Open educational resources are a hot topic in education. But most (if not all) of the research is examining how open resources impact post-secondary education and further research. Yes, open access is a great idea. Providing universal definitions or information on basic levels of understanding, but how does this impact the K-12 world.
Working in a blended learning model high school, online resources are key to making our program work. We are given a basic online course from WCLN and then have the freedom to make changes. However, with the most recent updates, WCLN has changed some of the information pieces so that they can control the content. However, this means that as teachers we have less autonomy of what students can and cannot see, and therefore how much we can change within the course. Although this is an open resource, it limits what we as teachers can control in the course.
Personally, I like to have full control of the content covered in my class. My first thought is to create a resource, rather than spend the time to find a ready-made resource to use in the class. I also think that previously developed resources inhibit the individualization of education. When I develop a resource, I know it is specific to my course, my lesson and the students that I am teaching.
But there are barriers to this method as well. For one, developing resources takes a lot of time. Maybe I’m the only teacher that has been in this position, but you can’t develop a quality resource the night before. Second, it isn’t always easy to think of new and creative approaches to content.
So, what does this mean for K-12 educators. The use and effectiveness of open educational resources changes drastically between different grade levels. Furthered by the fact that the current research focuses on post-secondary. Hopefully, future research will look into open educational resources for the K-12 world.