OER for disseminating ICT knowledge in the local context

The learning materials available on the web had a high impact mainly on informal and nonformal education in a decade ago. However, with the rapid movement of OER could change the OEP from informal/nonformal learning to formal education. Significant achievements of OE during the last decade are free to access to the excellent quality e-books, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) from renowned universities like MIT  and Open University in the UK, embedment of pedagogy and technology.  The considerable increment of OER related research publications exemplifies the popularity of OER due to its cost-effectiveness, learning efficiency, availability, equal access and personalisation. The learning analytics of course which followed a learning design “OER enable pedagogy” has shown the majority of students tend to access different types of OE materials and shows high likeliness of reusing and recommending for others  [1].

Non-profit local educational organisations or authorities like the Ministry of Education, National Institute of Education in Sri Lanka need to harness the OERs which apply to the school curriculum and local educational culture in Sri Lanka since in house development of e-learning material requires a high budget and skilled personnel. The challenge is how to find suitable OERs relevant to the learning design of the course to achieve the learning outcomes. Open pedagogy, a new term was defined to refer the online education practices which incorporate the OERs for teaching designs. It mainly explains creation, use and reuse of OER. Therefore, Open pedagogy and OEP can be considered as similar terms in the educational context [2]. OERs can also be considered as any other online learning materials use for online course development. Most of the present OERs suit with any teaching method and learning design. Teachers will get access to reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute the OER in general case. The teachers should possess a clear understanding of the copyright level of all the OERs that are going to embed in the lesson plan (OEConsortium).

OER enabled technology, becoming the future trend of OER which combines constructivism and openness, letting the students learn by practice creating their artefacts which can be shared with the 5R concept of OER. Teacher evaluated good quality creation can be used for the future development of the courses [3].

In the field of ICT, there are plenty of OERs (Michigen College)  (Valley College) in a different format as MOOC courses, e-books, reading materials, videos, lectures, puzzle game etc. Universities or educational institutes create the OER’s under various funded projects. The challenging task in this project is selecting the most appropriate OER licenced with Created Common Licence based on the learning design of the course. Teachers can be integrated OERs corresponding to the learning requirements (Yee, 2015).  Even the materials contents are matching with the learning outcomes, all of the selected OERs have to be reviewed by a panel of experts to evaluate the quality and correctness of the contents. This project is only intended for using OERs in the format of e-books, online materials, videos, pictures, animations, presentations and quizzes.

Several research studies have proposed the requirement of having a method to rate the OER’s based on different characteristics. Since there’s no centralised system to locate the OER’s educationists find difficulties choosing the most appropriate OERs for their courses.  If there’s a centralised system is available for OERs, enabling the feedback and rating options, OERs might be able to cover the entire education system in the near future (Berger, 2018).

References

  1. Weller, M. et al., 2017. What Can OER Do for Me? Evaluating the Claims for OER.. In: R. S. Jhangiani & R. Biswas-Diener, eds. The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science. London: Open book, p. 67–77.
  2. Cronin, C., 2017. Openness and praxis: exploring the use of open educational practices in higher education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(3).
  3. Wiley, D. & Hilton, J., 2018. Defining OER-Enabled Pedagogy. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19(4).

 

(Extracted from a submitted assessment of H817: Openness & Innovation in eLearning)

Open Education Resources: bestie for nonformal and informal learning

Education mainly refers to sharing or dissemination of knowledge with others in contrast; most educational materials are costly with having persuasive copyright issues for accessing, reproducing or reusing. Doesn’t it violate the central concept of “sharing” in the definition of education?

Online materials are gifted with the capability of easy sharing, and in the earlier stage of WWW (Web 2.0), most of the static web pages had free and easy access. But with the evolution of the web from 1.0 to 2.0 transferring static web feature to dynamic the free access of web materials were restricted with the authenticated access.

Online learning sites have been vastly created using sophisticated Virtual Learning (VLE)/ Learning Management Systems with high access security. All the educational materials were inside the box. Institutions always tried to prevent exposing their educational materials for unauthorised people. Documents were with high restriction of copying or printing.

