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OER24: Blogging is the way… open is the way

I am still in Cork, Ireland, as I write this post, feeling both tired and elated after a wonderful week at the OER24 Conference. My first time attending the conference as a delegate was a great experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

The Co-Chairs, Dr Gearóid Ó Súilleabháin and Dr Tom Farrelly from the host institution Munster Technological University (MTU). led a fantastic effort together with ALT’s team headed up by Kerry Pinny, and the Conference Committee and MTU teams did everything to make the event such as success. Big kudos to all involved!

In the best tradition of the conference, you can explore:

as well as a host of slides, resources and images posted with the hashtag #OER24.

My OER24 highlights

Together with my colleague Meredith (Fierro) Huffman from Reclaim Hosting I did a short talk on Reclaiming #Edtech4life in Open Education. I blogged a preview of this a few weeks before the event, and Meredith blogged our talk complete with slides and a link to the full video version we recorded together with Jim Groom on her blog.

We had the best fun with this talk and it prompted los of questions and inspiring conversations, which is always the best bit of being able to hang out at conferences in person.

Drawing of playing cards in front of a blue background featuring the authors

Another short presentation, this one together with Martin Weller, was another highlight for me. Entitled “The sound of Open Practice in social media wilderness” this talk focused on open practice in the form of radio and podcasts, and you can access our slides and a podcast version of the talk complete with re-mixed Visual Thinkery, thanks to Bryan Mather’s Fabulous Remixer Machine.

During Open Education Week earlier this month and in the run up to OER24 I got to take part in a number of virtual conversations (blog summary) and one of the best parts of this week that I was able to connect (and hug!) with so many colleagues in person, many for the first time since before 2020. That weeks like this are once more possible made my heart swell.

There were also many absent friends, who weren’t able to join the gathering, and this is where being in a conference full of people not afraid to jump onto the airwaves or the interweb and start an impromptu live broadcast of hallway chats really helps! One of the voices we missed amongst the chorus at OER24 was Jim Groom, who still managed to permeate many conversations and moments of people shouting “4life” from the back seats.

Jim published a wonderful blog post celebrating our visual anthology of Reclaim’s first decade with a tribute to That Mathers Aesthetic! … Needless to say that that aesthetic shone through the whole event, not least in the funny and stunning artwork Bryan created for it.

I hope my first time taking part as a delegate won’t be my last, as this year’s OER Conference has confirmed for me what I long knew to be true: this is my favourite conference, and it has been for a decade.

It’s small enough to allow for a sense of community and conversations, it’s big enough to always attract new voices and viewpoints, it’s special enough to inspire each year’s hosts to go yet another extra mile… and it’s important enough for an Association like ALT to put it’s weight behind it, year after year.

Most importantly, it’s loved enough to bring out the very best in everyone who takes part.

P.P.S. (A personal post script)

I leave Cork with much inspiration, a bag filled with small tokens of joy and friendship (thank you!) and a whole collection of stickers, as well as references, resources, ideas and a phone full of photos of smiling, hugging people.

In these (post) pandemic times I feel that opportunities for saying thank you, for recognising contributions and for celebrating big milestones are all too fleeting, few and far between. We are quick to move on to the next thing, to focus on the biggest challenges ahead. All the keynotes at OER24 reminded us of the bigger picture, the power of open to help us meet the moment, as Catherine Cronin and Laura Czerniewicz expressed this so beautifully.

So in the spirit of taking a moment to celebrate, I also leave with the memory of Rajiv Jhangiani helping us mark Martin Weller’s 30 years in edtech and his long service in both the conference and the wider community and it was a privilege to be able to experience that together with so many with whom Martin has worked and shared friendships with. Thank you OER24.

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  1. All hail Martin Weller, Brian Lamb was talking to me while we were roadtripping up the West Coast of California just how unique and special a voice Martin has forged with his edtechie blog. His ability to track and respond to broader conversations in the field while remaining at once accessible through his playful metaphors yet precise and critical with his assessments is most impressive. The fact he has been doing it for so long is yet another major kudos, I know the struggle of keeping things going consistently for so long, and his is a special feat, and he deserves all the love I am sure he received as OER24 closed. Bravo, to many more trips around the blog!

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