The OER concept is not new, but is based on the
principle that educators should select, from the full range of educational
provision, those resources and methods that are most appropriate to the context
in which they are providing education. The learning materials produced in the
Skillman project, this means that teachers can benefit by considering some
A didactic framework for VET teachers and educational planners
The central questions a VET teacher or educational
planner must consider, to meet the required learning goals and competences
described in the curricula, are outlined here. These can be viewed as six
perspectives, described by two Norwegian educational VET researchers, Hiim and
Hippe (2003 and 2007).
Six didactic perspectives for teacher's didactic considerations
prerequisites. Concerns learner’s and teacher's prior knowledge and
and assessment. Concerns
both formative and summative methods, and requirements that can be referred to
learning goals, competences and skills and likewise described in the curricula
and other official documents.
for learning processes, methods and activities. Concerns
teaching methods, videos apps, task-based work etc., considering the relation
and flow in the design of the learning process for the participants.
Content. Selection of content in order of presentation.
the teacher's considerations of
progression and the development of learning goals that VET students must reach.
Naturally these goals should also be linked to the overall curriculum and
official documents that describe the competences, skills and attitudes that the
student must acquire.
the learning environment. These could be factors such as number of students,
time to reach the learning goals etc.
The main point made by the two researchers is that all
six perspectives are interrelated. This means that teachers and educational
planners should be able to distinguish between the six elements, bearing in
mind that change in one aspect affects the other five aspects.
In the following, we will present some models that can
help VET teachers and educational planners transform the curricula developed in
Skillman into learning activities linking with and using elements from
Skillman’s OER Platform.
Teacher’s choice of media, power
When the teacher has considered and described the
goals, content, learners and the requirements and activities necessary to
achieve the learning goals in the Skillman curricula, it might be useful to
specify the media needed to implement the activities and tests.
Each learning object may require a different mix of
media. Each medium should be more or less easy to use, and the requirements
concerning the teacher’s ability to use it, storage space, tools, network speed
and so on varies, as does the difficulty of the media. Likewise it will be
found that the power of the media – that is, the ability to communicate facts,
explain concepts and trigger emotions – can differ.
Though all media are possible, the following figure
may be useful in considering which media are most appropriate for particular
applications that can be used in OER: a brief overview
This short overview provides a quick guide to some of
the technology applications which are available to support education and
development initiatives and that are helping to stimulate the creation and use
of openly licensed, or at least openly available, educational resources.
network sites. These are web-based services that allow people to
construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, define a
list of other users with whom they share a connection, and view their list of
connections and those made by others within the system. The best known of such
sites are probably Facebook and MySpace, although many such sites exist. Some
also focus on specific dimensions of social networking. For example, social
bookmarking sites such as Del.icio.us allow people to save bookmarks to
websites and tag them with keywords, generating community-driven, keyword-based
classifications known as ‘folksonomies’. Likewise, photo-sharing websites such
as Flickr allow people to upload, tag, browse and annotate digital photographs,
as well as participate in self-organizing topical groups. While social
networking sites have massive potential for influencing the ways in which we
organize and find information and how we interact with people, it is important
to note that the for-profit sector is selling itself as the provider of choice
for these Web 2.0 collaboration capabilities, predominantly in an effort to
create new platforms to fund consumers and sell advertising.
Blogging is remarkable for the speed at which it has grown as an online
communication vehicle. ‘Blog’ is an abbreviated version of ‘weblog’, a term
used to describe websites that maintain an on-going chronicle of information. A
blog is a frequently updated, personal website featuring diary-type commentary
and links to articles or other websites (and, in the case of video-blogging,
video). Given the personal perspectives presented on blogs, they often generate
ongoing discourse and a strong sense of community. Blogs provide diverse, alternative
sources of information for higher education, as well as supplying tools that
can be used by academics and students for a wide range of educational purpose
- Wikis. A
wiki enables documents to be written collaboratively in a simple mark-up
language using a web browser. A defining characteristic of wiki technology is
the ease with which pages can be created and updated. This ease of interaction
and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for mass collaborative authoring.
