by Vidminas Vizgirda
6 November 2023
For a week in October 2023, I travelled to Edmonton (Amiskwacîwâskahikan in Cree, one of the indigenous languages, meaning “Beaver Hills House”) in Canada to attend the GO-GN 10th anniversary workshop and the Open Education Global 2023 conference.
GO-GN (Global OER Graduate Network; Celebrate 10 years of GO-GN! | GO-GN) is a support network of PhD students, alumni, and supervisors researching fields related to open education. The OE Global Conference 2023 – Building a Sustainable World through Open Education is an annual event bringing together educators, policy makers, advocates, researchers and students to talk about open education – with topics like public sharing of educational resources, removing barriers for access to education, and decolonising curricula, there are always lots of great presentations and workshops! This year’s themes were two-eyed seeing and braiding: what can Western cultures learn from indigenous ways of knowing and how can we benefit from seeing the world from both Western and indigenous perspectives?
At the conference, I organised an “action lab” (interactive workshop) titled “Reinvent the Wheel or Find the Needle? Technology for Addressing Resource Reusability Barriers”. We discussed a competition between “reinventing the wheel” (making new educational materials from scratch) faster using generative artificial intelligence versus “finding the needle in a haystack” (reusing existing educational materials) faster using user-centred design and information theory, and some ideas how we could address the latter with adjustments to major search engines.
OE Global was a wonderful venue to make new connections and open doors for potential future collaborations. Attending the conferencing so far from home was only possible by piecing together multiple sources of funding and I am very grateful to SICSA, GO-GN, and the University of Edinburgh ILCC and IGS travel funds for their help in making it happen!