Open Educational Resources in Teacher Education
The Project entitled “Open Education Resources (OERs) in Teacher Education” has combined innovative educational models and Web 2.0 enabled technology to generate OERs for pre-service teacher education. OERs are based on the four Rs of Reuse, Remix, Revise and Redistribute.The project was acknowledged as an innovative practice in Teacher Education by NCERT, New Delhi, June 2012
About the Project: This project involved forty student-teachers studying in Pushpanjali College of Education, Vasai, Maharashtra. The participants were trained in the use of two online learning environments viz wikieducator.org and proboards.com . OERs were uploaded on these environments and student teachers learned some topics from the subject Psychology of the learner using these OERs. Learning occurred in asynchronous mode as per time available to the participants. The OERs were based on principles of andragogy and constructivism. Since the platform used was open to global users, the OERs were modified by these users. The OERs were mainly in form of Situation Based Learning designs (SBLD) and these included case studies, quizzes, text material, hyperlinks, reflective exercises and presentations. Participants also indulged in online discussion through a discussion forum viz proboards.com. The discussions were monitored by the project team. At the end of the project, participants created their own OERs in form of lesson plans and presentations which were uploaded for public use. Thus from gaining knowledge and understanding, they were led to the highest objective of Bloom’s taxonomy of creating.
Findings of the study: Use of OERs in teacher education has helped to overcome constraints of time in face to face mode of teacher education. Constructivist approach has been adopted to generate OERs that will enable self paced learning. Interaction with co-learners and global users of the OERs has helped the participants enhance their own critical thinking. Use of OERs has promoted interaction in learner communities. Participants have created and shared their own resources. Promoting digital competencies helps participants to adjust to the knowledge society. Networking has improved the quality of educational resources. OERs help inclusion by making learning resources available to all at economic costs. Flexibility in learning resources helps the learner to choose according to his learning style. Participants found the exercise interesting and tailored to their needs. Other than the 40 student teachers, many others have utilized these OERs. Their responses too have been very encouraging. The findings of this study are in consistence with other research findings that promote use of OERs for lifelong learning, enhanced critical thinking and leveraging of students’ capacities.
Conclusions: The traditional educational models where learning was seen as “knowledge transfer” and “internalization” of pre-existing knowledge are now increasingly being replaced by active, social, and problem-oriented models. OERs support such active learning. Issues as explosion of knowledge, limited time at hand and learner diversity can be effectively addressed through the use of Open Education Resources that involve blended learning.
Sustainability of the Project: The project “Open Education Resources in teacher education” will continue using and generating OERs. The college intends spreading awareness of the need and potential of OERs. Inclusion of OERS in regional languages with focus on special learner groups as those with special learning needs will be given priority. Thus OERs are like catalysts which can transform the educational scenario and leverage India into a leader in the knowledge economy.