The most famous example is Wikipedia, an online phenomenon that has played a
massive role in challenging notions of what constitute ‘expertise’ and
reliability of information. Wikis are already extensively used in many higher
education programmes for educational purposes and are one of the authoring
tools being used to generate ‘open’ content (see below).
Real Simple Syndication (RSS) is a protocol that allows users to subscribe to
online content by creating lists of preferred sources of information in a
‘reader’ or ‘aggregator’ that automatically retrieves content updates, saving
the user’s time and effort. RSS feeds can be very helpful in managing
information and undertaking ongoing research.
This refers to any combination of hardware, software and connectivity that
permits automatic download of (usually free) audio and video files to a
computer, smart phone or MP3/MP4 player to be listened to or watched at the
user’s convenience. This is typically done by subscribing to an RSS feed linked
to the specific podcast, so that when new editions of a podcast are made
available, they are automatically downloaded by podcasting software. Podcasting
has made available a very broad spectrum of educationally useful audio and
video material, including radio programmes from around the world, lectures,
conference speeches and custom-produced podcasts created by enthusiasts.
Growing numbers of universities and academics are making lectures available as
podcast series, which are usually freely available to anyone around the world with
worlds. These are immersive online environments whose
‘residents’ are avatars representing individuals who participate via the
Internet. Some, such as the very popular World of Warcraft, are explicitly
focused on gaming and entertainment. However, possibly the best known of these
from an educational perspective is Second Life, a fully three-dimensional world
where users with many varying interests interact, but within which many
universities and businesses are now constructing virtual campuses for their
Internet Protocol (VOIP). VOIP is a protocol optimized for the transmission of
voice through the Internet or other packet-switched networks. VOIP is often
used abstractly to refer to the actual transmission of voice, rather than the
protocol implementing it. VOIP facilitates applications such as Skype, which
allow users to make free telephone calls between computers.
messaging (IM). IM is a form of online communication that allows
real-time interaction through computers or mobile devices. It is often bundled
into applications such as Skype and social networking sites, so that it can be
used seamlessly while within those applications. It has become such an integral
part of students’ lives that many universities are working to move IM beyond
the social sphere into teaching and learning.
applications. These are web-based programmes that run in web
browsers and typically replicate the functionality currently available on
desktop-based applications. A good example is Google Apps, which provides
access to office productivity, communication and file storage tools. Another,
more specialized example is Lulu, which offers online access to the tools one
needs to design, publish and print original material, facilitating inexpensive
production of publications. The online nature of such tools is also intended to
facilitate collaboration, peer review and the collective generation of
Wielding the application
By drawing on the potential of the above
technologies, several new possibilities are emerging that can be useful for
teachers using OER.
Mashups are web applications that combine data from
more than one source into a single integrated tool. The power of mashups for
education lies in the way they help us reach new conclusions or discern new
relationships by uniting large amounts of data in a manageable way. Web-based
tools for manipulating data are easy to use, usually free, and widely
available. Mashups include:
- Digital storytelling, which involves combining
narrative with digital content to create a short movie or presentation.
- Data visualization, which is the graphical
representation of information to find hidden trends and correlations that can
lead to important discoveries.
- Open journaling, which manages the process of
publishing peer-reviewed journals online, allowing authors to track submissions
through the review process, and creating a sense of openness and transparency
unusual in traditional, peer-reviewed publications.
- Google jockeying, which involves a participant in a
class surfing the Internet during the class for terms, ideas, websites or
resources mentioned by the presenter. These searches are then displayed
simultaneously with the presentation.
Virtual meetings, which are real-time meetings taking
place over the Internet using integrated audio and video, chat tools and
- Grid computing, which uses middleware to coordinate
disparate IT resources across a network, allowing them to function as a virtual
whole and providing remote access to IT assets and aggregating processing