A lot has changed since the emergence of Web 2.0 tools and approaches in the mid-2000s. The tide of digital information has led to sweeping changes to learning and teaching but… what are they? More importantly, how do you use these tools to effect change in this new culture of learning? Whether you’re reading this because you are being pressured into learning more about open educational resources (OER) at your school, or have a genuine interest in open pedagogy, there are many benefits to be reaped from participating in today’s online learning community.

In this post, you will learn how open educational resources can help you and your class collaborate and share information, collectively grow knowledge and resources, and communicate about learning and teaching. Are you ready to take your first step towards open pedagogy and changing the direction of education? Let’s get started!

1) A Culture of Learning

Thanks to platforms such as Wikipedia and YouTube, a new culture of learning is emerging where play, questioning, and imagination are pivotal to the continued quest for knowledge. Engaging in participatory culture is a creative endeavor, whereby more experienced contributors can mentor less experienced peers in a supportive and socially connected community.

This leads to peer-to-peer learning, a changed attitude toward intellectual property, the diversification of cultural expression, and the development of skills valued in the modern workplace.

2) Increased Openness and Trust

Learner dialogue is central to beginning the process of inquiry, leading to re-purposing and sharing of resources for the sole intention of obtaining feedback from supportive peers within a personal learning network. By building confidence and independence, a healthy culture of learning motivates people to find their inner creative-self and become trendsetters.

3) Innovation & Creativity

Mobile learning can be used to support socially connected learning communities, with teachers using it to design more creative teaching strategies that encouraged and supported learner-driven innovation and ways of working together. By developing innovative models of learning that personalize experiences and incorporating new opportunities for using open accessible content, teachers can develop increased opportunities for obtainment of qualifications needed in the workplace through assessment of existing competency and knowledge presented in portfolios.

4) Sharing Ideas & Resources

Through sharing knowledge and ideas, and actively asking for assistance within a socially networked community of peers, educators are exposed to effective practices in open environments. The effect that occurs through sharing resources acts as a conduit for expanding the personal knowledge and skills of teachers. This open process can enhance not only the quality and diversity of learning and teaching materials through OER, but also teaching methods and the design of learning environments.

5) Student Engagement

By engaging your students with OER, teachers empower students to take the lead, solve problems, and work collectively to produce artifacts that they share, discuss, reconfigure, and redeploy. When students are encouraged to become fully involved in the learning process, creative work is produced. Multiple 2.0 Web tools help users build relationships between people and objects, as they work on a shared interest through interactions in the close proximity of a digital social space.

6) Reflective Practice

Teaching practice is changing from the broadcast model to one of curation in our digital information-rich world, where learners with access to the Web can access a myriad of resources. Co-constructing professional knowledge through facilitated and shared reflective practice, leading to innovation and change in the curriculum design.

Through accessing and uploading OER within media-sharing communities, teachers engaged in dialogue with others and reflected on both the suitability and the quality of not only the resources they found, but also those they produced. The likelihood of public scrutiny was a springboard for reflective practice.

7) Peer Review

Technologies representative of the social participatory Web lead to more open practices that inspire learner-generated content, peer critique, and collective aggregation, where the material collated or created by individuals can be augmented by the wider community through peer feedback, tagging, sharing, and modification.

What about you? Have you had any experience with EOR and open pedagogy? If so, have you experienced any of the listed benefits? Did you notice anything that wasn’t listed here? Leave your comments below!