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Article

Rafi Santo, Dixie Ching, Kylie Peppler and Christopher Hoadley

This article makes the case that the education community can learn from professional learning and innovation practices, collectively called “Working in the Open” (or…

Abstract

Purpose

This article makes the case that the education community can learn from professional learning and innovation practices, collectively called “Working in the Open” (or “Working Open”), that have roots in the free/open source software (F/OSS) movement. These practices focus on values of transparency, collaboration and sharing within communities of experimentation. This paper aims to argues that Working Open offers a compelling approach to fostering distributed educational professional networks that focus on co-constructing new projects and best practices.

Design/methodology/approach

Insights presented here are based on three sources: expert perspectives on open source work practices gleaned through interviews and blog posts, a qualitative case analysis of a collaborative project enacted by a group of informal learning organizations within the Hive NYC Learning Network, a community of over 70 youth-facing organizations in New York City, as well as an overview of that network’s participation structures, and, finally, knowledge-building activities and discussions held within the Hive NYC community about the topic in situ. From these sources, the authors derived general principles to guide open work approaches.

Findings

The authors identify five practices deemed as central to Working Open: public storytelling and context setting, enabling community contribution, rapid prototyping “in the wild”, public reflection and documentation and, lastly, creating remixable work products. The authors describe these practices, show how they are enacted in situ, outline ways that Hive NYC stewards promote a Working Open organizational ecosystem and conclude with recommendations for utilizing a Working Open approach.

Originality/value

Drawing from the F/OSS movement, this article builds on standard practices of professional learning communities to provide an approach that focuses on pushing forward innovation and changes in practice as opposed to solely sharing reflections or observing practices.

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Article

Dixie Ching, Rafi Santo, Christopher Hoadley and Kylie Peppler

This article makes a case for the importance of brokering future learning opportunities to youth as a programmatic goal for informal learning organizations. Such brokering…

Abstract

Purpose

This article makes a case for the importance of brokering future learning opportunities to youth as a programmatic goal for informal learning organizations. Such brokering entails engaging in practices that connect youth to events, programs, internships, individuals and institutions related to their interests to support them beyond the window of a specific program or event. Brokering is especially critical for youth who are new to an area of interest: it helps them develop both a baseline understanding of the information landscape and a social network that will respond to their needs as they pursue various goals. The paper aims to describe three critical levers for brokering well in informal settings: creating learning environments that allow trust to form between youth and educators and enable educators to develop an understanding of a young person’s interests, needs and goals; attending to a young person’s tendency (or not) to reach out to educators after a program is over to solicit assistance; and enabling potential brokers to efficiently locate appropriate future learning opportunities for each young person who approaches them. The authors also include a set of program practices for providers who wish to increase their brokering impact, as well as recommendations geared primarily toward organization leaders. The authors hope that this paper brings clarity and enhanced significance to the practice of brokering as a strategy to support youth pathways toward meaningful futures.

Design/methodology/approach

Insights presented here are the result of a participatory knowledge building and sharing process with a community of after-school providers known as the Mozilla Hive NYC Learning Network. The topic of discussion was how these providers might continue to support young people in their intensive project-based programs after the program was over. The authors of this article, acting as embedded research partners to Hive NYC, contributed insights to these discussions based on ethnographic fieldwork and case studies of high-school-age youth in the Hive NYC context.

Findings

The authors articulate a set of brokering practices and a conceptual model that communicates how brokering might lead to valued long-term outcomes for youth, including increased social capital.

Originality/value

The intent is that information and perspectives from this article will inform youth-serving practice and serve as a catalyst for further conversations and activities geared toward promoting youth pathways of learning and identity development.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 24 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

Keywords

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