Monday, March 5, 2012

The Power of #OER - Finding Sources of Research #Free Online



A few weeks ago, a colleague working on district technology planning from another District sent me the following request for research matching the use of educational technology in the following areas:
1. Policy and procedure development as it relates to technology
2. Professional Development (includes campus tech mentors)
3. Administrative support, awareness, and accountability
4. Infrastructure
5. Change in teacher instructional methods
Wow, what a great set of questions to have to answer. At the time, I was engaged in a variety of different projects for work and home, so I couldn't spend the time to respond. However, it occurred to me later that finding research on the Web has never been easier.

I still remember the time I had to find research on integrated learning systems (ILS)...there wasn't hardly anything online to refer to when searching with a search engine. Instead, I found myself digging through Gale Resource databases that gave me access to peer-reviewed, education related research.

Find out more about OER
Since then, we've sent a wide variety of research sources appear that fall into the category of open educational resources (OER)...a little more about what OER is:
Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are freely available online for anyone to use, whether you are an instructor, student, or self-learner. OER can exist as smaller, stand-alone resources that can be mixed and combined to form larger pieces of content, or as larger course modules or full courses.
OER is also a process of engaging with the materials. This process involves sharing materials that you have created, either individually or in groups with other teachers and/or learners; using and adapting others’ materials for your own use; and sharing back modifications to or comments about others’ materials so that future users can benefit. In this course, when we use the term OER, we are talking about the process of engaging with the materials.
You can also find research about OER.


Although I'm not completely sure if they are the same thing--I'm a lowly practitioner, not an Ivory Tower academic--there are many open access journals that can provide research. You can find a list online, and as well as in the Directory of OpenAccess Journals. A few that I visit often include the following:
  1. JOLT - Journal of Online Learning and Teaching
  2. EPAA - Education Policy Analysis Archives
And, realizing that's entirely too few, here are some more...
In terms of matching research to the points in my colleague's list, hmm...uh, not in this blog entry!
;-)



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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure