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IDA'S NARRATIVE OF «OER MODULE FOR TEACHER TRAINING» PROJECT
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2 March 2013
I have chosen as project for OLDS MOOC to work on designing an «OER module for teacher training», a real project I'm working on professionally, in the scope of an european project.
This module has a broader context of an online course on inclusion and technology developed in Moodle platform and validated last year by one of the partners and still being validated by other partners, with adaptations and flexible approaches to national contexts (different platforms, topics, resources and activities adaptations, selfstudy and tutor-based modalities...).
The background of european partners is also different, some are related to regular ICT programes for schools and few come from special needs field, so perspectives may be a little different. I myself that have a longer relationship with the pedagogical ICT field (since 1995) and in the SEN field (since 2006) get the feeling that some colleagues don't grasp the whole picture. The whole range of special needs is far more complex than to think of some accessible formats (in spite of the importance of simple things).
OER module will be added to previous 5 topic online course and/or an autonomous learning unit developed in UDUTU platform.
The target public of the course on inclusion and technology are either SEN teachers or regular teachers working with SEN pupils/students (primary-secondary levels). Two perspectives are on board, to address special needs learning design or to address universal design for learning. The polical correct viewpoint is to embrace the universal design for learning, but we still need to address the very specific needs of severe disabilities (i.e. a «regular» learner doesn't need to learn braille or use a brailler like a blind one does).
Several tensions emerge because the structures in place differ from country to country and each one is on a different stage and/or have different perceptions. A developed country may have invested for long years in providing excellent resources for disabled people with highly specialized staff, who may be highly suspicious of conditions to include people with disabilities in mainstream settings. Other countries have invested very little in such structures and may be more open to an inclusion approach, but that doesn't mean that people with disabilities may be provided with good conditions.
I think that if one keeps treating people differently and in segregating settings (even with good conditions) we'll never get to raise awareness in society for obstacles that could be easily removed if people just had a personal contact with the obvious. On the other hand, we have to be aware that some people may need special resources and conditions to function, so lets not over simplify.
In spite of all the international and national inclusion frameworks and policies, the reality is that life is not as easy for people with disabilities as for common people. Fortunatelly we are seeing more and more people with disabilities moving around and not remaing shut down at home or in institutions.
As we are in the process of creating better conditions for inclusion in mainstream schools much work remains to be done. Many teachers feel ill-prepared to address special needs. How to deal with a child with autism spectrum disorders that may disrupt the class? How to reach a child with cognitive learning disabilities? What learning strategies may be adopted? Is there applyed technology to assist?
We have teachers that have some sort of specialization in special needs (either to address blind/low vision needs, either to deaf/hard hearng problems, either to multiple disabilities, etc), but we need that all staff have some knowledge and acquire skills to deal with this diversity of stuations. And we need to raise awareness among the whole community, namely students to help others with difficulties, and parents that may selfishly think that the school lowers rankings because of other kids disabilities. It's a matter of human rights, not charitable good deeds.
Considering that assistive technology and commercial software for special needs is highly expensive (the market is reduced) we have been promoting freeware and many applications that can bring benefits to SEN pupils/students. The previous online course had broad learning objectives (inclusion policies, modifications and accomodation measures, UDL, web accessibilities, assistive technology, etc), the OER module will focus on practical and productive outputs. After addressing the concept of open education, open access, open educational resources, open licencing, we´ll try to provide guidance and tools for teachers to design their learning units according to their pupils' needs and to create or readapt accessible open resources.
Some of the LD tools that OLDS MOOC presented us can be used in this OER module, course maps, storyboard, pedagogical pattern collector, etc. Some other tools such as Book Builder, Slide Talk, Picto Selector, JClic and many other special tools may be used to produce accessible OER (my repository of SEN tools - http://freewarenee.weebly.com/).
I've chosen UDUTU platform (course authoring tool) which I've used before and is very simple and linear. Thinking of the evaluation criteria of LD (functionality, usablity, appeal, accessibility, effectiveness), this platform is quite functional and appealing. http://youtu.be/akGPGpkplQo
I've recovered the course guidelines of the online course made in Moodle ebook and adapted to OER module, the course structure outline includes na introduction/context, target public, online course requirements, learning objectives, contents, resources, calendar of activities, Web 2.0 tools and respective tutorials. The contents were structured in (i) open concept and some literature review, (ii) learning design (OLDS MOOC tools) and UDL review, (iii) OER finding, creation and adaptation with accessibilities.
OER module is almost completed, instead of screencasts, PREZis were produced and as UDUTU has narration feature, comments for topic 1 and 2 presentations were recorded in Audacity and uploaded. I still have to decide to record more audio considering pros (accessibilites provided by audio) and cons the fact that audio files slows screen download.
This is the screen that introduces topic 1
Resources were included in each topic's screens in aggregators such as Livebinders, Pinterest, Scoop.it and other. This is an exemple of Livebinders resources in topic 2:
Activities were produced for each topic considering individual or group work. This is the example of activity for topic 3.
Perhaps a revision will be made to elaborate the activities.
Some collage images were produced for OER module, as this one to illustrate Activities, made with a Photovisi background and embedding parts of other images (these might raise copyright problems). I can still work on these images.
Communication and collaborative tools may be selected to complement UDUTU platform.
The expected outcomes are a collection of learning units and accessible OER produced by learners.
In the previous course we've gathered the product outcomes in Edcanvas as well as ePortfolios. In OER module, individual ePortfolios will be required as well.
Decisions about testing OER module need to be taken by partners. As partners' language is not english, each one will have to adapt/translate the module. It's probable that none of the partners is familiar with UDUTU platform and may decide to transfer the module to some other platform. Those who have already tested the previous course in Moodle platform may wish to run the course once more with OER topic included. OER topic in Moodle is not so extensive. Each topic has a duration of 2 weeks. OER module in UDUTU, as autonomous learning unit, will take 4 weeks, more extensive and with more activities.
Target learners will most probably be regular teachers with SEN pupils.
In my case I may try to test the whole course in Moodle platform with regular teachers (of SEN pupils). I might invite an extended group of facilitators from our ICT Resources Centres for Special Needs, and each of the Centres might identify/invite small groups of teachers in different schools all over the country, extending to 100 or more participants. In this case, the Centres might consider to have F2F sessions to train teachers on the use of certain tools.
I might consider also to test OER module in UDUTU with volunteers from the ICT Resources Centres for Special Needs.
The validation of both approaches would result in a national report with the contributions of learners, the goal being its improvement. A final report would be produced with the reports of other partners to present at european level.
Learners assessment would be based on their individual ePortfolios and their activities (learning units and OER). Certification of their participation in the validation would be issued by the Department.
Perhaps we might consider the creation of badges(?). This would have to be discussed at european and national level.