The Impact of Open
Earlier this month, I attended OpenEd 2015, a conference that focuses on the impact of 'Open' in education– including Open Educational Resources, Open Research, and Open Pedagogy. I have attended this conference the last 4 years and always leave impressed and inspired by the work going on in open education. At the heart of 'open', is the internet. The internet gave the average educator the ability to digitally replicate, share and edit content, allowing 'open' to have a presence in education.
Hugh McGuire (founder of PressBooks and LibriVox.org), spoke about the basic purpose of the internet. When we visit the internet, there is one simple question: Do we need something or do we have something? He shared the example of Hay Net, the USDA Farm Service Agency website, as it looked in the 90's. It had only two options: Need Hay and Have Hay. If you were a visiting farmer, you either had hay to sell or wanted hay to purchase. There was no need to complicate the transaction. The site has changed over the years, but its original version is a strong metaphor for how we digitally interact as educators.
Are we looking for content? Or are we looking to share content? For either option, 'open' plays a huge part in the ability we have to use or share resources. In 2009, the Utah Legislature passed an administrative rule that allows teacher-created materials to be licensed as OER. This means if a teacher creates content, it is not owned by their school or district; the teacher has the ability to license it as OER and share their content.
If you are in need of content? Try visiting OER Commons and view what other educators have shared. And if you have content? Take the time to license and post your content on OER Commons. Education has always been a conversation; we give and take. Consider the impact that open can have on your classroom.