The theme of “Education for all” got simplified during the 21st Century lessening the high restriction of online materials. Therefore open education concept has been introduced by introducing free access for specific course materials without any access restrictions, including a price also. Open education has been established through Open Educational Resources (OER). Open Education Practice (OEP) is referred of following the open course materials and developing the OER. Initially, there were different issues such as accuracy, trustworthy, fidelity issues in the OER which prevent access the OER. Therefore those materials were mostly used for nonformal and informal education. But now some of the universities are using those materials of formal education also.

Mainly you can reuse OER materials for your teaching and research purposes. But you have to identify whether the e-material you are accessing with open access privileges. The copyright symbol of the content tells us what can we do with that e-material. There are 5’Rs you can do with OER materials.

  1. Retain – the right to make, archive, and own copies of the content.
  2. Reuse –  can reuse in its original form.
  3. Revise – can modify, alter or adapt
  4. Remix – content can be extracted to combine with other content to form a new material.
  5. Redistribute – can share the copies with others in original, altered or combined format.
http://lgimages.s3.amazonaws.com/data/imagemanager/28876/oer-5r-permissions.png
OER 5R Permission-original picture

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), I rate those as one of the most significant formations of open education, and I could cover most of my informal learning through the MOOC courses which are freely available in different websites.   Especially most of the MOOC courses are developed by prominent universities with veteran academics in various fields. The MOOC courses cover vast subject areas. Most of the courses are very user-friendly, professional and high-quality materials. The following list shows some of the MOOC courses which I followed in different areas.

Site

Subject

(Click the relevant subject to access the course)

www.coursera.org

Calculus

Teaching with web 2.0 tools

www.futurelearn.com

Blended Learning Essentials

https://classroom.udacity.com

Inferential Statistics

Machine Learning

Further to the about sites you can search for very good MOOC courses in the following sites also.

MIT Open Courseware

Open Learn from Open University UK

edx.org

 

However, there may be some issues and challenges in open education when applying for formal education

Open Education; issues and challenges

Open Education, the emerging trend of online learning which became a reality through Open Educational Resources (OER).  The development of OER is a long process which requires a high cost and long-term planning even they are available to access through the Internet free of charges.

There are a lot of challenges and issues which the OER development team has to concern in the teachers’, developers’ and learners’ perspectives. However, I have categorised the issues and barriers according to the responsible party to address them as follows.

  1. Implementation issues in the design and development stages
  2. Adaptation and maintaining issues in the delivery stage

The following 3 issues which I concern as very important since they are required to consider at the initial stage of the design and development of OERs.  I believe these three issues are the foundation for the whole project and scaffold to address for the next stage issues like; sustainability and learner support. These issues have to be addressed within the organisation.

Pedagogy 

Initially, with the development of learning objects, there was no consideration of pedagogical aspects in online teaching and learning. Most developers only considered the technology and the content for online teaching materials. But leaners find such learning is not motivational.

Quality

Everybody expects the quality of the content, delivery method and novel information in all the online resources. Therefore we need to maintain the quality in all the aspects of OERs.

Technology

Present generation mostly refers as the “Google generation” is very confident and familiar with the latest technologies. If the OERs are not embraced with the latest technology, the learner will not tend to adopt it.

Became a motivated self-learner through MOOCs

I can’t remember when I started to learn through the web, maybe during my final year at the university. But I use Google search to find the answers for all my questions in my day-to-day life. It can be searching for a recipe or solution for some advanced technical problem.
But mostly I started using the web for my learning when I was doing my research degree. I had to learn a lot of new subject knowledge. It was very tedious and boring to read books from the library and from the internet which never matched with my learning style. As an alternative, I tend to access the learning videos and spent a lot of time to search the videos which are appropriate for me.
Accidently I happen to view a video uploaded from Waikato University on Data mining. Data mining was one of the key areas of my research. That’s how I first got to know about the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
I learnt Data mining from MOOC courses launched by the Waikato University from scratch to expert level. Further to that, I started learning Statistics from Udacity. That MOOC courses are splendid, the teaching style, exercises, the course layout is exceptional. I very much enjoyed the courses. With such motivation, I became a MOOC course hunter. None of the MOOC sites could escape from me; edx, Udacity, OpenLearn. FutureLearn, Coursera etc.
I used some of MOOC courses to teach fundamentals for my students. I have used Hour of Code courses in Khan Academy to teach web development, Computer Program development and computer drawing to the first year undergraduate students.
They enjoyed the courses, and you also can learn the computer drawing and try to develop the following picture using the codes available in this Khan Academy course.

