Friday, 25 April 2014

free book #OER integration in #k12 for #ict4d regions

While exploring OER with an edge options, I came across this free book published by the Common Wealth of Learning, edited by Ferreira and Gaultier, entitled Perspectives on Open and Distance Learning: Open Schooling with Open Educational Resources (OER): opening doors, creating opportunities. A great read which features OER cases from six countries — Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago and Zambia — participating in this ambitious, ground-breaking project to train educators to create a bank of OER that could be used in both conventional and open schools by both school-age children and adult learners. Each country based its OER on its country curricula, but built in enough cultural and pedagogical flexibility to allow the OER to be used and adapted by other countries — epitomising the essence of OER. In addition, the training equipped the participants with the knowledge and skills to train current and future colleagues, thus contributing to the sustainability of the OER.

The project presented many challenges — technical, personal and logistical — for the participants and these are discussed openly and honestly in the country reports. It also brought a real sense of professional and personal achievement, and those who participated can be proud of their contribution to the development of OER for open and distance education. If we can continue to develop and maintain OER, we can continue to educate and to open doors.

The great part of this is the collaboration to get OER centralized across nations, and using it inside of a curriculum based system (which makes the OER open to qualitative evaluation, redistribution, cross-cultural affinity...). Just looking at the table provided by the Namibian OER team got me excited: a clear timeline of what has been done, how and what the main focus was.