OERs: what’s stopping us?

The recent  M25 Learning Technology Group meeting focussed on Open Educational Resources (OERs).   Despite my somewhat limited knowledge of this topic it fell to me, as the meeting’s organiser, to provide an intro.  So here it is once again if you missed it.  OERs are teaching & learning materials available for reuse without charge. They are one element of a much wider Open Education movement (not sure that’s quite the right word but it’ll do). While reading about OERs I came across an interesting video lecture Openness, Aggregation and the Future of Education (50-mins) by David Wiley that’s worth a look.

In my introduction I gave examples of 4 different  OER-related areas as well as highlighting some upcoming OER conferences & UK projects: Continue reading “OERs: what’s stopping us?”

Less is more

I’ve had a “Less is More” badge for a while but don’t remember where, when or why I was given it.  I’ve always liked the idea though.  At the M25 Learning Technology Group at UEL on Friday, I learned that it’s the motto of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.  This fitted in rather well with my own presentation, which was delivered as a Pecha Kucha presentation, that is ,20 slides of images timed at 20 seconds each.  A format developed by architects in Tokyo.

The theme of the meeting was collaboration; I was talking about Cloudworks and my presentation, with the original audio, is below. Preparing for it involved a lot more work that I’d imagined and delivering it was hard work but I really like the format.  As a presenter it forces you focus on what really matters &  of course it’s great for the audience as it’s only 6-minutes 40-seconds!  Definitely something I’ll be doing again and encouraging others to do.

View on Slideshare

Storing Stuff

Not quite sure where I’m going with this one but the issue of storing stuff has cropped up a few times in the last week.

  • Eportfolios – a place to store stuff and make it available to different audiences – yourself, your peers, your teacher, your employer, the world. At work we’re looking at Mahara & Pebblepad
  • Repositories – see my earlier post on Language Box, a place for teachers to store, organise, share  teaching material
  • A course team needing to share material for developing a new module – we’ve been looking at delicious, Google sites & our VLE, Moodle

So lots of people with similar requirements, storing and sharing stuff online…. still no idea where this is going so will need to return to it…


Cloudworks is a project from the OU’s Institute of Educational Technology.  It’s described as:

a place for people to share learning design tools, resources and examples of learning activities…. a place where people can showcase their designs and related work, and obtain inspiration and advice when creating new designs

Although the site is essentially a repository, the developers are keen to make it feel less like a repository and more like a social networking site.  It encompasses a lot of web 2.0 elements: tagging & cloud tags, comments and RSS feeds.   I like the way the site is progressing and look forward to seeing how it develops.

Cloudworks Logo
Cloudworks Logo

Having said that, I remain somewhat of sceptic with regard to the re-use of learning material and activities (or designs).  For me it only works so far… I’ll happily incorporate others’ resources into teaching materials so for example, if I need an image I often search and grab photos from Flickr.  But that never extends to a whole activity as I tend to think it will take longer to find and adapt something than to create it from scratch.

While I think I would find it useful to browse sites such a Cloudworks for ideas for activities, rather than the activity in its entirety, I’m not convinced I would.  I think I’m more likely to stumble across ideas in conversations with colleagues and other educators or at events such as conferences and staff development sessions.   Of course, that’s just me.

Having highlighted my scepticism you might be surprised to learn that I’m working on a similar project!  Similar in that like Cloudworks it’s a repository of learning materials and uses Drupal.  But different in that it’s small-scale & unfunded – currently a repository of learning materials for teaching French at the LSE but that’s just the acorn…  Having liked what I’ve seen at Cloudworks I’m feeling inspired to throw some more energy into our Drupal project, nab some ideas and kick-start some plans we’ve had in the pipeline for a while!

It almost goes without saying these days but I came across Cloudworks on Twitter…