Week 2 Blog

What do you see as the promise of open learning as an emerging technology/pedagogy/philosophy?

I think that open source learning has a lot of potential benefits for students and teachers.  One of the most important benefits open source learning can have for teachers is through the use of MOOCs as a professional development and sharing tool (Graham, L., LaBonte, R., Roberts, V., O’Byrne, I., & Osterhout, C., 2014 ).  Some sharing resources for teachers already exist.  Sites like super-teacher and teachers-pay-teachers are places where teachers can get ideas from one another and share knowledge and work.  However, one of the biggest drawbacks of these already existing sites is that they are not free, and there is no way to revise or edit the work of another teacher and share it with others.  If a MOOC can be created and made accessible to teachers all across the world, the opportunities to share, grow and improve our practice would be incredible.

Open source learning asks teachers to no longer be experts in the content they are teaching, however just to be expert facilitators in managing the learning process of their students (Engard, 2015).  Of course it is still important that teacher have some knowledge of the topics that their students are learning, but they no longer need to have the answer to every single question a student might ask.  In this setting, students ask and answer questions to one another as well as other resources in the open source learning environment.

When learning is done this way, each student is able to personalize their education, and tailor it to fit themselves and their needs best (Baraniuk, 2006).  Teachers will no longer be overwhelmed with meeting the needs of all of her different students, and trying to balance different levels of instruction, because the she will no longer be the only resource for learning.  All members of the open source learning community now supplement the information that the teacher contains.

Open source learning will also benefit students in another way.  The exchange and sharing of knowledge will be much less costly.  As a college students, I am supremely aware of the high cost of college textbooks.  Most textbooks, when purchased new, cost around $100, and every few years publishers release new editions of older textbooks, forcing students to purchase new books that are required rather than reusing older versions that can be purchased for cheaper.  In the TED Talk video by Richard Baraniuk that I posted below, he gives the example of an engineering textbook that would normally have cost $100, only cost $22 because it was created and revised using open source learning resources, rather than by a few individuals revising it in a painstakingly slow and expensive process through a publishing company.

These kinds of changes and adaptions can, and hopefully will have huge impacts on the lives of educators and students.  Cheaper textbooks, more sharing of information and individualized learning for students are all things that will help revive and improve the educational community.

TED Talk Video by Richard Baraniuk: http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_baraniuk_on_open_source_learning?language=en#t-696272

Engard, N. (2015, April 27). What is open source? Licensing, history, and more. Retrieved May 26, 2015, from https://opensource.com/education/15/4/how-teach-others-about-open-source

Graham, L., LaBonte, R., Roberts, V., O’Byrne, I., & Osterhout, C. (2014). Open learning in K-12 online and blended learning environments. In HandBook of Research on K-12 Online and Blended Learning. ETC Press.

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3 thoughts on “Week 2 Blog

  1. Tristan Leiter says:

    I think that open source learning would be hard for me to get used to as a teacher because I like having the answer for students when they ask. I hate saying, “I don’t know” because I feel like I should know everything, because as their teacher they think I should know everything. There are so many times in class where students are like, “You mean you don’t know that?” and I have to explain to them that I am human too and don’t know everything. I feel like with open source learning I would have to give that explanation a whole lot more, but I do see the potential it has in preparing students for higher level thinking and getting them ready to go on to college and their future jobs, it is just me personally getting over not having the answer to everything, which I never do.

    Now that I read your blog I realize that teacherspayteachers is only a sharing source, but not an open source, but I do get on there and get a lot of ideas and change them. All the free ones I can find I print off and change the requirements to meet my students, so in my mind it was an open resource, but I guess it isn’t since you can’t have free access to everything. I get the need to make money, but I think kids would get a better education if resources were available for free instead of having to dig for them for hours until you find a free one that works (if you have no interest in paying money like myself), we learn about sharing in preschool, seems as though we forgot about it 😉

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  2. You and I were thinking alike with the Richard Baraniak video. I found the same video while researching this weeks question. What a great way to share resources that teachers can use (and modify) to fit their needs. In addition to being expensive, textbooks don’t always meet the exact needs of a teacher. The idea of open source textbooks that can be modified sounds like an appealing way to cut down on costs while creating something more useful.
    Thanks for mentioning Super-teacher and Teachers-Pay-Teachers websites. I’ve heard of Teachers-Pay-Teachers but not the other. I enjoyed perusing through the resources on both sites. Cost could definitely be a factor for teachers choosing to use them frequently. As online learning grows, I have a feeling open source information will become easier and cheaper to access.

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  3. I like the analagy of the text book. It is true the college student gets screwed on the cost of books, and digital versions are a better way to go. In the elementary classroom I don’t see this as a possibility for at least another three to five years. Every student would need to have some sort of electronic device to see the book. In some districts this is a possibility, we will spend 20K to 30K on text and materials a year, when we could just add a little more and go electronic. If that were the case, then open learning would be a total possibility everywhere. Students could communicate all over the world, it would make learning a real life situation. But as long as we continue to buy books, and materials, we will continue to fall further and further behind.

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