Before reading this post, it is important to clarify my post title. I am unfortunately not a “pro” at open education, but I am most definitely for open education!
Before this class, I did not have a clear understanding of what open education was. I have learned now that open education is the sharing of resources and information for teachers and students that is easily accessible and often free. Tony Bates defines open education as “…primarily a goal, or an educational policy. An essential characteristic of open education is the removal of barriers to learning. This means no prior qualifications to study, no discrimination by gender, age or religion, affordability for everyone, and for students with disabilities, a determined effort to provide education in a suitable form that overcomes the disability (for example, audio recordings for students who are visually impaired). Ideally, no-one should be denied access to an open educational program. Thus open learning must be scalable as well as flexible. – See more at here ” (Tony Bates, 2015)
Why Open Education Matters, is a quick but informative video which states why open education is so important and beneficial for our students. An eye opening quote from this video was, “education as we know, is failing millions around the world.” As a teacher, I truly hate that I have had too many conversations around this topic over the past few years. I am a successful product of our Saskatchewan school system (or so I like to think.. 🙂 ) But I know our “old fashioned” schooling does not work for all learners. Yes we are “teaching in the 21st century”, but I don’t believe enough change has been done in education. Open education is definitely a step in the right direction! I only wish I had more time on my hands to enrol in a mooc (massive open online course) in a topic I am interested in! I’ll put that on the bucket list for a later date!
As a primary teacher, I hoped to find some open education resources for early elementary students. I came across Oer commons . This open education resource allows you to search for open resources by subject and grade level. I did some quick searching, hoping to find some material I could use with my Grade 2’s. I did not search for long, but I did end up finding two social studies/health lessons that used Berenstain Bear books as their focus. I could definitely see myself using this teacher friendly resource but I hoped to find more than just those two lessons. Did any other primary teacher find any great resources to experiment using open education?
It is unfortunate to see many people against open education. Aaron Swartz and Danah Boyd are pro open education. Danah Boyd spoke out against online academic journals that are not open to the public. I identified with this author and post because I too have felt frustrated with not receiving access to online journals. We are fortunate at the U of R to have access to 100’s if not, 1000’s of journals online. I have felt annoyed when I was in between my Inclusive Ed certificate and masters program and was not a current U of R student. While I do not spend my free time reading academic journals on the U of R website, I do fine myself from time to time finding current research articles to support what I am teaching in the classroom. I understand that publishers do not want to post their full journals online to the public free of charge… but when they are “hidden” away, their audience is much smaller. In Grade 2 I teach my students to always reflect upon the purpose of their writing piece. Are you writing to entertain the reader, or are you writing to inform the reader. I hope academic publishers and authors would put more importance on informing their readers over making money.