Reducing Friction in OER Adoption

Iterating Toward Openness

Last week I promised I would write a few posts about reducing friction with regard to OER. In last week’s post I talked about how we’re making it ridiculously easy for students, faculty, and others to contribute to the maintenance and improvement of OER.

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OER: Some Questions and Answers

Iterating Toward Openness

Earlier this week I read an op-ed – sponsored by Pearson – titled “If OER is the answer, what is the question?” OER often shine in their variety and ability to deepen resources for niche topics. While it’s possible to build a complete course from OER, the finished product often lacks the scaffolding found in courseware authored by single author/editorial/product teams. What does the Drake Equation have to do with OER production and enhancement?

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Self as OER


When we look at common definitions of Open Educational Resources or OERs (e.g., OER Commons , The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation ) it is clear that there is tendency to equate open educational resources to open educational materials and tools , such as course materials in text, audio, or video format, open textbooks, and educational software. Profession #oer16 OER open scholarship openness self as OER vulnerability

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Some Lessons Learned Supporting OER Adoption

Iterating Toward Openness

The tl;dr: Supporting effective OER adoption at scale has its problems. Upon reflection several years ago, I came to see that despite all my efforts I was making the classic Field of Dreams mistake (“if we build it, they will come”) by assuming that “if OER exist in a faculty’s discipline and research shows them to be effective in supporting learning, faculty will adopt.” OER are freely available and come with 5R permissions.

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OER and you. The curation mandate


At the #GoOpen Exchange on Friday, everyone was talking about OER and the need to curate. But it was clear to our little group, that to the larger majority of the participants, we were not even on the OER radar. Some OER background: Launched in October, GoOpen is a U.S. What are OER? According to the OER Commons : Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost.

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OERwashing: Beyond the Elephant Test

Doug Levin

My reaction to a news story about an education company acquisition seems to have set off a debate in my twitter feed about the intersection of open educational resources (OER) and the role of the private, for-profit sector in the K-12 content/curriculum market: For the love of all things good and holy, can we not keep confounding ‘open’ with ‘free’? Doug Levin (@douglevin) May 3, 2016. The Pro-OER Elephant Test. Blog OER #NotOER OERwashing Openwashin

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Why new technologies often don’t help students

The Christensen Institute

Edtech enthusiasts promote the benefits of innovations such as open educational resources (OER), learning management systems (LMS), and adaptive learning software. One of LPS’s lead math teachers, Mike Fauteux, wanted to improve student engagement and address his students’ individual learning gaps, so he began experimenting with new instructional practices that used Google Sheets and OER to provide students with self-guided learning experiences.

Ed-Tech Software Group Objects to Messages in Feds’ #GoOpen Campaign

Marketplace K-12

The Software and Information Industry Association, in a recent online post , said the campaign—which encourages states and districts to consider open options—wrongly suggests that open resources are invariably linked with districts’ shifts to adopting digital materials, whereas commercial materials are stuck in the print world. Supporters of OER also point out that for resources to meet this definition, it’s not enough that resources branded as “open” be free.

Leaving the LMS to Make Course Remixing Possible


Despite the challenges, he argues that if we’re serious about opening up educational resources, we need to do more to make sharing easy: To me, this is what OER for the web should start to reflect. Software Teaching jekyll lms OER open educational resourcesA recurring favorite topic for ProfHacker writers over the years has been alternatives to, or ways to dispense altogether with, learning management systems.

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6 Pillars to Successfully Integrate Technology In Your 1:1 Classroom


Business and technology have become truly complementary: Forbes gives the example of engine manufacturers relying on software to push forward production. OER Commons provides a database of free learning materials commonly used by teachers nationwide. Inspired By Gary Spracklen of Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy (IPACA), United Kingdom.

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Stereotyping, Behavior, and Belonging in the Open Education Community

Iterating Toward Openness

The open source software side of the open house has absolutely no issue with commercial entities using or contributing to open source software. ”, you declare, “the overwhelming majority of OER in the world are licensed in ways that permit commercial use, so what’s the problem?” Their platform for hosting, authoring, and remixing OER is open source and available via GitHub.

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U.S. K-12 Educational Technology Policy: What is the Federal Role? (Part II)

Doug Levin

While one might expect an educational technology program to be expressly designed to support the purchase of technology devices, tools and software, Congress mandates that not more than 15 percent of program funds may be used for “purchasing devices, equipment and software applications in order to address readiness shortfalls” or for the development of blended learning projects. The Layers of ESSA: Educational Technology in Title IV – 21st Century Schools, Part A.

