster Morell proposed a definition of digital commons as "as an information and knowledge resources that are collectively created and owned or shared between or among a community and that tend to be non-exclusivedible, that is, be (generally freely) available to third parties. Thus, they are oriented to favor use and reuse, rather than to exchange as a commodity. Additionally, the community of people building them can intervene in the governing of their interaction processes and of their shared resources".[15][16]
Examples of digital commons are Wikipedia, a type of Free Software and Open-source hardware projects.


Are we their commons?

Oh what the hell.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Darkness that binds us.

"And one by one the nights between our separated cities are joined to the night that unites us."

Pablo Neruda

Alone Together.

The door slammed.
She had left.  

Alone together. 
Sole babe in arms.
A barmy night, 
Window open wide.

Gaze up at stars.
Quiet now, in awe.

Owl hoots.
Turns to me.


With his lips.





 In my body.


"Nothing can dim the light which shines from within."

Maya Angelou.


We called ourselves "enlightened".  

God, was Jesus "enlightened"?

We became fishers of men.

We caught them in our net.

They walked on water.

We sailed the boat.


I think of stories of inclusion. 
I feel suspicious. 
I wonder why.  
I go and think in pictures.

Go figure.
Go wonder. 

We are forever longing for being a part of a whole.

We were whole.
Then we are born.

Conception, one, two, four, cells, subdivide and multiply.


Illusions of separation, identification, of being apart.

Storybound, story bound, history bound, bone bound, dust bound.

Be suspicious of inclusion.

Be open to change.

Love is not to possess, it is to be open to loss.

The unenlightened?

The unenlightened?

The unenlightened?

The unenlightened?

Open education?

Refine, define, define the terms, the licence, the rights.

Who belongs, who is apart.

Fill space.

Draw lines, write words.


Enclose field.




Englightenment untruth.

Post truth.

Unravel power.

Untravel story.

Unravel ego.

Post haste.

Open education resources.

Apple for the Toothless.

A gift economy.

Uber fuck.

Hasta fascista baby.

Open education values?

Open education values?

Open education values?

Open education values?

Open education values?

Let us not share our enlightenment.

Let us share the darkness that binds us.

Facts lie! Post truth! 

melts my bones.
enters my blood.

and changes 
its composition."

Sanober Khan

"Night is purer than day; 
it is better for thinking and loving 
and dreaming.

At night everything is more
intense, more true.

The echo of words that have 
been spoken during the day
takes on a new and deeper 

Elie Wiesel.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Watership down.

There he was, quite tiny, feasting on clover in the bright spring sun. I was able to get up quite close to observe him.

"A foraging wild creature, intent above all upon survival, is as strong as the grass."

Richard Adams Watership down.

He suddenly sensed my presence and in a instant had disappeared into a hole under the concrete steps of the ugly campus building.

I would feel privileged to be able to watch him, to take his photo, to tell his story to my daughter on arriving home.

I walked over to my car, and stopped an instant to look at the blackened, decomposed corpse of a larger rabbit.

It's astonishing how memories from long ago spring up in ones mind.

I remember roaming freely in the field next to the rectory, to play with the hay bales, to lie in the sun and to watch the clouds tell me stories.

Cowslip's warren.

I remember being read the story of "Watership down." by Richard Adams at bedtime.

I am seeing  it with new eyes today.

There is a passage in particular which comes back to me.

It appears that anonymous authors have generously shared it in synthesised form in Wikipedia.

What a marvellous luck we have to live in the age of easy access to information, the internet!

