OERs, an acronym which stands for Open Educational Resouces, allow teachers to do in tier teaching everything internet enables ! Education has never been so democratic thanks to OER, and I think it is now teachers‘ responsibility to integrate suche costless and numerous resources in their teaching practice. However, adding these resources in my teaching hasn’t been a conscious and deliberate choice, but rather a natural evolution of my pedagogical choices. Nevertheless, I couldn’t say that I am a geek teacher keen on technology, but I am willing to optimize my students’ learning experience and when technology helps, I become an enthusiastic adopter.
Here are the three rules I try to follow with OERs :
- The choice of OER is crucial. I think it’s very important to select the right source of information, if possible with scientific references. I am fond of Itunes education and of Ted talks for instance.
- To adapt OER to students‘ needs. I avoid to give them an online resource as it appears on the Internet. If I taught this way, my teaching would have no added value to my students learning path. I always try to make the most of a resource and find a way to integrate interactivity. It could be through a rated online annotation of a pdf thanks to perusall.com developped at harvard University. It could be a cropped video with reflective pauses and integrated quizes thanks to educanon.com or camtasia.com
- I consider it is essential to keep in mind John Biggs constructive alignment. Whatever the chosen teaching strategy, teachers need to pay attention to have an overview of the learning path. What are the expected learning outcomes ist he first step to analyze in order to choose the appropriate teaching strategies while assessing students’ progress during the whole process. However, we shouldn’t design a course in a rigid way, leaving some space for errors, hesitations and throwbacks during classtime is effective.
I get inspired by OERs and I hope I inspire others as well. Moreover, OERs are about sharing and I am deeply convinced that education is about sharing. A teacher shares material and teaching activities with his students while students share their learning with their teachers. It’s a continuous circle of sharing and improvement both from the teacher’s perspective and the student’s perspective. Sharing in education is the key to a better world !
Is it possible to align the head, the heart and the mind to achieve a successful professional and personal life? Is it an esoteric vision of some enlightened, somehow idealistic teachers who might also be a little crazy? Not so long ago I probably would have replied ‘yes’ to these two questions; the world is changing and so are perceptions, the business world is becoming aware of the importance of taking into account the key skills related to personality in order to prepare the students of today for tomorrow. What a joy to find the report on education entitled ‘New vision for Education’ from the last World Economic Forum in Davos (WEF). Indeed, this report highlights the need to raise emotion to the level of core competency and to integrate it to the learning curriculum so that students of today succeed in tomorrow’s world.
To the core knowledge (science, literature or citizenship), is added the ability to act effectively in the face of the complexity of the world; also added are the personal skills of adaptability and leadership, including the ability to become an entrepreneur of one self. Mastering knowledge is not enough anymore, and the academic world is becoming aware of the need to create learning experiences, which aim to develop critical thinking, creativity, or a state of collaborative spirit. To these key skills, are added other skills related to personality, curiosity, initiative and persistence. The WEF has thus defined three founding pillars of the learning experience as well as life long learning:
- The head. Foundations to act in everyday life: literature, mathematics, science, information and communication technology, finance, multiculturalism and citizenship.
- The mind. The ability to act effectively to approach the complexity of the world: problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration.
- The heart. A personality to fit in a changing world: empathy, kindness, curiosity, initiative, persistence, adaptability, leadership as well as social and cultural awareness.
According to the WEF, Social-Emotional-Learning (SEL) is critical to succeed, and the academic world has the responsibility to create learning opportunities to develop them.
I thank the economy for getting involved in the educational issue of higher education! The actors of education and global economy recognize that our world is VUCA, i.e., volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, and it is urgent to train our students to understand the world we live in while aligning the heart and the mind, something, which even the most powerful computers will never be able to achieve!