2012 Open Educational Resources (OER) in the context of teacher and education training

 Anna Gruszczynska, Richard Pountney and Nicky Watts

This presentation will draw on early findings of a project “Digital Futures in Teacher Education” currently being undertaken in the Faculty of Development and Society as part of the third phase of the JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) UK Open Educational Resources (OER) programme, where OERs are teaching resources freely available online to learners for re-use/repurposing. The presentation will discuss some issues that are emerging as we attempt to embed OER practice within the context of digital literacy in teacher training and programmes such as PGCE and PGCertHE.

The project considers digital literacy to be a blend of ICT, media and information skills and knowledge situated within academic practice contexts while influenced by a wide range of techno-social practices involving communication, collaboration and participation in networks. Overall, the authors of the paper align themselves closely with frameworks which  move from the singular ‘literacy’ to the plural ‘literacies’ which emphasise the sheer diversity of existing accounts of digital literacy (Lankshear and Knobel, 2010). In that context, our engagement with the narratives which have arisen in the context of the project focuses on “the constantly changing practices through which people make traceable meanings using digital technologies” (Gillen and Barton, 2011). 

There is a pressing need for educators to engage with digital literacy issues. Increasingly, the skills and experience that learners (and their teachers) have or need is changing and the baseline is being raised. At the same time, professional development in new pedagogies facilitated by digital technology is still patchy and, in terms of the potential of new social media for learning, relatively unaddressed. Therefore, the presentation will focus on the ways in which OERs can address the opportunities and challenges of creative uses of digital literacy in the context of teacher education training .

The presentation will outline key issues which emerged in the context of our work with PGCE students at participating universities (SHU and University of Sheffield), who shared their understandings of digital literacy through participation in focus groups. The presentation will also discuss our collaboration with the “Digital Literacy and Creativity” project (currently undertaken at University of Bedfordshire) whose aim is to produce an online module ‘Digital Literacy and Creativity’ for accredited PGCertHe programmes, which focuses on the ways digital literacy can be deployed creatively to support teaching, learning and administration.

Importantly, these questions are being addressed through a reflexive approach towards project methodology whose guiding principle is that through reflection, teaching practice can be critically reviewed and better understood in order to articulate a framework for digital literacies which best maps onto the experiences of project participants. Overall, the emphasis on reflexive tasks builds on the body of research which posits teacher inquiry as integral to teacher knowledge about teaching (Cochran-Smith and Lytle 1993). 

Cochran-Smith, M. and Lytle, S. (1993) Inside/outside: Teachers, research, and knowledge. New York: Teachers College Press.

Gillen, J. & Barton, D. (2010). Digital literacies.  A research briefing by the technology enhanced learning phase of the teaching and learning research programme. London: London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, University of London.

Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. (2010) New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning (3rd Edition). Maidenhead: Open University Press.

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D7 – (EN11, EN22, EN28, EN56) 15.30