Learning theory behind the Personal Learning Environment

Source: pixabay.com

Personal Learning Environment (PLE) has already blurred the distinction between formal and informal learning. With the advancement of technology, we have become a node of an interconnected network. Learning is embedded not only in our professional life but also in our personal life since technology is changing rapidly. What is the learning theory which reflects the characteristics of learning in the digital age? I doubted whether the traditional learning theories, Behaviourism, Cognitivism and Constructivism could explain the learning behaviour in a PLE.

Connectivism, a concept which I recently learnt by reading an article by George Siemens (Siemens, 2015) is found to be the most suitable learning theory to explain a PLE. Connectivism is an alternative approach for traditional learning theories Behaviourism, Cognitivism and Constructivism. I suppose this theory has been evolved based on the associationism (Wikipedia, n.d.) in a networked environment.

“Connectivism is a theory of learning in a digital age that emphasises the role of social and cultural context in how and where learning occurs. Learning does not simply happen within an individual, but within and across the networks” (Wikipedia, n.d.).

The Connectivism has first introduced in 2005 by George Siemens and Stephen Downes. They have changed the definition of learning as “Learning is the process of creating connections and developing the network” (Downes, 2009).

How can we apply this concept in e-learning? Siemens, Downes and Cormier have developed a MOOC course to model and explain the connectivism, but unfortunately, it is not available now. As per other researches argument, the role of the teacher in a connectivistic environment is not adequately defined since it’s mostly focused on the learners (Bates, 2015).

However, as per Dowen’s interpretation (Downes, 2009), the role of the teacher in a connectivistic environment is similar to the constructivistic environment. It is just a facilitative and observable role in a more open manner.

There are some criticisms of the connectivism (Machness, 2011) approach in teaching and learning. The main criticism is its novelty.  The critiques stated that the connectivism had been obtained some features from other known theories such as “connectivism is connectionism, in computer science, associationism in philosophy and psychology, graph theory in mathematics and social network theory”. I also think it is related to some features describe in the Social constructivism, Engstrom activity theory and Authentic Learning concept.

Some teaching and learning models were proposed to implement connectivism theory through a personal learning environment (Gillet, 2014).

References

Bates, A. T., 2015. Teaching in a Digital Age. Vancouver: Tony Bates Associated Ltd.

Downes, S., 2009. Connectivist Learning and the Personal Learning Environment, s.l.: LinkedIn Learning.

Gillet, D., 2014. Personal Learning Environments as Enablers for Connectivist MOOCs, s.l.: HAL.

Machness, J., 2011. Attacks on connectivism. [Online]
Available at: https://jennymackness.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/attacks-on-connectivism/
[Accessed 23 Feb 2019].

Siemens, G., 2015. Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. International Technology and Digital Learning, 2(1).

Wikipedia, n.d. Associationism. [Online]
Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Associationism
[Accessed 23 Feb 2019].

Wikipedia, n.d. Connectivism. [Online]
Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connectivism
[Accessed 23 02 2019].

Technology Based Teaching : Article 4

Digital tools for teaching-related activities 

I can remember our teachers have used different techniques for preparing teaching materials and various methods for presenting the content more pictorial and interactive manner. With the digital technology, there are abundance tools available online and offline for following activities which are directly related to preparation for online, classroom-based and printed teaching materials.

1) Image capturing and editing
The software designed for image capturing or editing or performing both functions help you to obtain and create required graphics for your teaching materials. You can transform the primal pictures to advance informative graphic to compatible with your requirements.

2) Chart and graph creation
Attractive charts and graphs can be developed through online site free of charges.

3) Picture collection libraries
Ample of websites have the collections of pictures which we can use for our educational materials. No copyright violation is applicable for academic purpose usage.

4) Information sharing and storing
Online free storages are allowing us to save and share your files.

5) Animations and Simulations
Free software and web sites are available to Create free animations and simulation of the processes.

