About Context Education
Open Education Initiative is a platform comprised of a network of interconnected initiatives and projects providing the education community with tools and resources to create and curate own educational content while serving as a medium for dialogue and networking.
We encourage active participation and creative engagement in contrast to conventional websites which mainly cater for passive consumption.
Why go beyond current norms and conventions?
In response to increasing, noise, distraction, inundation of low-value “canned” content and infiltration of commercial interests into the education domain today, we have created a set of initiatives and projects to empower educators to create own, worthwhile and engaging teaching content while fostering wider engagement of teachers and parents in the education debate. The overarching objective is to heighten public awareness on, and broaden sensitivity to issues that directly or indirectly affect our younger generation physically, mentally and intellectually. We refer to this as contextual engagement.
Putting things in context
This engagement can take many forms and spans over a variety of areas and subjects. By doing so we put the education of our younger generation at the centre and in context of everything else: the way we, as a society, run our schools, the depth, breadth and type of subjects we teach, how we treat the natural environment, the type of data we collect and share about children, the media content and advertising we create, how we produce, process and promote our food and a host of other matters including socio-economic, cultural and normative factors. All of these are weighty issues and none can be addressed separately for they are intricately interconnected. Educators play a vital role in making sure these issues are adequately communicated when designing their curriculum and creating teaching materials.
Why do we need a public discourse?
Addressing these issues requires a wider public engagement and scrutiny for they have wider repercussions for the society as a whole but also, as it is our focus here, exert a profound influence on the mental and physical well-being of children and young people day in and day out. Children and young people traditionally have no voice in the process of engagement and change, but we as adults have the right, the privilege and the responsibility to create environments, conditions, processes and resources that serve the best interests of children, and by extension, of the entire society.
What can we achieve with a genuine dialogue?
By facing the issues head-on and voicing our concerns we contribute to a wider public debate which by its very nature has the prospect of a positive outcome. Even if nothing is measurably achieved in the short run the mere sensitivity to an issue in itself is a driver for change. The debate over corporal punishment in schools for instance took many decades – the broad consensus to abolish it however was formed long before it was enforced by law.
Equally, insights gained from an ongoing public discourse (let’s say the debate on subtle rewards and punishment practices in schools or the overemphasis on digital media for teaching) can help parents and educators to adapt own strategies above and beyond the prevailing norms and practices.
Pressing issues demand action
As an individual and as a society we cannot wait for a broad consensus to be formed nor can we afford to meekly succumb to forces that silently gnaw at the very vitals of the society and trivialise the domain of education in the process. Our children are growing far too fast and the matters are far too serious to sit back and take an apathetic stance from a contrived state of learned helplessness nor is it responsible to ignore the issues all together as they are desensitized and normalised over time, eventually becoming part of a wider noise.
What can we do as individuals in practical terms?
What we can do here and now and within our own capabilities, as a parent, as a teacher or as a responsible citizen, is to get involved in whichever way possible to facilitate situations and environments where children and young people can thrive despite all odds. In practical terms it starts with subjects and conversations (and yes, lessons) that encourage critical and contextual thinking. One such example is to foster the ability for intellectual winnowing in order to distinguish reliable from unreliable information, to focus and prioritise what is of essence in any given educational setting – a much needed skill in view of the information overload our children face today. We cannot change the world with a few magic tricks overnight but we can gradually remove barriers, one piece at a time, so our children are placed in a better position to gain worthwhile knowledge, develop a deeper understanding of surrounding forces and acquire socio-emotional and other necessary skills to deal with modern challenges and real life situations.
This platform is an initiative of Education Foundation NZ and part of a wider network which provides the latest technologies in direct publishing, networking and resource development. Once registered here you can publish your own articles, short posts, thoughts, papers, showcase your projects, or participate in various forums and network with others. With your login you can also access other networks as they become available.
“The fundamental issue is not of new versus old education nor of progressive against traditional education but a question of what anything whatever must be to be worthy of the name education.”
– John Dewey
Pilot roll-out - Phase 1
We are currently at our pilot implementation stage and need your help to test and improve this platform. During this phase you can join as a pioneer contributor and continue as a member if you wish. It is free to join.
Our focus in Phase 1 is user contributed content. Initially there is only a small amount of content available for testing and optimisation. These serve mostly as sample content and should not be viewed as representative nor of what lies ahead.
We invite your fresh perspectives, views or experiences as a parent, educator or researcher on topics such as Teaching & Learning, Parenting, Assessment, Social Issues, Key Competencies, Rights, Physical, Emotional and Mental Wellbeing & Protection of Children, Technology and more.
To become a Partner Organization (academic institutions and non-profit research and development organizations only)
Coming soon: EDNZ Labs
Expression of Interest
If you are a practitioner and interested in our upcoming beta testing of modular, rich, interactive content development and deployment (Q2 2021) we can provide you with an exclusive access to a custom online lab environment during that phase.
No programming or special technical knowledge is required.
The number of beta testers is limited and determined by active participation during the beta testing phase.