Largely unexamined in the large-scale shift to digital learning in education are the accompanying ethical considerations. Indeed, the issues and tradeoffs that school leaders and teachers face in using technology in schools and for education — whether free or for a fee — are more complex than they have ever been.
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Like financial institutions, retailers, and Fortune 500 companies around the world, school districts are increasingly finding themselves and the personal information they hold about students, faculty, and staff targets of costly cyberincidents, including phishing schemes, malware intrusions, and denial of service (DoS) and ransomware attacks.
While increased access to technology has been instrumental to the growth of the OER movement, educational technology choices (often made by schools – and their vendors – on behalf of students) can serve to amplify and/or mute key features of openness. Indeed, the often unspoken relationship between OER and educational technology can be fraught with misplaced assumptions, red flags, value conflicts, and licensing complications.
While OER typically reside in the public domain or have an alternative license that specifies how a resource may be reused, adapted, and shared, the use of an open license is in itself insufficient to addressing the broader sustainability and ethical questions facing the OER movement. It is for that reason that I and my co-authors (Lisa Petrides of ISKME and Eddie Watson of AAC&U) are pleased to introduce the CARE Framework for OER Stewardship.