From Silos to Sharing: Why Are Open Educational Resources Still So Hard to Find?


For over a decade, plenty of time and dollars have been poured into encouraging the use of open educational resources (OER). In 2007 the Hewlett Foundation’s funding helped create OER Commons. Department of Education spearheaded the #GoOpen movement, a collection of efforts to spur educators, publishers and technologists to make OER more available and easily accessible. From my experience, the answers usually are: OER resources are in silos.

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6 Edtech New Year’s Resolutions

Tom Murray

With the new year now upon us, listed below are six edtech resolutions for 2016. Districts having success in this area have comprehensive refresh plans, work with high quality partners, build relationships with local businesses, work diligently to receive grants, and leverage a variety of open educational resources (OERs). From weight loss and debt reduction, to spending more time with family, 2016 has brought with it millions of New Year’s resolutions.

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Of Openness, Ecosystems, and Type I and Type II Error

Iterating Toward Openness

Andrew Rickard has written a thoughtful essay on OER, open pedagogy, and commercial interests. Decision rules that preclude commercial interests from being involved in OER will ensure that no company ever profits from OER created by volunteers and nonprofits, but will also ensure that no company ever contributes, improves, or provides support for OER. Think about our older sibling, the open source software movement.

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Amazon Launches 'Inspire,' a Free Education Resource Search Platform for Educators


Back in February, an EdWeek Market brief reported that Amazon Education was starting to beta-test a new platform with educators, helping teachers navigate the jungles of open educational resources (or OERs, for short). A free, mostly-OER platform (see below for why it’s “mostly OER”), Amazon Inspire works like a search engine for educational videos, lesson plans and games. In 2016, Mary Jo was named to the Forbes "30 Under 30" list in education.

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The Consensus Around “Open”

Iterating Toward Openness

Defining the “Open” in Open Content here on states: The term “open content” describes any copyrightable work (traditionally excluding software, which is described by other terms like “open source”) that is licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities: Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., License Must Not Restrict Other Software.

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University of Georgia Kicks Fresh Courseware Pilot Into Gear


Open educational resources (OER) have saved students at the University of Georgia (UGA) nearly $2 million in textbook costs alone over the past three years. Edward Watson, director of UGA’s Center for Teaching and Learning, about a dozen faculty members who teach physiology, history, psychology and sociology have since adopted OpenStax for their courses, while faculty in education and theater use alternative OER platforms.

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Part 4: STEM, STEAM, Makers: Turning STEM to STEAM… 24 Resources

21st Century Educational Technology and Learning

OER Commons – Take a look at these results from a search I did for STEAM based activities. Since it is OER (Open Education Resources) it is free. Each project aligns with common core and national standards and delivers measurable learning while using free software. I am now almost booked through October and the rest of the 2016 calendar is filling fast.


“Open” Educational Resources vs “Open” Pedagogy: Why Meanings Matter

Iterating Toward Openness

In many contexts – like open content, open educational resources, open source software, open access, and open data – “open” means “free plus permissions.” When used as an adjective to describe specific creative artifacts – like open content, open educational resources, open access research articles, open data, or open source software – the clear community consensus is that “open” means free plus permissions. The tl;dr.

Looking Back on Three Years of the ConnectED Initiative: Did It Deliver?


According to the fact sheet that the White House recently released, here’s what we know: Adobe has delivered creativity and e-learning software to over 950,000 students and teachers at more than 1,450 schools and launched more than 20 district-wide Adobe & ConnectED programs. Autodesk provided more than 335,000 students and educators from secondary schools with professional software and services for use in classrooms, labs, and at home.

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Self-Paced E-Learning Market Evaporating, Report Finds

Marketplace K-12

The report defines self-paced courseware as being accessed on a desktop or laptop and spanning the K-12, higher education, corporate training, and privately marketed software (such as that produced by language-learning company Rosetta Stone) sectors. However, sales of mobile learning, simulation-based learning, game-based learning, and “brain-training” software are all on the rise. market is the trend toward open and free educational resources, or OER.

Defining Digital Courseware’s ROI in Terms of Student Success


Tyton Partners describes digital courseware as “instructional content that is scoped and sequenced to support delivery of an entire course through purpose-built software. On the other end of the spectrum is courseware that includes a collection of content and assessments tools from various vendors, open educational resources (OER), or homegrown efforts.

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A letter of support


April 29, 2016. These new collections support new literacies and leverage the new bounty of open educational resources (OER) supported by the White House’s #GoOpen initiative, as well as streamed media, and software for creating and sharing powerful, effectively, ethically produced digital stories. It’s hard to make sense of the current climate for school libraries.

