Block 1, Activity 5: Are OER both open and innovative?
This, is a photo of the Black-Headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), spotted in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire on January 26th this year. I know this to be (very probably true) because the image was uploaded as part of a citizen science project developed by the Open University called iSpot.
The project, which stretches across the world, gives users the chance to upload and identify images of wildlife, fauna and flora. Other users help identify images too and participants gain credibility for their skills of identification. A neat Google map shows the location of the sighting, twitter feeds add to the connections made between the project and participants. You can sign in with Facebook too. The funding for the project looks substantial and sustained, meeting one of the challenges of OERs.
The collaborative power of this resource is evident straight away. I particularly liked the confidence rating feature: someone uploads an image and states what they think it is, other iSpot users then state if they agree – producing a confidence rating. Links to information on the particular upload are also available. Much like citizen journalism, I think the bottom up power of citizen science is great, combining enthusiasm with expertise, sharing it widely and building communities of interest. iSpot strikes me a great innovation in using the web to develop connections, knowledge and learning amongst participants.
Block 1 Activity 4: the long tail
It was interesting to read the Seely Brown and Adler (2008), ‘Minds on fire: open education, the long tail and learning 2.0’ to set the background for both open source software, developments in ways of working – I really like the idea of legitimate peripheral participation – and to read about the early projects aimed at learning in different ways. The long tail is such a useful concept too in thinking about what happens to all these courses/podcasts/videos and links that people put out there.
I took a look at the Hands on Universe project, whose mission is to ‘train teachers on the use of modern tools and resources for science education and engage students in international scientific projects’. The website is impressive and sets out fairly clearly the different areas of activity the project is involved with including training teachers how to engage and motivate students in astronomy, software products and access to telescopes. Interesting to see that since the project started that his helped established many HOU partners throughout the world; utilising the web to establish a distributed network but also to share the learning and software resources. A quick google scholar search revealed a few articles have been written citing the methodology used in the project to discuss ideas about how children can learn through project based work e.g Anthony J. Petrosino (2004) Integrating Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment in Project-Based Instruction: A Case Study of an Experienced Teacher
Block 1 Activity 3 – setting up your blog
Well, I love the fact you can set up a blog in about thirty seconds and I’m of age where I am unduly impressed by impressive graphics and pictures that just appear. However, I’m always a little bit stuck about what to write! There is tension between having lots of ideas all the time but thinking “is this any good?” Anxiety levels rise and I content myself with a re-tweet or two (@RDL7), such as this Berger & Wise cartoon from the Guardian. What I did discover studying a previous MAODE module (H800) is that lots of people feel the same way (about blogging, but probably about Berger & Wise too).
Kerawalla et al (2008) proposed five different types of student blogging behaviour:
“(1) Blogging avoidance, (2) Resource network building, (3) Support network building, (4) Self-sufficient blogging, (5) Anxious, self-conscious blogging just to complete the suggested course activities” (p24)
I guess I started at blogging avoidance, I am currently engaging in number five but hoping that working with student colleagues on H817 I’ll move towards support networking building.
In February 2016 I am going to study the last module towards The Open University’s Masters in Online and Distance Education. The module is called ‘H817 Openness and Innovation in elearning’. I’ll be blogging about my experience and undertaking some of the learning activities here. If you have studied the module before I’d welcome any tips!