Our First Three Days of Focus: A Summary

By the calendar we have reached the end of our first Three Days of Focus event and we offer thanks to our conversation starters @wernerio @opencontent @vahidm @paulstacey as well as participants @Mackiwg @WayUpNorth @jamalex @JoshHalpern and many more that we can see were viewing.

There’s no reason why this has to end, so the conversations remain open. And we are looking forward to launching another Three Days of Focus activity in July. Let us know of any topics, projects, people of interest.

A Few Highlights

Vahid outlined the dynamic of how a national curriculum helps drive the curation of OER into a more manageable set of options for the teachers implementing them. He noted that in this work with Werner during the pandemic that an ability to choose from curriculum aligned OERs was a benefit for students and their families.

“At Learning Equality, we observed a growing interest by different actors in education -a need even- for students to become better able to select materials they could use to enrich their learning. For many students, living in “remote” areas, contact with the teachers became at best limited. Thus, having access to a collection of materials that were aligned to the curriculum became relevant to students and their families.”

David proposed another paradox to consider, one he coined the Localization Paradox around the potential loss of instructional design in remixed OERs. he speculated about the difference between easily remixed and localized reference type OER vs ones embedded with instructional design rich activities. Kudos to David as well for blogging his concept.

"Here we can name and state a new paradox. I will call it “the Localization Paradox.” The localization paradox states that when a person without a deep understanding of instructional design and learning science revises and remixes an open educational resource to better fit their specific context, they may unknowingly remove (or otherwise render ineffective) the instructional design features of the resource. What’s worse, the detrimental effects of their revising and remixing will be just as invisible to them as the instructional design features of the original resource were. (They will never know they’ve broken it.)

Will any increase in student learning attributable to the localization outweigh any decrease in student learning attributable to the localization?"

Paul weighed in to this paradox with a car metaphor

“What is more reusable a car or a steering wheel. A car is an assembly of smaller parts and I’d argue that cars as a whole are more reusable than the deconstructed parts. Look at the size of the used car market. Certainly it has higher “value” as a whole unit than uncoupled into parts. Learning resources are similar. A course is designed as a complete thing like a car. While it is possible to de-construct it into parts it’s integrity and value are greater when kept together.”

Josh suggests we have better technological solutions to address the paradoxes:

“In my opinion there are emerging/emerged technological solutions to both the reusability and localization paradoxes. Although it may seem amusing, copy and paste enables reuse on the most granular level, and automatic translation shatters language localization.”

Wayne asks about the culture of sharing and the idea of designing for remix

“At the risk of clouding the waters, I think there is also a cultural challenge - specifically the culture of sharing. One of our big challenges, imo is to cross the chasm from sharing to LEARN → learning to SHARE.”

Vahid responded to Wayne with observations of his work in South Africa suggested that a desire to share is not a barrier for teachers but their own questioning of the value of the OERs is a bigger obstacle

“Though it might be about the technology, my informal observation is that the formality of proposing materials for others’ consideration creates a significant mental barrier. “My materials are not good enough” is the leitmotiv. The reference is the textbooks that have big (although unknown) names on their covers, the gloss of having editors pouring over, and a pinch of impostor syndrome work against the desire to share.”

Paul noted from his BCcampus experience that faculty felt more comfortable sharing smaller resources than larger ones.

Werner and Wayne responded to each other with thoughts about how the remix of OER can work in K-12 settings as well as ideas on what it takes to be effective for teachers working together from different countries but commons goals and access to the same OERs.

Werner and Derek shared the EdTech Hub idea- “A proposal for open educational resource adoption through a curriculum alignment hub”

Wayne asked questions about the licensing of Khan academy content, for which he has an interest for work in Fiji.

This thread led to an informed response from Learning Equality co-founder (and former Khan Academy employee) Jamie Alexandre

Jim posed questions about the way Kolibiri Studio works in offline environments, sharing his project of using the Nimble platform for educational settings in remote parts of Canada’s Northwest Territory


This is an example of where the movie is better than the book. Brilliant summary! Thanks @cogdog


Kudos to all who participated in this discussion. Such a fascinating topic with many related and important sub-topics. Special thanks to @cogdog for organizing this as the first of what I hope will be many such conversations.

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A Stellar summary indeed @cogdog ! Thank you! And thanks to everyone for participating in this exchange (of ideas, not apples)!