Why Open Educational Resources?

After reading this it made me think of a TED talk I saw where the speaker suggests that in order to inspire action, you need to start with the ‘why’ – this seems to be what Robin deRosa is saying, that OER needs a why at its heart, the open textbooks will be thought of later. Maybe users of OER think they why is clear, it appears not.

My own experience of how ‘Open Education’ has won would suggest that things are similar to a comment on The Ed Techie schools have gone on to buy iPads, and use Windows or Mac even when open source software is available, they have spent money on developing an online learning environment that did less than moodle, and then dropped it. It feels like the school, by virtue of being a private money making company, has to spend money on ‘helping’ other money making companies.

There can be no doubt that Open Educational Resources can do everything they are asked to do, but that of course, they will need to be adapted; which will take time and this means money spent by the institution to pay staff to adapt materials for use in school. This will also mean paying staff to learn to adapt materials available – private schools in my experience, don’t want to spend this money, since it would mean staff being paid for more preparation time, which in turn means less contact time. In this sense for the school teacher time is a zero sum calculation, they get paid for ‘x’ hours, so they have to get the most out of their investment, which means the most time supervising learners.

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