Ako and open education practices: What we share, who with and why

Bull, R.

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Internationally there is a massive movement towards the indigenisation of curriculum.  A localised response has been to embed the concept of Ako into New Zealand education practice.  However this is not without its complications, especially in the conversation of Open Education Practices.

This presentation will look at some of the complications around the democratising of knowledge, particularly from one knowledge system to another.  It will therefore be asking questions of the neutrality of knowledge and of open education practices.  This will be done through examining the concept of Ako and will expand on commonly used understandings of this and delve deeper into the political constructs that inform it.

This examination will include the presenter’s own personal experiences with Ako and how he translates these into a contemporary tertiary education context and the tensions between quasi-traditional knowledge transference systems and open educational practices.

Speaker profile

Ron Bull is a traditional indigenous food harvester from the Southern Coast of New Zealand.  His whakapapa includes Waitaha, Kati Mamoe and Kai Tahu, who have been involved in the harvesting preservation, preparation and sharing of food for many generations.  Their creation narratives make the specific links between people and the natural environment and therefore inform an innate knowledge and affinity to both the food and the land and sea that it comes from.

He draws on traditional knowledge systems to inform his teaching practice.  This includes language and concepts and how they are applied to practical situations as well as the socio-political conditions that inform identity.   He is very aware of how this fits with constructing his own identity, as a bicultural New Zealander from the South.

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Ron Bull

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