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GO-GN 10th Anniversary: Sowing the Seeds of an Equitable and Diverse Community of Practice

This post is by Dr. Viviane Vladimirschi.

In October of 2023, I had the immense honor and pleasure to have been granted funding to attend GO-GN’s 10th anniversary workshop and the OE Global 23 conference held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The overall atmosphere during both events was filled with excitement, joy and motivation as I seized this opportunity to catch up with and exchange with the GO-GN team and member-friends, which I hadn’t seen face-to-face during the past few years in addition to meeting the network’s new members.  I would like to stress that the organization of both events was impeccable and there were plenty of learning and networking opportunities. Ever since I returned from Canada, I have devoted some time to reflecting and absorbing my learning experiences during that extremely intense week and this blog attempts to capture some of these reflections. 

During GO-GN’s 10th anniversary workshop, I had the invaluable opportunity to meet new GO-GN members, attend their presentations, and learn about the wonderful and innovative research that is currently being undertaken.  The growth of the GO-GN network really impressed me and it became clear to me that GO-GN has spared no efforts in affording diverse cultural and ethnic members to be included by enabling a plurality of voices be heard not only through the research they are conducting but also from the rich exchange of ideas and feedback. Thus, I strongly applaud GO-GN’s effort for sowing the seeds of an equitable and diverse research community of practice. As educators and researchers in open education we are all united by a common purpose that includes improving educational practices in different parts of the world and by ensuring that such practices are diverse, equitable, inclusive and that they are able to bring justice to the stakeholders they serve. Therefore, I would like to register in this reflective blog my kudos to the awesome GO-GN team for bridging the gap between the Global North and South. You are indeed “sowing the seeds of love” (an homage to the Tear for Fears song, which I borrowed to illustrate my feelings for GO-GN and yes feel free to hum to the melody of this song while you are reading this short reflection), fostering unity and harmony and providing us with multiple opportunities for learning, connecting, exchanging, and mentoring.

The Fab GO-GN Network
With Chrissi Nerantzi & Bea de los Arcos

Furthermore, it was extremely moving to re-visit how GO-GN was founded and learn how the network is funded. Moreover, I really look forward to contributing to the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in OER and OEP draft GO-GN Workshop Output Planning document. As I have already stated before I am extremely motivated and committed to bringing new members from Brazil to the network. Lastly, I am extremely thankful and indebted to Rory McGreal, my doctoral supervisor, who suggested I join this network. Who knows where I may have landed if it weren’t for Rory’s genius and generosity? I am also highly indebted to the GO-GN network for having provided me with lifelong friends and peers and multiple research opportunities, including a fellowship in 2022. Ultimately, being a member of the GO-GN network comprises getting, giving back, learning, expanding your knowledge, and transferring what you have learned to the wider community. It is this virtuous cycle that has driven me and inspired me to continue advocating for openness in education every time I have participated in a GO-GN workshop. 

Attending a presentation on OER & Chat GPT

The OE Global 23 conference was an amazing learning experiencing, which also highlighted the themes of multiculturalism and multi-ethnocentrism by giving voice to the indigenous peoples of Canada. All keynotes and presentations provided excellent food for thought and my main takeaway from the conference was how many of us have shifted our research from OER use to OEPs. I also expect AI will be a hot topic in future conferences. In addition, for the first time since I started attending the yearly OE Global conferences, I attended a presentation delivered in Spanish. We have certainly come a long way! I hope that in the near future the language barrier will become a non-issue and perhaps a few simultaneous translators could be hired to this end. This extremely important event holds the potential to bring together all minorities, which are working towards the common goal of implementing and researching open educational practices across all four corners of the world. Thus, if we endeavor for research in open education, OER and OEPs to be truly sustainable this may be one of the main paths moving forwards. 

Delivering my presentation at OE Global

Since returning home and back to my daily tasks, I have continued to reflect on the vast knowledge I acquired, and the ideas and perspectives that were shared. I often glance at my two penguins that stand proudly on my work desk and think what an incredible journey the GO-GN network has enabled me to experience since 2016. I look forward to future opportunities to mentor my peers, exchange ideas and contribute with my knowledge and expertise to GO-GN. 

Photo credits: Dr. Viviane Vladimirschi.

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