Supporting Communities of Teachers in producing and sharing OER
Giovanni Fulantelli, Manuel Gentile, Davide Taibi & Mario Allegra, National Research Council of Italy - Institute for Educational Technologies, Italy
Conference Theme: Collaboration
Summary: How to motivate and support school teachers in the use and production of OER.
Abstract: User-generated Open Educational Resources represent an important opportunity for schools. Since 2005, our research team has been working towards the exploitation of this opportunity, through three European funded projects: Sloop (Sharing Learning Objects in an Open Perspective, promoted by Itsos “M. Curie” Cerunsco S/N, Italy – 2005-2007), Tenegen (Connect the TEachers to reach and teach the NEt GENeration, promoted by Prompt-G Educational Centre for Informatics, Hungary, 2008-2010), and Sloop2desc (Sharing Learning Objects in an Open Perspective to develop European Skills and Competences, promoted by the Italian National Research Council – Institute for Educational Technologies, 2009-2011). All the three projects aim at improving European school teachers’ knowledge of e-learning strategies and, more in general, of the use of the Internet in education. The focus of the three projects is on the educational content for e-learning. Specifically, the idea is that open educational resources can be designed, developed and shared directly by the community of teachers who will use them. During the projects, we have co-designed and run online courses for teachers on the production of Open Educational Resources using Web 2.0 tools and environments for the production of Learning Objects. Online courses have involved teachers from different countries: Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey. Through pilot and cascade courses, we have trained around 800 teachers in Europe on the production of OER. Hundreds of OERs have been produced by school teachers in a collaborative way, and shared in a community of teachers. All the resources have been released under Creative Commons licences. A specific web application, called FreeLOms (Free Learning Objects Management System) has been developed to simplify the management of learning objects (including SCORM-compliant resources), to handle Learning Objects metadata and, finally, to store and share educational resources produced by teachers. Stakeholders, policy makers and companies’ representatives have been involved in the projects, in order to increase dissemination and exploitation of results. Openness, standards and rights are key concepts behind our approach. Application of these principles has made it possible to re-use of learning objects from one project to another, after revision and modifications which have been necessary to achieve the specific objectives of each project. The three projects reflect an evolution of the learning approaches and environments over the time: basically, all the courses activated in the projects guide the trainees through different online learning experiences, in order to highlight how the technology is changing the way we learn (this is evident in the Tenegen project, where teachers are explicitly invited to explore the learning strategies of the net generation). Nevertheless, as the technology and the environments within which learning takes place are changing over the time, more and more informal learning approaches, social applications and web 2.0 solutions have been encouraged from a project to the following. At the same time, the school teachers’ attitude towards traditional teaching methods can impose important constraints to the design of innovative learning courses, which must be taken into account in the design of these experiences.