Open Ed Spottings Week 13

A few of my favorite bits from this past week’s writing. Another post with more of my own thoughts and feelings will follow separately.

Rob makes his own predictions about the future of education and how open education and OERs will change it; I particularly liked this one:

Top-tier schools will be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the collaborative age and then will immediately turn around and congratulate themselves on their innovative practices (like how the cellphone companies fought against phone number portability, but now tout it as a great feature since they were forced to implement it).

Jessie once again brings her unique perspective about China into the conversation about the future of education, and speaks up for parents – the sadly too-unsung heros of education:

In China, before we take open education into account, we do need to convince the parents to accept the advanced open education more than the traditional education because as so far, the parents are the ones pay for the education for their children and they have lots of power to determine if their children will have higher education or not and even what field their children will choose.

Yu-Chun reminds us that the digital divide is still very real:

As for what role OER plays in the developing countries, I think OER can bring more learning opportunities for those people in poor areas. But before they access to those free materials, they need to have a basic technology facility and know how to use those technology. Even in the developing countries, the digital gap between cities and the suburbs is high. Students growing up in the city might know how to use since they are 3 or 4 years old, but students in the suburbs might get chances to know when they enter to elementary school or junior high school. Students in the city might have their own computer, but the students in poor areas might know what computer it without chances to have their own computers. Overall, I think OER bring lots of advantage to people in developing countries, but the availability of technology will be a great issue.

Erik sees a bigger role for OERs in primary and secondary schools than at university:

I think the biggest immediate impact of OER will be seen in K-12 education. With good information freely available there will be a growth in the availability of college level courses in high schools. Due to the fact that the courses have been created with federal funds at the college level, high schools will take the information and adapt it to fit their courses and students. Students will graduate high school with a better education, and due to the easy access to information students will also be more prepared to enter college.

Bobbe takes a gloomier (but more realistic?) view of the future of education and OERs, and goes in for a little flattery as she describes why she thinks we should banish the commercial world from education:

If I were to write a story about the future of OER, based on what I know about it today, it would not be a story about success. It would paint the picture of an OER movement that forgot to include/ chose not to include/ or just went nilly willy ahead without thinking about including all the players that make up the teaching professions.

Wiley is a man who always has a special insight into places and times. I believe he is right about the licensing issues that will plague OER efforts. My belief is that we must disentangle OER from the commercial world and the pirates who would continually fight to keep barriers to education blocked for their own commercial gain. Education is one area that should be kept separate from profit. The teachers are separated from profit, so why not all of the parts and pieces that make up education, like learning objects? The open source movement has taught economists that there are motivators beyond just dollars in some economies.

For Jon, it all comes down to the money:

I do not see the OER movement being the driving force behind the changes that need to be made in the University environment. What it will most likely come down to is money. Universities will latch on to OERs out of necessity, to reduce costs and to remain competitive with other establishments. Furthermore, as students become aware of other universities reducing, and in some cases even eliminating, these costs, it will become more difficult for professors to require large expensive textbooks.

He’s probably right.

Jennifer’s audio post this week looks interesting, but I’ll have to wait until I’m connected again to listen to it…

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