Cowslip: Although he is not a Chief Rabbit, his strange warren is usually referred to as "Cowslip's Warren" because he is the first resident therein that Hazel's rabbits meet. Cowslip is laconic and almost too refined, with great size and a strange scent, perhaps from a life of superior food, and he seems typical of his fellows. As Fiver soon discovers, a farmer leaves vegetables out so that he can trap rabbits coming and going, but this is a severely taboo subject in the warren, and Cowslip and his fellows refuse to talk about it, and instead pretend that all is well. Cowslip later refuses to help or even acknowledge Bigwig, when he is trapped and nearly killed by the farmer's snare. When Holly, Bluebell, and Pimpernel later happen into the area, Cowslip leads an attack upon these last surviving Sandleforders. However, while the locals have remarkable cultural sophistication (even art), they are woefully unskilled at fighting, and succeed in killing only the sickened Pimpernel. His warren—a harvesting ground of rabbit meat for a human—goes down in lapine history as being "bewitched"

It suddenly occurred to me that we, open educators, are residents of Cowslip's warren, for if we have remarkable cultural sophistication, even art, we are woefully unskilled at fighting for our freedom.

We have become laconic, of great size, perhaps from a life of superior food.

I remember all of this having thought about Chris Gilliard's wonderfully succinct provocation at OER17 for a discussion session, featured in Jim Luke's blog post: "Open Ed, Trump, Brexit, the #Trexit discussion"

In some edtech circles and adjoining expo halls such critical questions are to be avoided.

"As Fiver soon discovers, a farmer leaves vegetables out so that he can trap rabbits coming and going, but this is a severely taboo subject in the warren, and Cowslip and his fellows refuse to talk about it, and instead pretend that all is well."

Domesday book.

On watching Chris's video, I went and did a Google search for "Digital Serfdom" (as one does).

I found a really interesting article about the transition from feudalism to capitalism, it talks of the Domesday Book, a census of every man, woman and beast made to control the newly conquered kingdom by the Norman, Guillaume Le Bâtard, known in English as William the conqueror.

Ironic really that a conqueror might be remembered as a bastard after all these years....

There were images which immediately connected with the idea of OPEN.

One of the British government's GCHQ (Government communications head quarters) which is a circular building recalled images I had seen of the new flying saucer shaped Apple Park.

There is something inescapably totalitarian about circles, about globes.

I went and played with the images.

Open world.

I couldn't but notice that put together the GCHQ and the Apple park building become 00 eyes.

Take away the O o o from OPEN and you have a PEN.

Take away the O o o from Facebook messenger and you have a PEN.

What was capitalism grounded in if it were not enclosure?

What was public commons became enclosed by farmers for sheep grazing to sell wOOl?

Feudalism gave way to local capitalism, with a rise in the power of merchants, global adventurers, the slave trade, colonialism, whole countries, and peoples were enclosed, this brought in wealth to drive industrialisation and a rise in a middle class - people such as I.

Opening borders, boundaries, free movement of capital, free movement of labour, technological revolution was only ever about opening the playground for the elite and their lackeys - people such as I.

Freedom of movement was never really free for the poor, they were only of interest in times of economic need as chattel or worse.

We had a brief renaissance of hope after two world wars, with a new deal.

With the collapse of Western economies post 2008, the party really was over for many people.

Take away the O o o from Obama's presidency and you get a increase in drone warfare, Wall street profits, and government/private corporative surveillance.

From New Deal to Art of the Deal.

Fuck the "New deal" now we have the fucking "Art of the Deal".

In this age of casino capitalism Trump has gone from fucking Atlantic city over with his fucking Taj Mahal to fucking the country over with his White House.

There is now no difference between corporative surveillance and government surveillance (if there ever really was).

We have opened up our friendships, our interests, our relationships, our movements, our homes, our schools, our universities, our cars, our lives, our dreams, and fears to Google, to Amazon, to Facebook, to the GCHQ, to the NSA.

Our lives, our bodies, our souls, have been enclosed in the name of corporate gain.

Open is open only in name.

Open is and perhaps always was a story of enclosure.

We play at being fascists gazing proudly at our Tweetmaps.

Aren't we making proper Charlies of ourselves?

With the death of a middle class, our enclosure threatens this time to be total.

Domesday codes.

This time we have Trump the bastard with his hands on the Domesday code.

