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Addressing the K-12 Open Educational Resources Awareness Niche: A Virtual Conference Response
Blomgren, Constance and Henderson, Serena

Published3 March 2021
JournalAlberta Journal of Educational Research
Volume 67, Issue 1
CountryCanada, North America

Since the 2002 UNESCO forum, raising awareness of the benefits and challenges to Open Educational Resources (OER) in higher education have been integral to the broader Open Education (OE) movement. In the K-12 sector, however, an understanding of OER has been less advanced, although there are pockets of K-12 OER innovators throughout Canada and the United States. The 2015 U.S. Department of Education #GoOpen initiative, had over 20 American states move toward the use of K-12 OER, and within Canada, various provinces have begun investigating OER for both financial and pedagogical reasons. Because the use of K-12 OER inheres curricular decisions from the classroom teacher to all levels of governance, the move toward OER additionally involves a variety of sophisticated and complex digital and system-wide supports. This shift from the legacy educational system to the emerging practices where educators employ participatory technologies to curate, share out, and use student-generated curricular content requires awareness-building of these pedagogical and technological changes. Despite these impending shifts, the awareness, use, and the advocacy for K-12 OER as a nascent topic for professional learning, at present there are no dedicated specialist councils or professional organizations to support Canadian K-12 OER educators. To address this professional learning need, a virtual satellite conference was offered for in-service teachers as part of a network supported through the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), the Right to Research coalition, and the OpenCon platform. The OpenCon 2018 K-12 Athabasca virtual conference offered free professional learning regarding these changes in resource sourcing, creating, licensing, and sharing. Through meeting software, K-12 educators from Canada and beyond were able to learn about OER, Open Pedagogy, and the implications these changes bring to the teaching and learning processes. The virtual conference concluded with the Remix Panel that catalyzed topics from an OpenCon17 Berlin higher education discussion, remixing them for the K-12 context. Because this virtual conference has no precedent within Canada, the organizers of this inaugural event summarize its planning and execution, and explicate the significance of offering and archiving the presentations as part of the initiative to build a stronger awareness and understanding of K-12 OER current practices.

Keywords open educational resources · open pedagogy · online teacher professional development · virtual conference · reflection-on-action

Published atAlberta
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