One of the things I need to reflect on this week in my learning is the sorts of technologies necessary for open education, as opposed to just education per se. I have just read about a series of different technologies that can be considered important including social networks, blogs, embedding and VLE platforms such as moodle.
The last one is of particular interest to me because moodle is an open source software and because it was suggest that the VLEs created using platforms like moodle give learners and educators alike a shared basic skill set to begin with. On this basis another key software came to mind and that is OpenOffice. I say OpenOffice here but what I really mean is any free to use alternative to paid for products such as Microsoft office.
Over several years teaching I have regularly come across students who do not have access to Office. These days it is less frequent as universities often have accounts available and there are significant discounts for students once they provide an institutional email address. However, if you are doing a MOOC or dipping in and out of something very informally you are unlikely to have the kind of affiliation to a university that would give you this access. On that basis having software than gives similar functionality and can be saved in interchangeable file types is of great value. There has already been a drive to install this kind of software in place of paid for alternatives in various places.
Another technology I am going to suggest (somewhat cheekily as we are only asked for one) is cloud based storage like DropBox or similar. The key here is that this offers free device independent storage which can be shared between individuals so it supports learning almost anywhere but also networks of individuals who can co-construct materials.