I don't see much fucking difference between 1066 and 2016.

Democratic "freedom" was a historical anomaly.

Welcome to Cowslip's warren.

Being caught in snares is fatal.

Burrow deeper.

Unburrowing ourselves.

How do we dig ourselves out of the burrow we are digging for ourselves?

Please leave your droppings in comments.

I search for inspiration in Watership Down.

"Before such people can act together, a kind of telepathic feeling has to flow through them and ripen to the point when they all know that they are ready to begin. Anyone who has seen the martins and swallows in September, assembling on the telephone wires, twittering, making short flights singly and in groups over the open, stubbly fields, returning to form longer and even longer lines above the yellowing verges of the lanes-the hundreds of individual birds merging and blending, in a mounting excitement, into swarms, and these swarms coming loosely and untidily together to create a great, unorganized flock, thick at the centre and ragged at the edges, which breaks and re-forms continually like clouds or waves-until that moment when the greater part (but not all) of them know that the time has come: they are off, and have begun once more that great southward flight which many will not survive; anyone seeing this has seen at the work the current that flows (among creatures who think of themselves primarily as part of a group and only secondarily, if at all, as individuals) to fuse them together and impel them into action without conscious thought or will: has seen at work the angel which drove the First Crusade into Antioch and drives the lemmings into the sea.” 

― Richard AdamsWatership Down

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Non-adjoining rooms.

Where were they all?

I was beginning to feel distinctly alone.

I looked at the link in the mail.

I looked at the link in the hangout.

They were not the same.

The others were in another room altogether.

I sent a tweet to Martin Weller over in London with the new link.

I sent a mail to the others.

Martin arrived,

"The others are waiting in a different room;" he said.

"We don't have much time." he said.

I quickly went to find Mark in the other room and called him over from Oakland.

Dinah arrived from her library from somewhere in Ghana.

Graham Steele arrived from somewhere in Glasgow.

By the time everyone was together, we didn't have much time.

I fluffed through the introductions.


Open in transit.

I got a tweet from Nadine.

Could she join too?

Nadine arrived in transit at a London airport.

Lucy Crompton-Reid, Lisa Taner, Maren Deepwell, Martin Weller gave us their generally positive impression from OER17.

All of them remarked on a growing internationalisation of the voices and the participants at the conference.

That was all very positive.

Then, Martin briefly mentioned a session from the first day:

Perspectives on Open Education in a World of Brexit & Trump [1559]
Type: Discussion
Authors: Maha BaliLorna CampbellJames Luke, and Martin Weller

I asked them their impressions about Brexit from their perspective.

As representative for Wikimedia, Lucy couldn't really get involved in the politics of it but she noted with Maren and Martin a generalised feeling of dismay.

Martin said something to the effect that it was too complex a question for the time they had.

Indeed, they didn't have much time, they had to leave to the afternoon sessions.

We continued an "after-conversation" with Nadine, Mark, and Dinah who was typing in the chat.

Nadine, travelling from Egypt was already having to travel/work around the laptop ban.

The battle of open.

I shared a story of how I fell upon a Twitter trolling of the Scottish first minister.

I looked at the tweet.

He was calling Nicole Sturgeon a traitor.

And what do we do to traitors he asked?

They hang.

I saw an avatar with an English flag.

I looked at the name.

With horror, I thought to myself: this is someone I know.

I checked.

It was a childhood friend.

I thought of how our lives had taken such different paths.

I, to safe middle-class higher education and ex-expatriation in France.

He, to work in a factory from the age of 16, and premature unemployment.

I, increasingly internationally connected, with a growing intercultural "awareness" of how little I am aware.

He, increasingly internationally connected, locally disconnected, with a growing frustration at intercultural exploitation and a clear awareness of what he has lost.

I fear for the future.

He has no future.

Shrinking privileges

I thought of how a few years earlier I had travelled to London for a conference.