6) Presentations
The websites and software with the facilities to create attractive presentation and import to a reliable format which you use for your lectures or in the e-courses.

7) Screen capturing and recording
Free Software are available to capture the computer screen for material preparations and screen recording for creating demonstrative videos.

8) Voice Recording
These types of software can be used to add narration to your presentations and e-learning materials.

9) E-books creation
Some software allows creating e-books with the real features of a printed book.

10) Translation
Websites allow free translation of the document from one language to another.

11) Reading with annotations
Annotation is allowed in the documents you are reading online and offline.

12) Online whiteboard
Free online whiteboards are available to use for your lectures. These whiteboards are available in web conferencing software also

13) Surveying and quizzing
Surveys and assessment can be created to allow others to access online.

14) Dictionary and writing support
The software which support for writing by checking grammar and spelling issues. These types of software are essential when creating learning materials and blog posts.

15) Blogging site
Allows creating blogs for teacher and students to share one’s knowledge and views.

16) Creating E-portfolio
Various software are available to develop e-portfolios which allows assessing the students’ performance in learning.

17) Online communication
Software or apps design for synchronous and asynchronous communication can support collaborative learning.

Some of the above tools are available in present Learning Management Systems (LMS) and can be easily used to establish in an online classroom. But I am going to discuss some of the individual tools which we can apply for the accomplishment of the above tasks in the next few posts. The LMS will be explained in details later.

Article 3 (Pre) (Next)

Does PLE actually reflect Personal Learning Environment or Personal Living Environment?

Personal Learning Environment

As a teacher in the modern world, I never hesitate to embrace the technology for my teaching and it helps me to strengthen the teacher-student relationship every time.  Virtual Learning Environment or Learning Management System as we refer, always increase my curiosity and wanted to explore it for incorporating that system with all the educational functionalities in my teaching environment. Initially, it was not an easy task to accomplish. But gradually I could expand its importance to other faculty members. I initially thought the Technology Enabled Learning (teaching) (TEL) is something totally depend on an LMS.

New conceptualized thinking gained from the MOOC Course I followed in FutureLearn on Blended Learning Essentials challenged to my initial idea.  The LMS is only one part of the TEL, not the whole. My digital world got expanded and started using various tools for various purposes.

The term Personal Learning Environment got touched first time from Weller’s blog post but later I learned it is a vast empirical area and becoming the future of VLE.  Graham Attwell defines “A PLE is comprised of all the different tools we use in our everyday life for learning” when introducing it as the future of e-learning.

Can we demarcate the learning from our day-to-day activities? When it comes to the PLE, we have to include all our day-to-day use of technologies since all are inter-connected. In such case can we stop our Personal Learning Environment is becoming our Personal Living Environment?

I actually feel that we are becoming slaves of the technology.  The Internet is becoming a basic need rather than a desire making our life so complex and sophisticated.

Technology Based Teaching : Article 3

Adapting technology in face-to-face classrooms

https://pixabay.com/en/classroom-blackboard-class-learning-42275/

As teachers our task to foster learning. But the learning environment should be very comfortable and attractive for the learners. The students’ experience over learning does a significant impact on a successful learning process. The learning behaviour and information acquiring method may be different from person to person. Therefore, we have to try different methodology for teaching to satisfy the learning aspects of the students’ group.

Teachers face difficulties finding the right technology based on the available facilities in their teaching environment. In the classroom, we generally use chalkboard or white board as our basic teaching aid.

Overhead Projectors

This is one of the oldest techniques used for displaying pictorial information by projecting it to a screen or wall. OHP is its acronym. But still, we can use it to show some complex illustrations for students.

Ex: Show the world map to explain about the countries or show the scientific diagram which you can’t draw on the board nicely and clearly.

Radio and sound player

Imagine you are a language teacher; you can use a sound player to play some conversations or any other audio presentation which can be used to support your teaching. The latest radio is having the features of playing CDs and files in a pen drive.  With a small effort, you can convert your classroom environment to a more interactive area. If you can’t find a sound player, either you can use a tab or a mobile phone.

