OERHF: Update from The Hewlett Foundation

Barbara Chow, Vic Vuchic and Kathy Nicholson on future plans...

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Patrick McAndrew
10 April 2010

Barbara Chow, Vic Vuchic and Kathy Nicholson on future plans

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Barbara Chow describing the process that Hewlett has gone through in setting out its new strategy. Major consultation with stakeholders including visits to schools - especially those in poorer districts.
Goal to enable people to make the "right decisions in this complicated life" - which requires major change. Three stage focus:
1. California policy: the home state for Hewlett but seen to have "systemic failures" as well as infrastructure needs.
2. Open Educational Resources: excited about OER and its potential to contribute to the overall goals. But need to cross the innovation chasm.
3. Deeper learning: belief in a need for deeper learning as we go forward.

Vic Vuchic on the OER Program from the perspective of a funder. Main way to help is
The OER goal - a sustainable funded ecosystem.
OER to move from a simple ecosystem centred on Hewlett's funding to a more robust ecosystem of many contacted nodes of activity, funding, … Cathy Casserley's move to Carnegie and the role of Hal Plotkin are examples of shifting and spreading out to a more distributed network model of support.
Funding from three sources - philanthropic, private capital, governments. Survival of the field in tough economic times illustrate robustness. Will mean a move towards mathced grants.
Funding for infrastructure and demonstrations.
Four categories of infrastructure
1. Flagship agencies and networks
2. Guidelines and tools
3. Research and evaluation
4. Advocacy and communication
The infrastructure agenda is to equalise access to knowledge & Improve teaching and learning.
Example - need to address more directly the use of OER within the disabled community.
Example - OLnet project to understand and build on the knowledge of what happens.

Demonstrations - move focus from OER to Deeper Learning. Previous activity tended to be opportunistic with models such as open textbooks, gaming, open participatory learning.

Kathy Nicholson on the theme of Deeper Learning.  "So everyone can succeed in a changing world". Goal - to increase economic success and civic engagement by educating students for a changing world.
Deeper Learning as five elements
- core knowledge
- critical thinking & problem solving
- communication
- collaboration
- learning to learn
Example of move from simple assessment (multiple choice) to writing a paper. This is not new - but uptake has been uncertain. Now though have policy (US) and technology lined up to increase the chance of uptake.
Action will be on K-12 in US. Work on OER to support deeper learning by investing 1. in policy - look to feed into the next revision of US policy in 2017 through having sufficient examples of deeper learning in action.
2. In practice - example of OLI as use of feedback loops that encourage deeper learning. OER as impact on T&L.
3. Proof points - a network of schools of community colleges as beacons of deeper learning. Demonstrating and researching models such as peer based learning.
Example from "CAT" City Arts and Technology High School in Texas - taking a depth v breadth
OER is a catalyst and enabler of Deeper Learning - principles of openness and participation.

Patrick McAndrew
12:24 on 10 April 2010 (Edited 09:43 on 11 April 2010)

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Patrick McAndrew
12:48pm 10 April 2010


Q: Why "Deeper Learning" not e.g. "21st Century Skills"

A: Similar aims but a lot of thought into the message that is given by the label.

Q: OER focus has been the content - but need to make cultural change and that means policy and priority changes.

A: Schools do currently need to struggle against the system and being heroic. System change is critical to spread.

A: Yes this is a cultural change - students still need to do the "seat time" to meet admission requirements as well as being judged on her overall performance. Need these to line up.

Q: 2017 target - need there to be way points.

A: Yes shift over years. Already now there is chance to work on new assessment funded by federal government. Work with consortium of states to help make the conditions that make the change "possible".

Q: What is the role for volunteers and community.

A: Good to think of OER in K-12 space - the dynamic is different. Will support open source tools management system and community tools. E.g. supporting a tool that plugs into Moodle and into Google Apps. HE has some space and student effort that can extendd funded work. K-12 capacity is lower. But good match to enthusiasm.

Q: How to build on OER success of HE - perhaps through partnerships between local universities and schools.

A: Example - MIT BLOSSOMS and its connection to common core curriculum topics.

Q: Welcome model of sustainable ecosystem. Innovations otherwise fail.

A: Risk factor is the professional development and mainstream. Community needed to support this, policy shifts needed to make receptive. Shift from seat time to learning proficiency.

A: Distributed leadership very important. Hewlett not batting OER away but cannot be "it" to sustain.

Q: Worry about impact of "negative messages". Is there a media plan. The Cyber infrastructure task force has this problem - investment was questioned as stories of success were not shared well enough.

A: Communication with communities seen as critical.

A: In complicated space - which is politically charged. Want to be open and transparent.

Q: How do grantees get the message out about their successes.

Q: Professsional development is a challenge - OER as a tool not as content. Tests though are not going away. Need to show kids with "deeper learning" do better, idalling on the standaradised tests.

A: Results are looking good - especially on keeping kids into the college system. Right conceptual background will help get people through critical first year. Research on link between learning and this sort of result.

Patrick McAndrew
12:51pm 10 April 2010


Final thoughts

1. OER thriving

- Need to move from edge to mainstream

- Message is key to this

2. Excited about where OER is going

- support through pedagogical practice

- sharing results

Open to input.

Vic: Excited by OER and excited about Deeper Learning. Used to moving quickly on technology and policy slow. At the moment policy is rapidly changing - so we need to be adaptive to grab the opportunities.

 

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