This would now be impossible for me due to current economic constraints.

Privileges are shrinking.

Pressure on people is rising.

Mark spoke of similar experiences with old school friends who were now unemployed Trump supporters.

Platforms which carried such promise a few years earlier are being used to squeeze the life out of people around the world.

Californian dreams.

I remembered a Microsoft ad with images of Woodstock.

I remembered the free iPad I got at a London conference a few years back.

Those were the days...of being a roaming autodidact.

Now I roam mostly virtually.

Imagined communities.

I remembered the feeling of being European.

I had a British passport but I was European.

I think now of learning to sing the Marseillaise with my daughter.

I have to be French to be European now...for how much longer?

Shall we go back to singing old battle songs.

Aux armes, citoyens
Formez vos bataillons
Marchons, marchons!
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!
Allons enfants de la Patrie
Le jour de gloire est arrivé!
Contre nous de la tyrannie
L'étendard sanglant est levé
L'étendard sanglant est levé
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras
Égorger vos fils, vos compagnes!
Aux armes, citoyens
Formez vos bataillons
Marchons, marchons!
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!

There are those who are winners in an increasingly polarised system.

There are those who are now losing and will look for others to blame.

There are those who were always losing and who say to us now:  "This is how it feels guys."

There are those who will continue to be winners.

They will share their smiling photos from conferences in far away places.

Shall we applaud their openness?

Making a moocery of us all?

I heard about exciting new ventures at OER17

I am sorry if I am not always able to find cheer.

There are those who are refugees and who are offered a MOOC.


I know that I should be crediting the photographer.

Who will credit the refugees on the beach?

A MOOC financed with European funding while kids are drowning in the Mediterranean.

What will it be?

Swimming lessons?

I don't go and learn more about the project, I fear upsetting people, knowing one of the authors.

I simply write how my ignorance makes me feel.

I am sorry.

I heard about a Wikimedia scheme to help kids identify fake news.

Are we going to get European funding to help students see what is fake?

I think of my childhood friend and the promises made to him by successive governments.

I wonder what lies I am living?

Do we need bloody hours to work out a simple equation?

People are being screwed.

I heard John Casey talk about educational technology.

What was Alek Tarkowski talking about in an earlier virtually connecting session?

That he wanted to theme OER17 an open learning party or some such?

The party is over.

For many there never was a party...ever.

They paid for our party.

Non-adjoining rooms?

For a few moments sitting in that empty hangout room, I felt panic.

I felt fear that I wouldn't be re-invited to be a virtual buddy.

It was my anxiety to do well which was at the origin of my technical downfall.

I get anxious.

I remembe what it feels to be given your cards.

I remember the boss calling me over for a chat.

I remember how it feels to be excluded.

There are some of us who share hope and happiness.

There are some of us who have only anger and despair to share.

There are some of us who have only anger and despair but no means to share.

I find myself caught between feelings of  hope and despair, between belonging and longing.

Those feelings are in adjoining rooms, perhaps in the same room.

Virtually connecting

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Re: resources.

I dropped into a discussion at #OER17 on the politics of open which Autumm Caines @autumm was kindly live streaming (OER).

I didn't catch very much but it sort of confirmed how I have been thinking recently about my own teaching, education and the nature of open.

I wanted to note a few ideas down here while they are fresh.

The mass of "resources" on the net have attracted teachers and sometimes distracted teachers from what essentially were their own most important qualities.

As an English as a foreign language teacher, what is most missing in our practice is NOT documentary resources, videos, articles, but people with whom the learners (and teachers) can identify and communicate with in English.

People are NOT resources.

Teresa Mackinnon, who I met thanks to Steve Wheeler's blog (OER), and with whom I have worked for the past six years had a conversation with Sue Beckingham I noted this morning:

And posted this photo

Chris Gilliard said it the other day:

Jim Luke said it today:

Maha Bali's keynote (thanks OER) ended with an image of people in her learning network.

