Sunday, 15 April 2012

Promise and practice in OER: The need to move forward together

Tomorrow I head off for the joint OER12/OCWC conference at Cambridge. I am looking forward to hearing a mix of views on what it will take to continue and build the momentum of the OER movement. OpenEd 2011 was a fabulous event and as someone based in the UK it drew my attention to a new perspective on open education, particularly away from HE and into schools. There has been heartening news over recent weeks of regional and sector push towards openness, including in US schools as a result of pioneering work by David Wiley and others and the announcement last week from the World Bank about research.Next week's conference promises to offer an international mix of experiences to mine and learn from.

My own session is a short demo called 'Cartoons and Card Tricks'. At OER11 I unleashed v.1 of the reuse cards and its been great to hear how people have used these cards in the past year as a medium for exchanging views with novices to OER, to open up discussion and hopefully open eyes to the potential of sharing and using OER. The cards have travelled from seminar rooms and conferences to less formal venues - bars and dinner parties. They recently did a little detour to EUROCALL in Italy last month with Anna Comas-Quinn. Feel free to reuse, translate and adapt the cards yourself. The idea of reusing cards about reuse must make sense. I've spruced them up for OER12 and spring-cleaned the shop (see link above) a little.

One of the resources added is a new cartoon from Steve Davies, formulated as a worksheet but adaptable as you wish. It looks at the axis between promise and practice in OER activity. This one of the ideas behind the ORIOLE project. Practitioners have a lot to learn about the promise of OER, if they can find the time to look around. However those looking to the future, to the promise of OER and  increasingly open landscapes, or trying to formulate policy based on this new future, can learn from noting what practitioners need, what they use, and how they use it.This latest cartoon asks you to consider what your perspective is, promise- or practice-heavy, light, or balanced. Perhaps we need more emphasis on promise at this stage to capture the imagination, but if so when does the balance need to shift? The cards and the cartoons are trying to test how this might be achieved as gaining ground in the hearts and heads of practitioners becomes important to maintain the movement that we are all engaged in.

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