21 March 2007

Learning about Open Educational Resources

Major European studies on open source are two a penny these days (and that's good), but some of the other opens have yet to achieve this level of recognition. So the appearance of major EU report on Open Educational Resources from the Open e-Learning Content Observatory Services (OLCOS) project is particularly welcome.

At present a world-wide movement is developing which promotes unencumbered open access to digital resources such as content and software-based tools to be used as a means of promoting education and lifelong learning. This movement forms part of a broader wave of initiatives that actively promote the “Commons” such as natural resources, public spaces, cultural heritage and access to knowledge that are understood to be part of, and to be preserved for, the common good of society. (cf. Tomales Bay Institute, 2006)

With reference to the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation justifies their investment in OER as follows: “At the heart of the movement toward Open Educational Resources is the simple and powerful idea that the world’s knowledge is a public good and that technology in general and the Worldwide Web in particular provide an extraordinary opportunity for everyone to share, use, and re-use knowledge. OER are the parts of that knowledge that comprise the fundamental components of education – content and tools for teaching, learning and research.”

Since the beginning of 2006, the Open e-Learning Content Observatory Services (OLCOS) project has explored how Open Educational Resources (OER) can make a difference in teaching and learning. Our initial findings show that OER do play an important role in teaching and learning, but that it is crucial to also promote innovation and change in educational practices. The resources we are talking about are seen only as a means to an end, and are utilised to help people acquire the competences, knowledge and skills needed to participate successfully within the political, economic, social and cultural realms of society.

Despite its title, it covers a very wide area, including open courseware, open access and even open source. It's probably the best single introduction to open educational resources around today - and it's free, as it should be. (Via Open Access News.)

2 comments:

Justin said...

Glyn,

I really enjoyed the point you made stating:
"The resources we are talking about are seen only as a means to an end, and are utilised to help people acquire the competences, knowledge and skills needed to participate successfully within the political, economic, social and cultural realms of society."

It does not make sense to use technology in the same manner we have currently be teaching, but instead must come up with new and exciting ways to engage the learners through the use of technology. I have stumbled across a few open educational resources and look forward to adding them into my curriculum.

glyn moody said...

I obviously can't claim the credit for that quotation, which comes from the report, but it makes a sound point.

Good luck with you exploration of OER....