Saturday, 27 April 2013

Activity 22: An Open Education Technology

Which Form of Technology Best Suits the Creator of Open Educational Resources?

When choosing which technology is best for the creator of Open Educational Resources we should start with a discussion about what kind of 'openness' the creator is comfortable with. As David Willey (2007) puts it there are degrees of being open. A door that is slightly ajar is open but a door that is fully wide open is clearly more open.

Willey states that there are 4Rs of Reuse for OERs. The more of these 'Rs' an OER allows then the more open it is. However, the technology chosen can restrict how 'open' these educational resources are. 

For instance, if a creator chooses YouTube for video content then there is no facility to reuse since there is no way that the video can be downloaded (at least not from within YouTube itself). The same goes for photo-sharing sites such as Flickr. The images on Flickr cannot be downloaded from the website itself.

So we need to find a platform that allows content creators to put up resources that can be downloaded, remixed and revised before being redistributed on the same platform.

For content creators in the formal FE and HE sector, this is easy as their institutional VLE can be used. However, VLE are usually in themselves not open as they are only open to members of that institution. However, some institutions such as MIT's OpenCourseWare and the Open University's OpenLearn are VLEs that are open to all but in order to contribute to these platforms content creators have to be on the staff of those institutions. Some "digital scholars" are like the wandering scholars of Medieval Europe and travel (both physically or digitally) from place to place. Where is their central location for OERs?

Blogs might be the way to post Open Educational Resources. Blogs are great for collaboration, thought-sharing and discussion. However, blogs are unable to upload files that can be downloaded such as video, images, PDFs etc.

So my answer is as an open technology for open education that can be used by anybody (either as a creator or consumer) is Dropbox

Dropbox allows users to upload any type of large (or small) file and for those files to then be shared with others who can then reuse, remix and upload them to Dropbox too.

Social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+ can be used to publicise these OERs and to discuss them with other users and creators.


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