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iiep-oer] Web 2.0 and OER small players

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  • Pamela McLean
    This is an email I recently contributed to the IIEP list -iiep-oer-opencontent@communities.unesco.org where Open Content is under discussion - including the
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 17, 2006
      This is an email I recently contributed to the IIEP list
      -iiep-oer-opencontent@... where Open Content is under
      discussion - including the mapping of OERs. The email may interest you
      if you are an OER enthusiast or if you are interested in Teachers



      Web 2.0 has been mentioned. As web 2.0 enables small players to get
      involved I will come in here to mention a small, but growing, short ICT
      training programme for teachers. Given most of the OERs to be mapped are
      from large institutions, some of the features I describe may challenge
      the dimensions of the OER mapping exercise ;-) Our interpretation of
      Distance Learning is a little unconventional too, and the various
      stages in our delivery system are unusual. There is no attempt at
      accreditation at present - there is simply a certificate of attendance.

      The course started as a F2F course, but gradually it is developing into
      distance education with freely available resources that people can adapt
      to their own needs. Its design and direction is being driven by demand
      and local realities. The initial demand came when teachers in rural
      areas (with no electricity or computers in their schools) were required
      to start teaching ICT. I was asked to provide the teachers with some
      training - part of the training was what I subsequently called "NC3" -
      the No- Computer Computer Course.

      The first time I delivered the course I had three posters as visual
      aids. They were attractive full colour A1 laminated posters.When we did
      practical work during the course (with the participants planning lessons
      and team-teaching real classes of children) some of the teams asked to
      borrow the posters. But the posters cost around £11 each - far too
      expensive for the participants to consider buying any to use in their
      own schools after the course. I decided that next time I presented the
      course I must do it without the posters. I decided it would only be
      fair if I used visual aids that were A4 in size and monochrome - because
      then if the teachers wanted to use them back in their classrooms they
      could photocopy them.

      I started to experiment with the idea of presenting the course as a
      series of self explanatory A4 "posters" and fact sheets. I didn't have
      the time or money to prepare all of the NC3 course in that way - but I
      wanted to do enough for "proof of concept" (I was limited because I had
      to pay someone to draw the posters for me, and the project is not part
      of my "day job". It is a "self-funded hobby" - or "obsession" -
      depending on your view point. Personally I blame the UK Open University
      for getting me into this ;-). The OU started my interest in computers
      and distance learning many years ago when I studied for an OU degree. It
      also gave me the confidence to become a self-directed student. In all of
      this I see myself simply as a compulsive student of ICT4Ed doing
      independent practical research - able to do so because even outsiders
      can study now, as long as we're not looking for accreditation.)

      I was satisfied with my experiment with the A4 resources. The cost was
      reasonable 4 Naira if you used the smudgy photocopier, 5 Naira if you
      chose the better quality one. The exchange rate was around 240 Naira to
      one UK pound. The whole thing was far more realistic than using glossy
      posters. I also had a couple of opportunities to see if the resources
      were robust enough to be used by novices to teach others - and I was
      greatly encouraged by what I saw. The participants I observed were more
      accurate and confident when they passed on knowledge using the A4
      resources than when we had used the others posters. In fact I reckoned
      that if I continued with the same approach for all of the NC3 course,
      and created an effective delivery system for the materials (via the
      Internet to other ICT trainers) then I could make myself redundant as a
      F2F trainer. So that is the next challenge - to deliver TT materials
      from home in the UK to other trainers.in Africa so they can run the NC3
      courses for teachers.

      This email is already rather long - so I won.t go into detail about how
      far I have got regarding the training the trainers distance learning
      course. The main points are as follows. Someone has provided me with
      Moodle so I am gradually putting the resources there. Again it is only
      proof of concept at this stage, because of being a self-funded
      experiment. I know a few other ICT trainers in rural Africa who have
      asked me to make the materials available for them. I have been asked to
      run some more NC3 courses and have decided that the next ones I do will
      be for trainers not for teachers. I will use those courses to work out
      the details of what the trainers really need. I feel the content will
      need another layer of explanation to help them maximise its use with the

      Also I need to check out details of the practicalities of the delivery
      system. Printouts of the materials are 30 Naira a sheet, plus the cost
      of being at the cyber cafe. I have to make the whole thing as quick and
      easy and supportive as possible for the trainers. I want at least some
      of them to "stay with me" after they have learnt how to deliver the
      present version of the course so we can continue to develop it
      together. There are issues of local language too - several anecdotes
      relating to relevant previous experiences with NC3 spring to mind - but
      no space to share them here.

      When the training system is well in place I want to share other freely
      available course materials with key trainers and teachers via cyber
      cafes, in an ongoing programme of professional development.

      Sorry its a long post but I wanted you to get the full picture. Please
      consider how people like us might fit in when you plan your mapping

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