I am a fairly seasoned educator; I have completed graduate courses in technology and am considered a go-to person for technology integration in our school. Yet the pace at which new technologies emerge means that there are many areas where I am definitely still a beginner. Open Educational Resources (OER) has been one of those areas. Until recently I would hear terms in conversations such as Open Universities, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), Open Education, Open Resources, licencing, etc. and be able to follow what was being talked about but was very fuzzy in my actual understanding of what it all meant. Not long before that, my thoughts were that OER was something awesome that was happening in higher education but didn’t really know that it would become relevant in K-12 education. It is relevant. OER are here, they are the future and they matter.
Why Are Teachers Hesitant about OER?
I think that when teachers first start to think about OER, they are often intrigued but overwhelmed. Teachers are working so hard to be able to balance the many demands of the classroom. With a range of learners in the classroom, teachers already spend so much time creating resources and personalizing them to meet each learner where they are at and customize the delivery of their content to create individual learning experiences that are content rich yet engaging.
As a high school teacher and administrator, I have witnessed both the positive and negative effects of social media in the classroom for teenagers. It is easy to implicate social media as a distractor for students in the classroom, as well you would not have to wander very far to bump into a teacher who has some story about how social media has been used for cyberbullying. As a result of these concerns, educational policy makers have introduced a variety of Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs) over the years to monitor and control students’ use and access to technology based on competing policy frames (Ahn, Bivona, & DiScala, 2011). Should school policies be framed in safety (to monitor and block student access to new technologies) or should policies be framed in media literacy (to integrate and teach students how to utilize new technologies within the classroom)? Our experiences as parents and educators during the rise of social media has fueled the debate regarding the merits of social networking in schools. What is the suitability of social media use in K-12 schools? To help address this question, I have turned to a recent review of research-based literature conducted by Greenhow and Askari (2017), to further help inform us on these current issues in education regarding the use of social network media (SNS).