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Hack Education Weekly News

Hack Education

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 3, 2016. ” Via Inside Higher Ed : “The vice chancellor and principal of the University of the Witwatersrand , in Johannesburg, on Monday issued an unusual plea for help to ‘save the 2016 academic year.’” ” “ Deloitte Publishes 2016 Digital Education Survey,” says Edsurge. Via Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill : “About That Cengage OER Survey.”


Simple Tips for Vendors When Reviewing Terms

Graphite Blog

This post focuses on privacy, but the general lesson - that bad markup gets in the way of good content - holds true in both the OER and the privacy space. To people working on the web or in software development, these checks probably sound rudimentary - and they are. This post is the result of many conversations over the last several years with Jeff Graham. It highlights some things that we have seen in our work on privacy and open educational resources.

PanOpen Launches Platform as ‘Open’ Education Market Evolves

Marketplace K-12

He mentioned Lumen Learning and OER Commons as just two examples. The analytics and tracking software can be used for a variety of functions, Jacobs said, including making it easy for students to sift through their notes and highlighted texts in a systematic way.

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Looking backward and forward

Kathy Schrock

This article originally appeared in the Discovery Education blog " Kathy Schrock's Katch of the Month " in December 2016 and is re-posted here with permission. __ What was hot in educational technology in 2016 and what are some cool new things that are on the horizon for 2017? BREAKOUT EDU One of the most innovative new things to show up in the classroom in 2016 is Breakout EDU. CHROMEBOOKS The Chromebook finally came of age in 2016.

Part 3: Over 35 Formative Assessment Tools To Enhance Formative Learning Opportunities

21st Century Educational Technology and Learning

I am almost booked through August and fall dates for 2015 are now over 3/4 full and the 2016 calendar is beginning to fill. OER Possibilities. This capability provides teachers the ability to use a multitude of OER (Open Education Resources) and web applications that are bountiful on the internet. Find a vast collection of already built lessons along with OER (Open Education Resources).

Hack Education Weekly News

Hack Education

Via eCampus News : “ Barnes & Noble Education announces advanced OER courseware.” Blackboard has acquired Fronteer , a software company that helps make course materials accessible. ” Via EdWeek’s Market Brief : “ Value of Education Industry Sector Transactions Nosedives in 2016.” Inside Higher Ed on the results of the 2016 Campus Computing Survey." Presidential Campaign Politics. November 8 cannot come soon enough.

Hack Education Weekly News

Hack Education

From Course Report : “the 2016 Coding Bootcamp Market Size Study.” ” Among the findings: “In 2016, the sheer number of bootcamp providers has grown to 91, compared to 67 last year.” “ 14 projects win 2016 Knight News Challenge on Libraries.” Reason: ‘Using Appliances’ ” Here’s the Chalkbeat headline : “New software aims to make teachers' jobs ‘much easier’ in Indianapolis Public Schools.”

Hack Education Weekly News

Hack Education

Congratulations, Class of 2016 , from The New Yorker: this week's new yorker cover is ruthless — adam hamze حمزة (@adamhamz) May 24, 2016. The Common Core aligned reading software maker had raised $1.8 ” Trends to watch: investors’ interest in English language learning (software). This week: “ OpenStax Partners with panOpen to Expand OER Access.” Education Politics.


Hack Education Weekly News

Hack Education

From Berkery Noyes, the “ Mergers and Acquisitions Trend Report ” for the first half of 2016. ” Phil Hill also weighs in on the latest Babson survey on OER. Software,” says Education Week. Presidential Campaign Politics. Convention Week #2. This time, it was the Democrats ’ turn. Higher ed showed up in Hillary Clinton ’s acceptance speech Thursday night, including a mention of her plans to make school debt-free.

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Hack Education Weekly News

Hack Education

” CSS — Owen Williams ⚡️ (@ow) June 6, 2016. Heard there was an intruder in my sons school last night.wasn't so angry when I found out who it was @thereaIbanksy — Rebecca Radford (@RebeccaRadford7) June 6, 2016. ” From Lumen Learning’s David Wiley : “Some Lessons Learned Supporting OER Adoption.” Education Politics. “ Spending Bill Could Revive Year-Round Pell Grants.”


The Game-Changing Potential of Learning Management Systems

Leadership Lounge

So far I’ve written about one-to-one computer programs and Open Educational Resources (OER). However, districts that employ an LMS will often work to integrate it with their SIS and other district-supported software and apps. The game-changer aspect I find in schools’ use of an LMS, especially those that also employ one-to-one computing and OER, is how it becomes the classroom’s digital hub.

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