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What is an Open Educator?According to a recently published article from the International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL):
An Open Educator chooses to use open approaches, when possible and appropriate, with the aim to remove all unnecessary barriers to learning. He/she works through an open online identity and relies on online social networking to enrich and implement his/her work, understanding that collaboration bears a responsibility towards the work of others.
Does this sound attractive for English language teachers? It seems to some who offer courses through or with YouTube. But what does it mean "to remove all unnecessary barriers to learning?" Working for free? Not necessarily. If you read the article, it seems you'd be working on a sliding scale depending on the socioeconomic status of the learners, but this sliding scale is a sliding slope. How can poor learners prove their poor? How easy is it for wealthy learners to show you that their not wealthy?
What does an Open Educator do?
Let's assume you can make a living as an Open English Language Educator. What are the practices of an Open Educator? The article lists four main activities:
- Implements open learning design by openly sharing ideas and plans about his/her
teaching activities with experts and with past and potential students,
incorporating inputs, and transparently leaving a trace of the development
- Uses open educational content by releasing his/her teaching resources through
open licenses, by facilitating sharing of her resources through OER repositories
and other means, and by adapting, assembling, and using OERs produced by others in
- Adopts open pedagogies fostering co-creation of knowledge by students through
online and offline collaboration and allowing learners to contribute to public
knowledge resources such as Wikipedia.
- Implements open assessment practices such as peer and collaborative evaluation, open badges, and e-portfolios, engaging students as well as external stakeholders in learning assessment.
After reading this, are you on the Open Educator train now? What attracts you to and repulses you from this type of teaching? Do you think this is the future of English language teaching? What about your boss? Does he or she want this to be the future of your program?
The last part of the article describes how to transform from a traditional teacher to an Open Educator. I can see myself in both early stages of the transformation process. The framework they provide helps me to see if this is the direction I want to go in. Where in this process are you? Do you want to move forward a little, a lot, or do you prefer to stay a traditional teacher (at least for now)?
Depending on where you teach, some teachers get to participate in all of these categories.
- Individual designer = you get to design our own course lesson plans and activities
- New to OER = you get to choose your course materials. (OER = open educational resources, which are free and accessible materials online)
- Traditional teacher = your main job
- Traditional evaluator = you get to assess your students in the way you or your program finds feasible and appropriate
- Collaborative designer = as it states (This is actually the main purpose of my current job.)
- OER novice = you share materials with colleagues and the online community
- Engaging teacher = you integrate technology into the classroom
- Innovative evaluator = assessment is done with peers
- Open designer = you share your ideas online (like I'm doing here)
- OER expert = you use, produce, and distribute OERs often
- Open teacher = you and your students share learning openly
- Open evaluator = goes beyond the school to evaluate students' learning
So where are you in terms of Open Education? Will you lead the effort, participate in the effort, watch the effort closely or from afar?