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Hewlett Foundation Grantees Examine Value and Impact of Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Education Resources Becoming Part of the Education Mainstream

PRLog - May 7, 2014 - HALF MOON BAY, Calif. -- This year’s meeting of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Open Educational Resource (OER) grantees marked the maturation of a decade long movement in open educational resources.

Hosted by ISKME, an education nonprofit and pioneer in OER, the three-day gathering held April 22-24 in Sausalito, CA engaged 120 grantees and guests invited by the Hewlett Foundation with talks as well as design labs for building use cases based on OER’s value proposition and evidence of its impact.

In addition to hands-on design labs, ISKME invited “rapid fire” speakers, who told their stories about use cases that went viral, including Nicolas Weidinger and Sean Wheeler, founders of The WikiSeat Project; Nicole Allen, director of open educational resources for SPARC; and Mark Horner, CEO of Siyavula Education. Keynote speakers were Elizabeth Marincola, CEO of the Public Library of Science (PLOS) and Ushahidi’s Nat Manning.

Barbara Chow, Education Program Director at the Hewlett Foundation, stated, “Our goal at the Hewlett Foundation is to move OER into the mainstream. We are on the tip of making that possible. Over the next decade or so, OER is going to become the default.”

Education Program Officer Kathy Nicholson added that “OER is not a product. It’s a way of thinking, a way of sharing, a way of working, of being open that this community espouses and that’s we want to share with the rest of the world.”

ISKME, the host for this event, created the premier open teaching and learning network, OER Commons, in 2007 and is also known for its Big Ideas Fest, an annual convening of innovators in education held in Half Moon Bay each December.

Summarizing the event’s goal, ISKME President Lisa Petrides remarked, “We know in general terms the positive impact of OER on increasing access to high-quality education resources globally through the educator communities of practice that we work with. Now is the time to develop ways to better assess its value and impact so that we can further improve and scale these practices with teachers and learners everywhere.”

For more information, see www.iskme.org and http://www.oercommons.org

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Sylvia Paull
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