What is Open Content?

The movement toward open content reflects a growing shift in the way scholars in many parts of the world are conceptualizing education to a view that is more about the process of learning than the information conveyed. Information is everywhere; the challenge is to make effective use of it. Open content uses open licensing schemes, like those of Creative Commons, to encourage not only the sharing of information, but the sharing of pedagogies and experiences as well. Part of the appeal of open content is that it is a response to both the rising costs of traditionally published resources and the lack of educational resources in some regions. As this open, customizable content — and insights about how to teach and learn with it — is increasingly made available for free over the Internet, people are learning not only the material, but also the skills related to finding, evaluating, interpreting, and repurposing the resources. Recent data from Edcetera indicate that open educational resources make up three quarters of the content in most MOOCs; paid content, such as required textbooks, is less than 10%. These data reflect a notable transformation in the culture surrounding open content that will continue to impact how we think about content production, sharing, and learning.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • This will be very relevant for basic and general education. It opens education for change. As new knowledge is being created all the time, learning becomes building knowledge rather than transferring it. Open contents that can be modified and reconstructed by both teachers and students are the learning material of the future. Open learning materials will be open also in the way of being project kits or research topics and the results always open for criticism and further development. - tiina.sarisalmi tiina.sarisalmi Oct 23, 2013
  • Fostering a culture of sharing and enabling teacher curation of learning resources - oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Nov 2, 2013
  • The key issue is the quality of the content. Free educational resources, like free resources elsewhere, are not usually very good. Producing good resources takes talent, expertise, time and money, which is why they are not usually free. I think what is needed to make open content really useful are editors who would sift the content that is available and select the high quality material and present in a convenient compatible form so teachers can find it and use it easily. They might have to charge for this, but the costs should be less than those associated with commercially produced textbooks. Websites which allowed users to rank and recommend open content resources might be a way forward (but I do not know of any such sites). And we should definitely do everything possible to encourage public-spirited teachers to put good quality material online for free. - paul paul Nov 3, 2013- gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Nov 3, 2013
  • We are indeed living through times when resources are scarce, so availability of Open Content materials in own mother tongue is crucial for teachers to increase digital literacy and provide learners with adequate learning materials. - tszmarta tszmarta Nov 3, 2013

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • It's important how the open content and learning materials are organized and disseminated. Not only randomly through networks of schools and teachers, but structured and linked to the core curriculum, and always tagged with relevant key terms and phrases (besides the age, the grade and the subject) which will enable phenomenon-based learning. This way the core curriculum will grow into a continuously growing and updated open content. - tiina.sarisalmi tiina.sarisalmi Oct 23, 2013 Agree. Ability to link OER to specific elements of curriculum is a key enabler. - jimdevine jimdevine Oct 31, 2013
  • Language issue is very important to note in European context, thus sharing quality materials poses yet another problem which is crutial to solve in case of public education. - tszmarta tszmarta Nov 3, 2013

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on European schools education?

  • The potential impact can change the way we learn completely. Learning can become more personalized as students can choose the materials and activities that interest them and suit their learning styles. The focus of learning changes from content to skills and methodologies. Inquiry- and problem-based learning requires team work and collaboration. This can take place in virtual classrooms with partners from different schools, even from different countries. - tiina.sarisalmi tiina.sarisalmi Oct 23, 2013
  • Apart from OER as individual 'nuggets' (often difficult to find), greater importance will attach to OER sets and to the authority/reliability of those who curate such sets. OER curatorts will fulfil a role previously entrusted to book editors. - jimdevine jimdevine Oct 31, 2013 Agree! - gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Nov 3, 2013

  • Sharing materials and solving the language barrier could easy cooperation on the longer run. - tszmarta tszmarta Nov 3, 2013

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • http://www.openeducationeuropa.eu/ The European Commission launched recently the OPENING UP EDUCATION INITIATIVE. The main goal of this initiative is to stimulate ways of learning and teaching through ICT and digital content, mainly through the development and availability of OER. Amongst its actions, the most important oneis to change the role of digital technologies at school.
    //__Opening up Education__//calls for EU-level cooperation to push reforms towards the adoption of open learning environments as drivers to enhance digital skills both for pupils and teachers, and in education in general. Another major concern of the European Commission, stated in this initiative and in alignment with the Open Education Europa portal, is to be able to support the deployment and availability of digital technology and content.
  • The main goal of the Open Education Europa portal is to grant access to all existing high-quality European OER repositories in different languages in order to make them easily accessible for learners, teachers and researchers. The ultimate aim is to be able to foster the wide use and creation of OER in several languages, for all educational sectors and disciplines, and to help overcome the current fragmentation of European OER use.- guus guus Oct 23, 2013
  • The European Commission is funding a project on small languages and OER. More details will follow. - oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Nov 2, 2013
  • http://ndla.no is a Norwegian public consortium for open ed resources for upper secondary education. - oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Nov 2, 2013
  • Agrega is the spanish repository.- gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Nov 3, 2013

  • I only know of http://k12mooc.org/ as a MOOC for K12 for English speakers. In Hungary (using European funds) Schoolnet has organised the production of Open Content learning materials that covers the whole of our National Curriculum
    http://tudasbazis.sulinet.hu/hu and also operates social network for teachers to share further. - tszmarta tszmarta Nov 3, 2013

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