As I looked at her image, I thought of other distant images of  "people" that we see, selfies which become resources for branding individuals, selfies taken with famous people which give people status, or people reduced to statistics, to targets, to victims, to labourers, to Uber drivers, to slaves.

I heard Maha (whose name I am sure I pronounce incorrectly) talk of local academics plagiarising "open resources".

Resources give some people POWER.

I wondered about this term "Open Education Resources".

Who says "resources" says power.

"Power is not an institution, not a structure; neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with; it is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation in a particular society."

Michel Foucault

Well connected people have power?  

I wonder an instant what "well" means.

I wonder an instant about "badly" connected people.

I wonder an instant about "sick connected people."

I wonder an instant about "sick well connected people."

I went and looked for connections to resources, collocations with the word "resources":

ADJ. considerable, enormous, large, major, substantial The library is an enormous resource for historians of medieval France. | important, vital | adequate, sufficient | limited, meagre, scarce | renewable, sustainable, unlimited | finite, limited, non-renewable | available | additional, extra | invaluable, useful, valuable Time is your most valuable resource, especially in examinations. | untapped | natural | material, physical | energy, mineral, oil, water | capital, economic, financial The school has limited financial resources. | human, staff | information, learning, library, teaching The database could be used as a teaching resource in colleges. | national | inner, personal She is someone of considerable personal resources.

VERB + RESOURCE be rich in, have Australia is a country rich in natural resources. We do not have the resources (= the money) to update our computer software. | lack | pool, share We'll get by if we pool our resources. | allocate, distribute, provide | divert, reallocate, redistribute the government's role in diverting resources into social policies | draw on, exploit, manage, mobilize, tap, use to mobilize resources in the community to provide shelter for the homeless We need to manage our resources better. | deplete, use up | squander, waste | conserve
RESOURCE + NOUN centre | allocation, management | depletion | constraints, implications
PHRASES access to resources, the allocation/distribution/provision of resources, the exploitation of resources, a lack of resources, the use of resources We must make the most efficient use of the available resources.

I did a Google Image Search with the word "Resources"

Of course, I selected the appropriate copyright tab - free to use or modify even for commercial uses.

These are open to use.

Google is open to use (for those with internet).

My Google search data is open to use (he coughs).

What was it that Autumm put on the tweet to the link to her live stream?

Raw click data become "resources".

People become "resources".

So here we are talking of OER from our strategic positions in our particular socieities.

"The university and in a general way, all teaching systems, which appear simply to disseminate knowledge, are made to maintain a certain social class in power; and to exclude the instruments of power of another social class."

Michel Foucault

So here we are, many of us threatened by those who would discount our essential human value as essential human "resources" to their essential "education" systems.

Wouldn't some prefer, open, expertly designed personalisable resources, massive data collection of clicks and social network graphs, and deskilled tutors, or robots, a healthy profit from a stamp placed on a document, passport, badge, chip?

"Education may well be, as of right, the instrument whereby every individual, in a society like our own, can gain access to any kind of discourse. But we well know that in its distribution, in what it permits and in what it prevents, it follows the well-trodden battle-lines of social conflict. Every educational system is a political means of maintaining or of modifying the appropriation of discourse, with the knowledge and the powers it carries with it."

Michel Foucault

Is knowledge now what counts?

Isn't compliance more useful?

I think of an artist friend of mine painting canvases live on Facebook with the words: 

I am a prostitute.

"What strikes me is the fact that in our society, art has become something which is related only to objects and not to individuals, or to life. That art is something which is specialized or which is done by experts who are artists. But couldn't everyone's life become a work of art? Why should the lamp or the house be an art object, but not our life?" 

Michel Foucault

The screen shot that I took from Autumm's OER live stream made me feel frankly paranoid.

I went off and remixed it, to make me feel slightly better.

I am suddenly reminded of a tweet I sent earlier in the day.

Those mines on the map of Africa, we are mostly all being mined now.