Timeline – the history of open educational resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes. For anyone that wants to understand why Open educational resources in so many ways are changing global education today, I think it is crucial to understand the history of OER.

During the last weeks I have been setting up a list of projects that I feel has had an impact on this open educational movement, and at one point I decided to make a timeline.  As many of you might be aware of the OER movement was inspired by the free software movement and open source. I have chosen to start my timeline in 1985 when Richard Stallman founded the Free Software Foundation.

Although OER is the leading trend in distance education as a consequence of the openness movement, many OERs are not truly open. When listing these OER projects I have been very liberal in terms of witch projects to include. So this is by no means a list of OERs but rather a list of projects that have influenced the development of OERs.

Do you know about any projects that should be in the timeline? All feedback is appreciate!

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How to make your own taylor made Open educational resource – mashup from Khan, CK-12 and H5P

This video tutorial is based on workshops that we did in 2014, both in Uganda and Sweden. The basic idea is that instead of just consuming resources or writing your own from scratch, you take bits and peaces from global OER projects and build your own OER based on your specific local needs. This will ensure high quality and at the same time make it easer to build OERs for those with limited resources.

In this video tutorial I walk you trough the practical aspects of actually making your own taylor made OER based on a mashup of text, video and illustrations from the following projects:

 

Offline educational resources – crucial for African schools in the years to come

During eLearning Africa 2015 in Addis Abeba I have met many enthusiastic and inspiring people. The conference has covered many topics like MOOCs, mobile learning and the importans of vocational training.

With my background as an advocate for open educational resources the big question for me has been; Can open educational resources make a differens in changing global learning – and specifically for emerging economies? After listening to talks on different relating topics and talking to teachers and startups from many different countries my conclusion is: YES!

During his keynote the frist day at eLearning Africa, Mark Surman from the Mozilla foundation showed a survey with predictions that within 2025 nearly 5 billion people all over the world will be online. Most of the new users will be in developing countries.

In the meantime it is crucial to address the fact that most africans schools are not online. The importans of online connectivity and the importans of offline resources when a school goes offline for any reason. For those schools that are online, having offline resources will also address the issue of cost when using video lectures from sites like Khan Academy is equally important.

There are some projects that have addressed this problem and I would like to give en introduction to some of them:

KA – Lite

kalites

KA Lite offers instructional videos from Khan Academy on math, science, history, economics and matches the common core standards. They also provide a diverse collection of math exercises for students that generates immediate feedback, provides step-by-step solutions, and works through a point system to encourage continued practice of material. You can download as many as you’d like to use in your installation of KA Lite.

Offline version of Wikipedia

Wikipedia offers free copies of all available content to interested users. These databases can be used for mirroring, personal use, informal backups, offline use. All text content is multi-licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License (CC-BY-SA) and the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). Images and other files are available under different terms, as detailed on their description pages. Often this means that you can use the pictures as well.

Gutenberg project – 46.000 books offline

Project Gutenberg offers over 46,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online. We carry high quality ebooks: All our ebooks were previously published by bona fide publishers. We digitized and diligently proofread them with the help of thousands of volunteers. No fee or registration is required, but if you find Project Gutenberg useful, we kindly ask you to donate a small amount so we can buy and digitize more books.

The Rachel project

The Rachel project have made a server(small and compact) including some of the best educational resources on the web, neatly packaged together for download and distribution in places without internet. For more info, check out this video explaining how it is made.

Apps on Android and iPad

Some of the apps on tablets like Android and iPad will not require you to be online at all times. There are a groing number av apps that will provide a good learning experience.

Some of the apps that we have tried in projects are:

  • Mathking
  • Quizlet
  • Dragonbox
  • O Clock

Tanx to Nuug Foundation as sponsor for my trip to eLearning Africa.

Global Sharing of Digital Learning Resources: A Paradigm Shift in the Making

The rise of open educational resources(OER) and Massiv Open Online Courses like MIT OpenCourseWare, Coursera, Khan Academy, CK-12 and edX represent a distinct change in how people all over the world can learn new skills and get educated. Many of these project allow free access witch means that you can take the courses for free and access all the resources.

So this idea is something «everyone» tries to replicate, a result of this is that everyone is making their own content, but very few are reusing what others have developed when making something for themselves.  For the future we have to re-think OERs and MOOCs and start building our content on what others already have made, if at all possible.

One reason for this might be that the current situation does not provide tools for users to mashup, and re-create and translate. In practice it should be possible for a teacher to search for high quality learning resources(this is already solved by Google) and then in an easy way make their own learning resources based on their needs.

How can we go about changing this?

Lets learn from the success of Wikipedia and crowdsourcing

The freedom to share, re-use, change, translate and mash up new versions are some of the reasons for Wikipedia becoming the most important source of knowledge on the internett.

At the hart of  Wikipedias growth is the «magic» that emerges around crowdsourcing – a method where a large number of people work together on solving a problem or creating a knowledge univers like Wikipedia. More than 10 million people have written something on Wikipedia.

At the «foundation» for crowdsourcing lies the freedom to share, re-use, change, translate and mash up new versions and this will also be important when we are talking about high quality digital learning resources.   

Did you know that you can translate Khan Academy into your own language?

Khan Academy is one of the most famous open educational resources giving their users access to thousands of lectures in subject like math, history and science. One thing about Khan that is not that well known is that you can translate Khan Academy into your own language. You can do this legaly because:

  • Khan Academy publishes all there resources under a Creative Commons license
  • Khan Academy offers a tool for anyone that wishes to translate into another language

cc-lisens

When we talk about Open educational resources(OER) that are released under a free license like creative commons it is crucial to distinguish these from those online giving free access. The factor of free access is important, but this alone limits the possibilities to make changes, create new content and translate into new languages.

Some basic principals must be at the core of a global community sharing OER:
  • All content must be available for free, free access
  • All the resources must be under what is called a free license, for example Creative Commons
  • All the resources must be available plattform independent, this will make it possible for local startups and businesses to make new edTech based on this content
  • There must be a mechanism for micropayment for those that contribute in to the community

After attending and speaking at this weeks eLearning Africa conference in Addis Abeba I am convinced that our global community of educators will succeed best if we go for the model of Wikipedia with sharing trough a crowdsourcing community.

Tanx to Nuug Foundation as sponsor for my trip to eLearning Africa.