On Thursday, I had the opportunity to present on my OER/Edutainment/Postmodernism/Branded Digital Content research at the OLC Conference on Emerging Technologies (colloquially known as #et4online). The presentation was an extension of my recent publication on OER as Online Edutainment Resources at Learning, Media & Technology; I look at scholarship as fluid and transitory, so this was an opportunity to illuminate and further the conversation.
I am overwhelmed by the response to the presentation. Turnout to the talk was high, conversation on social media was lively, and the next morning there seems to be a good half-life to the session’s fallout (I included an edutainment clip where a man holds Uranium and refers to Uranium as a genie in a bottle whose purpose is to grant humanity 3 wishes). This is especially promising because this specific topic has a history of rejection at other conferences — to that end, I want to again thank #et4online and the people behind the special issue of Learning, Media & Technology for taking a chance on a diffuse topic that does not fit the traditional models of conference presentations and journal scholarship.
Why is this a problematic topic? I see several reasons: the difficulty of readily defining postmodernism, the *theoretical-as-theoretical* rather than providing a proof of concept and perhaps tacking a theoretical construct alongside, a field (OER) dedicated to pragmatics over ideology, a longstanding education narrative of emancipation and equity as our Goal/Ideal/Endpoint. Starting a conversation with “Education will not emancipate us; emancipation is a false promise and we continue to build systems and structures and policies on such falsehoods” is a big statement and requires a lot of thought and attention, thought and attention difficult to quantify into the word count for a presentation abstract. One of the feedback points from Thursday’s conversation was an opportunity to spend more time on the presentation and the topic; 50 minutes was really just a fly-by and more analysis is needed.
Hopefully in the weeks ahead I will take the presentation and develop a more domain-based resource from the slide deck (the media files were embedded, resulting in a 66MB ), something with the opportunity for greater discussion and communication. I continue to propose sessions on this topic at various conferences, and I have an interest in branching beyond the EdTech sphere into other spaces (general education, philosophy, policy & practice). As I noted in the presentation, this research is at a similar point as Harold found himself in Harold and the Purple Crayon when he draws the path *forward* and realizes it goes nowhere; it is time to exit the path and really begin the exploration and the journey.
On a personal note, it was excellent to see the brain trust that makes up #et4online every year. This includes the friends and colleagues I have made over the years (@acroom, @jessifer, @laurapasquini, @cmmattia, @slamteacher, @jleafstedt, @amichaelberman, @googleguacamole, @linvillemichael, @acollier, @rswharton, @krisshaffer, @whitneykilgore, @clhendricksbc, @allistelling, @kristi_oneal, @brocansky, @doublem44, @profrehn and others I am sure I am unfortunately omitting), those I have followed from afar who I had the opportunity to finally meet (@cogdog, @giuliaforsythe, @jrdingwall, @bonstewart et al) and people I met for the first time and will follow (@opengallant, @kreshelman, @taevans, @mgoudz, @kevinkelly0 and more). I look forward to future meetings!