Part One: Is the ed tech Weller describes relevant to my work?
In Chapter 11 of 25 Years of Ed Tech, entitled: 2004 Open Educational Research, Weller identifies impacts, possibilities, and limitations of Open Educational Resources (OER). One of the notable impacts of OER use is teacher reflection on practice which usually results in the inclusion of a spectrum of content and approaches to their pedagogy (Weller, 2020).
I consider myself a secondary user of OER, and see myself moving to a primary user role, but the existing infrastructure is limited for the k-12 learner group. For example, Edwin is an online resource that has pulled materials from Nelson and other publishing companies to mirror what takes place in a face-to-face classroom for virtual teaching and learning. If you do a quick Google search, you’ll see it espouses itself as “tomorrow’s digital learning environment making education better for everyone today.” The content is the same however it is a new take, as it packages in-person learning by moving the textbook online in a user-friendly multimodal way. The thing is, many teachers have been doing this type of facilitating in their in-person classroom for as long as access to digital textbooks has been available. This self-proclaimed digital learning environment can easily be confused as “new” and absorbed into mainstream k-12 academia much to the chagrin of the potential of OERs.
In a perfect world, I would not have to sign up for a webinar hosted by a math coach (who, as an aside, is wonderful), in order to learn about how to use the materials that I have access to in my digital dashboard. In a perfect world, this coach would post a blog every other day (or whenever convenient) about the day-to-day tips, tricks, and links to meaningful content for educators. This ease-of-use and sharing of knowledge would not only allow those who are least interested, or tertiary, to join in on the fun, and give their students access to the amazing ed tech that exists.
Part Two: Between the Chapters #11 sharing about OER & our open practices with @judyphalet, @catherinecronin, @vrodes, & @marendeepwell
I have been toiling with the notion that what has taken place within education over the past 18 months should not be taken for granted. I felt that a shift to a more substantial use of technology would enhance our practice (as k-12 educators). When Judith Pete spoke of the new norm where institutions “cannot sideline the use of technology” (Weller, 2021, 4:47), the notion revealed itself to be the possibility of a new standard of what learning could mean for educators and for students. It would be a stark contrast to the rhetoric of subscriptions to publishers, where “content is king” (Weller, 2020, p.78), and the expectation that funds be used for this content alone. It could mean a reinvention of the school day.
This optimism is in direct contrast to a return to the status quo. The potential for change and for a better quality of life for those who work within the walls of educational institutions and those who enter day in and day out, deserve a better experience. We have a collective responsibility and a collective opportunity to do better now that we have metaphorically seen the light.
Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press.
Weller, M. (Host). (2021, January 21). Between the Chapters #11 sharing about OER & our open practices with @judyphalet, @catherinecronin, @vrodes, & @marendeepwell [Audio podcast episode]. In 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press CC-BY-NC-ND. https://25years.opened.ca/2021/01/27/between-the-chapters-oer/