SAT: Open-mindedness and Openness-minded: How State Schools Impact Innovation (Callum Moore)
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13 January 2016
State schools throughout the United Kingdom are required to conform to higher standards (BBC, 2014) and a widening range of needs in the classroom (Department of Education, 2014) when budgets are being cut (BBC, 2015). Various studies exist that suggest that Open Educational Resources (OERs) are helping schools to adapt but these are not occurring in terms of professional development for teachers (Lock, 2006).
In 2015, I instigated my own OER to support professional development called Bloom Education. This was a website with courses created by teachers with videos, plans and materials designed to help others freely. After its initial launch, the project was well-received by colleagues, as predicted by Lock (2006) who stated that there was a need for ‘ongoing opportunities for professional development’. Regrettably, the resource did not come to complete fruition.
There are innumerable causes as to why innovations such as Bloom Education might be successfully implemented or not. According to Nachmias et al (2004), these can be divided into seven categories:
- organizational climate,
- roles within the school,
- learning configuration,
- roles outside the school,
- staff training and development,
- ICT Policy.
Though studies by the likes of Nachimas et al. (2004) and Laferriere et al. (2007) outline various factors that support the implementation of innovation in schools, there is not a first-hand case-study that looks at the factors that hinder innovation. The aim of this case study is to describe the obstructions in developing OERs in state schools.
This paper is based on my own personal experience of attempting to implement an innovative professional development OER. However, the presentation will focus on what Nachimas et al. deemed the most ‘intense’ factor in the implementation of a resource: roles within the school, in particular the teaching staff.
The presentation will analyse and discuss research and first-hand experience to evaluate how specific encounters, events and experiences with teaching staff played a positive or negative role in Bloom Education’s launch and ending. For instance, this will compare the research of Lee et al. (2006), who found that there are teachers keen to share their practice altruistically, against my personal experience of teachers.
The presentation will culminate in a discussion of what could have been done differently in order for Bloom Education to have an alternate outcome. This discussion will utilise interactions with the teaching staff involved and the research of Bossu and Tynan (2011) who found that a reluctance to share educational resources follows an educator’s opinions regarding intellectual property rights, financial losses and credit distribution. Furthermore, the presentation will discuss how Farrow et al.’s (2015) discovery that minimising financial expenditure and workload, and maximising ease of use impacted teachers and whether there was reasonable objection to playing a part in this OER.