This blog was created to keep our expanding audience informed about what is going on in the world of Open Textbooks and related topics. Please read and enjoy the posts. You are encouraged to add any comments that add to the discussion.
ISKME’s 3rd annual Big Ideas Fest (www.bigideasfest.org) was held in early December in Half Moon Bay, CA, and as promised, creative doers and thinkers from diverse levels of education gathered to learn from and share with each other. This convening yielded creative, inspirational, and often revolutionary ideas about current educational challenges, while providing the opportunity to interact and engage with a mix of teachers, researchers, administrators, entrepreneurs, education leaders. Central to Big Ideas Fest is the “action” component, called Action Collabs–design-oriented labs where participants brainstormed, prototyped, and ultimately create scalable solutions to major education challenges, such as achieving universal literacy and math competency, and leveraging open education to transform teaching and learning.
In a major shift from traditional educational conferences, the event is designed to bring together kindred spirits on a level playing field, where a person’s work or role becomes less important than how they share and collaborate within their group. In this way, the mix of students, teachers, administrators, researchers, inventors, and executives operate as peers in solving a common problem. These common problems are referred to as “design challenges” at the Big Ideas Fest.
One of the design challenges that was taken on by the Action Collabs was to create solutions around leveraging open content, data, and research to transform teaching and learning. During the Action Collabs, teachers, administrators, and students worked alongside noted leaders and policy makers in the field of open education. The Action Collab process facilitates moving from brainstorming ideas to creating tangible manifestations of those ideas (using pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks and other craft items), in a rapid low-investment way, and results in a visual representation of a solution that helps to see the idea in the real world.
Many of the Big Ideas Fest’s rapid-fire speakers were full participants in the Action Collabs as well. Speakers on open education included Brewster Kahle, Founder of the Internet Archive; Martha Kanter, the U.S. Under Secretary of Education; Neeru Kholsa, Co-Founder of CK-12 Foundation and pioneer in the OER movement; and Barbara Chow, Education Program Director at Hewlett and champion of open education resources. Additional speakers included Jody Lewen, the Executive Director of the Prison University Project; Kaycee Eckhardt, an award-winning charter school teacher whose science and math academy is housed in a FEMA trailer in the 9th ward of New Orleans; and Adora Svitak, the 13-year old recipient of NEA Foundation’s Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education.
THE ACTION COLLAB
The Action Collab groups that were focused on “open” provided innovative and inspired prototype solutions to the question “How might we leverage open (content, research, data) to transform teaching and learning?” One solution, “Pandora for Learning”, was designed to connect students to content that students are passionate about and that they have curated. A second solution to the open education design challenge focused on creating a virtual learning experience that is learner- and teacher-curated, linking the end user to open content about the arts.
ISKME is committed to support the further development of these and other design solutions on the soon-to-launch online Action Collab Network.
The Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (www.iskme.org) is hosting its annual Big Ideas Fest in December 2011 in Half Moon Bay, CA. This three-day gathering of the nation’s most creative makers and doers in education brings together champions across K-12, higher education, and informal learning, to participate in a truly unique interactive experience.
This is the one place each year where education change agents find each other at what one participant describes as “like TED on Steroids!” You’llhear from inspiring speakers.
Take part in Action Collabs.designed to incubate solutions to address education’s most pressing challenges. If you are looking for an opportunity to be recharged with new perspectives and learn how to use collaborative tools to prototype innovative ideas, add yourself to the list of those who have the desire and passion necessary to break down silos and call for real change in education.
Register today and use the invitation code = bif3022
The Community College Open Textbook Project (CCOTP) was developed to support the use of textbooks that are freely available and accessible online, and that can be adapted by faculty and students to meet their unique needs and contexts. As the research partner for CCOTP, the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) conducted research on the adoption and use patterns of participating faculty and students as end users of open textbooks, and the ways that that open textbook use potentially supports teaching and learning. Specific research questions addressed by the study include:
In answering these questions, ISKME conducted interviews with faculty users of open textbooks, interviews and focus groups with their students who were also end users of the open textbooks, and interviews with bookstore managers and administrators at community colleges that have adopted open textbooks. Key findings from the research include the following:
Cost and ease-of-use are important drivers of open textbook adoption. Cost savings for students were reported by both faculty and students as the most important factor influencing their decision to adopt open textbooks, followed by ease-of-use. Faculty also cited perceived dependable quality and recommendations from colleagues as a factors influencing adoption, while students cited the interactivity of open textbooks as an additional factor.
Use of open textbooks enhances students’ interaction with peers and with course materials. Embedded links, supplemental video, and interactive tools reportedly increased students’ engagement with course content. Open textbook use supported new study habits on behalf of students, including collaborating with peers to learn content and interact with course materials, using the internet alongside an online textbook to further explore course concepts, and utilizing interactive learning tools to enhance their learning and understanding of course material.
Use of open textbooks supports the development of new teaching practices and conversations. Faculty reported that the interactive, collaborative nature of open textbooks allowed them to support peer-to-peer learning practices for their students by encouraging online and in person collaboration around the textbook and supplementary materials. Faculty further reported that collaboration with their peers around open textbook use led them to adopt collaborative curriculum development practices with their colleagues.
Training on open textbook use and enhancement of features potentially enable scale and spread. Faculty reported that training on open textbook use would support future use of open textbooks, particularly training around facilitating student use, in-classroom implementation, and how to integrate open textbooks with existing and new course materials. Lack of time and knowledge of how to integrate open textbook material was cited by faculty as a barrier to open textbook use. Both faculty and students also would be interested in enhancements to the textbooks that were able to increase student-instructor online interaction around the textbook. Additionally, college administrators and bookstore managers reported that increasing buy-in among students, faculty, and administrators around the benefits of open textbook use is central to scaling up the adoption of open textbooks.
Taken as a whole, our research showed that while cost and ease-of-use may be drivers of open textbook use, there is potential for the use of open textbooks to be aligned with new teaching and learning behaviors, which would tap into benefits that might ensure the sustainability of open textbook use. To read more about ISKME’s CCOTP study, you may access the article, “Open textbook adoption and use: implications for teachers and learners” published in Open Learning here:
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