Opening the Window to How Technology Can Support Access to Education
Since our last newsletter, I received word from a former student who I advised as an honors BA student in Arts & Sciences, Daniel Oxenhandler. He and a team of collaborators had recently completed a film. The driving questions for the film include how learning in the internet age might be re-imagined and, as the internet continues to grow and evolve, how will it impact the future of education? These questions are at the heart of The Open Window, a documentary film exploring the relationships between learning, technology, culture and society.
Amidst all the ways COVID-19 has impacted our relationships with the internet and with one another, the creators hope that the film provides some insight and perspective into how we might collectively re-imagine education and learning in the internet age, and how we may even reflect on our relationships with the internet altogether. On October 29, 1969, the internet was “born." On October 29, 2020, Daniel’s team officially launched their film online. In the spirit of open learning and knowledge that the internet was built upon, they’re excited to share the film for free and open viewing at http://openwindow.cc/.
After watching the film with my family, I was deeply stirred and inspired to ponder the fundamental ideas of information, education, access, curiosity, and equity. For those born throughout the world who have the spark of curiosity in them—especially when born into a female-identifying body—how do they get to express, follow, and nurture that? I loved how the film introduced the viewer to these young Indian women’s lives and minds. I loved getting to know the thought-leaders driving this alternative view of education. I will carry this film in me as I continue as an educator, an activist who works mainly with young women, and as mom of daughters. To contact the team who made this film, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On a related note and in the spirit of critically examining the internet itself and digital spaces, I share an acknowledgement that was used in a meeting I recently attended through video conference on Zoom as part of a research working group on ecology and performance through the American Society for Theatre Research. After each person in the working group had introduced themselves—many including land acknowledgements for the indigenous people and nations who occupied the land upon which their institutions were built—the convener of the group also shared this acknowledgement for the digital place we were meeting on for our meeting:
Since our activities are shared digitally to the internet, let’s also take a moment to consider the legacy of colonization embedded within the technologies, structures, and ways of thinking we use every day. We are using equipment and high-speed internet not available in many indigenous communities. Even the technologies that are central to much of the art we [make] leaves significant carbon footprints, contributing to changing climates that disproportionately affect indigenous peoples worldwide. I invite you to join me in acknowledging all this as well as our shared responsibility: to make good of this time, and for each of us to consider our roles in reconciliation, decolonization, and allyship.