CD Player and TV

If your school or educational institution has a recreation area where a CD player and a TV is available. An educational video which is relevant to your lesson provides an opportunity for the students to get the authentic education by sensing the real situation. It also helps you to explain the lesson by pointing the real scenarios.

Ex: In a situation, you are explaining about “Tidal waves”, plenty of “YouTube videos” are available with a real capture of tidal waves.

Computer and Projector

If you are having a computer (laptop) with a projector which you can use in the classroom, get ready for a transformation. I am listing few techniques which I use in my teaching.

Summarise your note to a presentation

Use a presentation software to create a summary of your notes to display when you are explaining the subject content. You can use pictures, videos, tables and illustrations in your presentation as well. You can easily find a presentation software online and downloadable.  I will discuss the available presentation software in a next post.

Use pictures or illustration

You can design illustrations and diagrams to explain the complex scenarios and process using a drawing a tool. If you are teaching a computer subject, screen capturing software will be very helpful to capture the screen from the computer.

Create simulations and animations

You can create simple animations to interpret a process clearly. There are several animation software available online or downloading.

Create videos

You can create videos by capturing the computer screen. This option may be very useful when creating software demonstration or a presentation. Several video capturing software are available for free or a reasonable price. There are online sites also provide creating a short video.

Interactive White Boards

This is a form of whiteboard but with much features of creating different illustrations as a touchscreen. Most of the whiteboard can be connected to a computer. It can be easily operated using our hand similarly we are using a normal whiteboard.

 

There may be several other tools which we can use in the classroom. You might be able to find those by doing a search on the Internet. I hope now you are aware that with the help of the technological tools we can change our classroom into a technology-facilitated learning environment.

Technology Based Teaching : Article 2

What is your teaching environment?

https://classroomclipart.com

Before applying the technology, you have to understand the existing teaching environment, facilities in your classroom and the students’ competence of the available equipment and technology.

Teaching environment of a classroom can be classified based on its different characteristics.  Instruction deliverance is one of the main characters which can formulate a diversified  learning environment.  I used the following diagram to depict the classroom environments which we are commonly available.

If you are still having a fully traditional based face-to-face teaching environment we can easily convert it to a Technology facilitated teaching environment if you have a computer and a projector in the lecture rooms. If that computer is connected to the Internet, you can perfectly change your classroom to a modest technology-based class.

You don’t need to spend extra money but your time and need be innovative with high commitment. So think differently and act differently to be a Net Generation teacher.

Technology Based Teaching : Article 1

Teaching, What exactly it is?

https://classroomclipart.com

I had a dream to become a teacher from my school days. I can remember How I shared my knowledge with my colleague from the very small age.

I always wanted to add some more facts what I learned, when I was teaching other fellow students. Sometimes I added my imaginations to build the stories. Therefore I have been caught telling some unrealistic or false information to my friends. I may have done so, that was my imagination.

I believed teaching is not just transferring knowledge from one person to another. Teaching is a complex term very difficult to define or interpret. That is why people use metaphors to interpret the term “teaching” and “teacher”.

In my point of view, teaching is guiding, interacting, motivating, information passing, imitating, role-playing, parenting, counseling, instructing, demonstrating and so on. It is not just one task. It is a repetitive multi-tasking process which requires high commitment.

The teaching process has been evolved during the past two decades with the advancements of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT).  The present generation literally referred as “Net Generation”[1] or “Google Generation”[2]   is born with the technology and live with the technology. It makes a gap between technological students and non-technological teachers since both parties not having a common communication protocol. Therefore as teachers, we have to change our teaching behaviour for making good relationship with the students. Technology adopting to our learning practices can minimise the gap between teachers and students.

I would like to discuss my experiences, experiments and innovative ideas on teaching with technology in the next few articles. You are free to comment, discuss, correct or add your thoughts which always can encourage me.

 

 

References

[1] John Sandars & Catriona Morrison (2009) What is the Net Generation? The challenge for future medical education, Medical Teacher, 29:2-3, 85-88, DOI: 10.1080/01421590601176380

[2] Dr. Ian Rowlands, “Google Generation, A Crisis of Information Literacy? “, Available at http://stadium.open.ac.uk/stadia/preview.php?s=31&whichevent=1173

Pictures from: https://classroomclipart.com