Sustainable Education

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“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.” - C.S. Lewis

Open educational resources are a ‘renewable resource’.

Their widespread use will make education more sustainable, both socially and environmentally. Their modular nature, and digital and editable format, makes OERs both scalable and dynamic, making them an ideal tool to address the challenges facing education in the 21st century.

Over time, OERs will introduce game-changing efficiencies into national education systems, offsetting the burgeoning cost of education and helping to increase learner access. For example, OER content is being developed for use in rural areas in developing countries where traditional education methods cannot meet demand and where many learners lack the opportunity to attend school.

The OER philosophy of openness encourages academic collaboration between educators and institutions to identify and meet resource needs – filling gaps and customising content to make it locally relevant. As OERs become more widespread, educators will be able to devote more energy to student interaction, nurturing students’ development. This is what education is all about.

With the above in mind, browse the webpages of the Open Education Resource Foundation to see how OER effort is being channelled:

(Note the banner image, it might look familiar - the OER Foundation head office is hosted by Otago Polytechnic.)

Exercise: What does the ‘sustainability’ concept mean in the context of open educational resources? In what ways might the open education philosophy relate to Otago Polytechnic’s commitment to address social and environmental goals in its sustainable educational practices policy?