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.
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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.
Federal support for the effective use of technology for teaching, learning, and improved school operations – driven primarily by executive actions at the White House and via politically-appointed leadership at the U.S. Department of Education – could get halted, shifted or eliminated on the first day of a Trump administration.
To combat OERwashing, the practice of organizations’ falsely claiming they are pro-Open to gain a benefit in the education market, we must be able to go beyond the elephant (“I know it when I see it”) test.
As an educator, how can you be sure that a lesson plan or activity claiming to be OER is actually open and not just pretending to be open? Given the misuse and abuse of the term (inconceivable!), I’ve collaborated with others to prepare a draft FAQ to set the record straight.
While the OER movement is global in scope and ambition, the context of implementation matters. I contend that how educators are supported and empowered to address the problems of practice will have everything to do with the ultimate success of the OER movement in the U.S. K-12 context.
The instructional materials procurement decisions facing K-12 school districts have never been more complicated, and how districts procure digital textbooks and instructional materials matters. Unless they’re careful, districts may be getting both more and less than they’ve bargained for in agreeing to restrictive digital content licenses.
I have a confession to make. I work in K-12 education in the U.S., and I am merely a fan – not a fanboy – of open educational resources (OER). I suspect that some will claim that this is a difference without a distinction. Others surely see me as some sort of OER fanatic. I beg to disagree.