OESA meets the urgent societal need for open digital education concepts, with a focus on free software. The overall level of digital maturity in the education sector is still too low. Schools and universities often lack basic infrastructure. But even high-performance network connections and hardware can't handle digitization on their own: We need holistic concepts that have been further developed based on practical experience. We cannot leave this to random players from business and government. As an international and interdisciplinary civil society network, OESA has the potential to provide valuable support for the digital transformation in education.
Programming is about defining a clear goal and achieving it as effectively as possible. This requires motivation, inventiveness and the ability to acquire missing knowledge in a sustainable manner. This mindset is not only essential for software development, but can be applied to quite a few areas of life. Especially in the field of education, these skills could significantly advance the school system and its stakeholders. I co-founded OESA e.V. because the association pursues the implementation of this idea globally and the combination of promoting open software and open education is unique.
After Germany took in many refugees in 2015, the vocational schools had to react to the situation. They developed new concepts for all-day classes for the migrants. OESA realized an open source workshop especially for this special target group. The goal was to encourage the learners to work together in a creative way and to develop their own solutions. This is because OESA attaches great importance to the fact that the young people were able to acquire interdisciplinary skills in addition to the necessary subject-specific skills. Since specialist knowledge could not be assumed in this target group, the young people were always given the space to ask for advice and help. They learned to define a problem precisely before working on the most sustainable solution. This gave them a deeper understanding of the content, but also that programs are written for people, not machines. They were able to sharpen their vision in the workshop and learn how to motivate themselves.
Thank you so much for the input over the past few weeks as part of your Open Education webinar series, and especially today as we talked about higher education! It was very enriching for me and I took away a lot of tips and tools that I will certainly incorporate as part of my teaching. We should all work together to get many more lecturers interested in such things, then we could do much better teaching!