Sunday, September 16, 2007

OpenEdu Week3: “Open Educational Practices and Resources”

Albert Einstein said,“If I give you a penny, you will be one penny richer and I’ll be one penny poorer. But if I give you an idea, you will have a new idea, but I shall still have it, too.” This is the first sentence coming to my mind from the article. Open education resource is like an idea, even you give to someone, and you will still have it. You won’t lose anything if you provide educational resource; you can always gain something from giving.

Making achievement on open education internationally should take many years to realize. Let’s compare the education in China with the education in the United States! During the past ten years in China, information-based educational technology made a big progress. The educational technologists are high on putting variety of modern facilities including hardware and software into the classrooms. Substitute handwriting paper with word processing software; use powerpoint to demonstrate instead of the chalk and blackboard; provide class content with digital materials. Schools are armed with informational facilities; but the teaching outcome has not been significantly improved. Teaching and learning are not yet essentially changed, it is just like a simple upgrade of the hardware. That is why you still see the teachers using chalks and blackboard most of the time, lots of ink printed handouts which will dirty your hands. If we call the blackboard and chalk age the Education 1.0, the schools full of modern multimedia facilities might be called Education 1.5, Education 2.0 becomes popular all over the world from 2006. Education 2.0 is divided into School 2.0, Classroom 2.0, E-learning 2.0 and so on by parlance in different research fields.

I do not want to preach down the educational system in China, but it is the reality we need to accept. While in the United States, educational technology grow much faster than in China; though it still can’t catch up with the fast growth of the technology, economics, and society. The U.S. plays the leader role in educational technology, especially on e-learning. When I visited an elementary school in a very small town in the U.S., I saw all the classrooms have multimedia facilities. The students can use computers conveniently, and the internet is spread out all over. This seems impracticable to have some multimedia facilities, computers, or internet for all the schools in China at least in the next five years. Open education is widely put in practice in the U.S., but it just started in China, and we do feel it is hard to move on. Do you notice the latest news about the Chinese students? Twenty percent of the college students can’t start their classes even they are admitted by the colleges because they don’t have enough money to afford the high expenses in college. We have to think about the problem----we even can’t assure that everyone in China can get higher education if the students are admitted, how we can promise to provide everyone a higher level of educational technology, such as computers and internet. That is why I want to come to the U.S. for the advanced educational technology, hopefully, I can bring it back to China and put into our Chinese education system.

We all know that new technology can’t firstly influence education, but changes people’s behavior and thinking manner, and also boost the changing of the society. In the internet age, the world is changing to be flat. With the widely used of OER in the near future, we don’t need to study in the closed classroom but a real world environment epitome; learning will not only consume knowledge or course content, more of practice, intercommunion, and creation; education will not just indoctrinate, but to help the students achieve the ability to adapt to the future life. I want to be an educational technologist to help Chinese education in the future.

Dr. Wiley’s class I am taking now is a typical e-learning class, not 100% percent open education because of restrict of class registration. Each week, we have amount of reading and write our thoughts after reading. We post all our assignments on personal blogs, and we can also make comments or changes on wiki. There is no pushing for this class, but you also have motivation to read and write. Because the articles are interesting to read and some ideas will just come out after. In this learning environment, I will totally get rid of the idea of “spoon-feed” education. Students are from all over the world, we can share their ideas cross-culturally. We learn more on dealing with the blog, wiki, podcast, Youtube which are the things we like to do in our daily life also. I think it is neat.

In the first week, we talked about the obstacle of how to choose the high quality OER. We find more obstacle this week that how to assort OER. Although the educational technologists or experts can solve the problems, how to find the right education content from those categories will be also a problem for teachers and students. Those are all questions in open educational practices.


David said...

You said, "In this learning environment, I will totally get rid of the idea of “spoon-feed” education. Students are from all over the world, we can share their ideas cross-culturally. We learn more on dealing with the blog, wiki, podcast, Youtube which are the things we like to do in our daily life also. I think it is neat." Do you think this same approach can work with other kinds of courses, like math or physics? Why or why not?

jessie said...

I do hear from some American students that when they solving statistic problems, just find the key words and put the numbers into the formula. Is it a "spoon-feed" education. I think it is not only in China, also might be globally. But I think it is hard to teach people math or physics with blog, wiki, podcast, because those disciplines needs more logical thinking other than memorizing.