Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Battle Between Teachers Pay Teachers and OERs - The Atlantic

The Battle Between Teachers Pay Teachers and OERs - The Atlantic:

How the Internet Is Complicating the Art of Teaching

Educators design lots of lessons and other learning resources, and increasingly they’re being shared online—often free of cost and in ways that are too personalized to be universally applicable.

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Share My Lesson | Free Lesson Plans & Teacher Resources -

A time-honored nugget of the political stump speech is the anecdote about the teacher who brings breakfast for a hungry student in need, or maybe the one who purchases supplies out-of-pocket for an underfunded classroom. These are sweet stories that build on teachers’ well-deserved reputations for sharing with students, but teachers’ work also thrives on the amount of behind-the-scenes sharing they do with one another. Whether it is a homework assignment, a rubric, or a classroom game, teachers build a lot of their curricula on shared materials, authored and tested by experienced peers.
In my first year teaching, I was saved by the binders upon binders of activities, quizzes, and other tools that seasoned teachers shared with me. I tailored what I found in these treasure troves to fit my own style of teaching and the needs of my specific classes. As the years passed and my larder of teaching materials grew fat, I started sharing digital copies of my tried-and-true materials with newer teachers over Google Drive, where they could easily edit to fit their needs and developing teaching styles. Digital platforms have use beyond just ease of editing, though: They are helping teachers bring their best ideas and materials to audiences much larger than the tight-knit communities of copy rooms and teacher’s lounges. As great assignments grow in their reach, though, it is hard to keep the personalization that individual teachers bring to the table from getting lost in translation.
As educators continue sharing with wider audiences, it will be important to figure out how teacher-generated resources will be received into the world of Open Educational Resources (OERs). According to the Department of Education, all OERs must be three things: digitized, free, and editable. Many commercially produced digital textbooks and resources are licenced for use in only one classroom, school, or district at a time. Digitized historical documents are wonderful assets to the open curriculum, but are rarely editable and therefore hard to loop into a classroom-friendly curriculum. The Google Drive scenario of sharing between colleagues represents an OER ideal on a small scale, but both effectiveness and ethics are become more complicated as teachers try to replicate similar exchanges with a larger district, the wider world, and otherwise for-profit technology giants. When suddenly laboratories of ideas need to take the form of finished products, both personalization and collaboration can get subsumed by The Battle Between Teachers Pay Teachers and OERs - The Atlantic: