A recent review of OER-related activities in Germany on behalf of UNESCO (Orr, Neumann, Muuß-Merholz 2017, 8) found: “Since OER activities are mostly driven bottom-up, there has been a need for sharing questions, experiences and materials between players, who have been isolated in their own institutions. These players found opportunities for sharing in cross-sector events and communities. Especially the barcamp/unconference format turned out to fit tremendously well developing a strong German OER community. Indeed, Germany so far has seen a remarkably strong cross-sector community with common interest in OER.”
Barcamps open up new and contemporary formats for learning based on openness, sharing, personal meaning, participation and equality. They are the appropriate format of education for a time in which we are depending on not only transferring fixed knowledge but also co-creating new knowledge. Barcamps are about sharing, discussing, negotiating solutions for a world in change. Barcamps are one way of transforming education through open approaches from bottom-up.
Barcamps are not only a real best practice of open pedagogy and open educational practices. They are also the source of collective development and use of open educational materials (Bernhardt & Kirchner 2009). The documentation with collaborative text documents, blogging, podcasts etc. are mostly shared under a CC BY licence. The organisers also provide templates for documentation and planning under CC BY.
Barcamps provide a radical “Open to all” approach by lowering the barriers by removing participation fees and any formal requirements, fostering cross sectoral collaboration, encouraging volunteering and peer to peer support for participants, facilitate ways of participation via digital media. Barcamps aim to be truely inclusive events.
In this presentation we will give an overview on these characteristics. We would also like to encourage the participants to discuss how they can bring open conferencing to their home turfs.
- Bernhardt, T., & Kirchner, M. (2009). Web 2.0 Meets Conference: The EduCamp as. Looking Toward the Future of Technology-Enhanced Education: Ubiquitous Learning and the Digital Native, 192.
- Greenhill, K., & Wiebrands, C. (2008). The unconference: a new model for better professional communication.
- Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge university press.
- Orr, D., Neumann, J., & Muuß-Merholz, J. (2017). German OER Practices and Policy — from Bottom-up to Top-down Initiatives. UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE).