Brief note on KOER
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OER (Open Educational Resources)
For making teaching more effective, a resource rich learning environment is necessary. However, in many cases, teachers only have the text book for their subject. The text book is intended primarily for the student and the teacher needs to access resources that are a superset of the topic as dealt in the text book, so that the teacher is well placed to teach the topic in a variety of ways, based on the learning contexts and needs of the students. Teachers must also be resourceful to address any doubts or questions that may arise in class or elsewhere on the topic.
However, learning resources other than text books are not easily available to teachers. Also significant part of materials available is copyrighted, meaning teachers cannot make copies of the same for their use and it may be expensive to purchase all the required resource materials. Teachers also will need to contextualise materials (make changes as per their own needs), which copyrighted materials would not allow. Hence there is a movement to produce learning resources and make available with less copyright restrictions. The 'Open Educational Resources' movement aims to release materials with minimal restrictions, which will allow teachers to freely 're-use', 're-vise', 're-mix' and 're-distribute' materials (these are called the 4 Rs, the fifth R can be 're-tain'. A simple explanation for copyright
KOER (Karnataka Open Educational Resources)
During 2013-14, RMSA Karnataka with DSERT has designed and implemented the “Karnataka Open Educational Resources” (KOER) programme for its 'in-service teacher education' component. Under KOER, mathematics, science and social science teachers have collaborated to create digital learning resources, for the new Class IX text book topics. The resources are peer reviewed and published on the KOER wiki (for English http://karnatakaeducation.org.in/KOER/en/index.php/Main_Page and http://karnatakaeducation.org.in/KOER for Kannada). The template includes a concept map, learning outlines, notes for teachers, activities, assessment and project/community project ideas. In each section apart from text, teachers have provided images, videos, slide-shows and animations, through resources accessed as web links and resources created/modified/adapted by them, in the line of the OER philosophy of the 4 R's (re-use, re-vise, re-mix and re-distribute).
IT for Change (ITfC), the resource institution for KOER, designed and implemented a series of workshops for the KOER core group of 30 teachers each in the identified subjects from 19 districts. These teachers, along with another set of around 30 teachers per subject (also trained as RPs by ITfC) trained their peers from nearly 1,000 high schools at DIET/ CTE labs in these 19 districts (which have computer labs), on accessing web resources, adapting them and co-creating resources to contribute to KOER, for high school text books topics. KOER includes academic resources, training support resources and school administration resources, to support interactions for all participants in school education. The use of the “wiki” public software (which Wikipedia, the worlds largest encyclopedia uses) has enabled the easy creation, review, adapting and publishing in inter-linked web pages, which is superior to using rigid web-site software like other OER projects do.
More than 3,600 web pages have been created in KOER English and Kannada by around 300 teacher-users and several more teacher-contributors. KOER has already crossed 400,000 views. The most important outcome is a resource repository of the Karnataka teachers, by the Karnataka teachers and for the Karnataka teachers and an approach that has potential to democratise teacher education and empower teachers to participate actively in their own professional development, instead of being passive receivers. Currently KOER covers class IX topics in English and Kannada languages, the eventual aim is to cover all classes, subjects and media of instruction used in Karnataka education.
Foundation for KOER - the STF (Subject Teacher Forum) programme
The KOER programme has as its foundation the 'Subject Teacher Forum' (STF) programme, which is the RMSA Karnataka in-service TE programme since 2011-12. Over the last three years, under the STF, around 5,000 teachers across all 34 districts have learnt to use a wide variety of digital methods, tools, resources for their subject teaching as well as overall professional development, including public educational tools like geogebra, phet, kalzium, marble, freemind; web tools such as maps, encyclopedias, search and web resources. Teachers use mailing groups to network, share ideas/resources/feedback, seek support from peers in subject groups in mathematics, science, social science and english. More than 20,000 emails have been shared in last two and half years by teachers in these groups, constituting a huge 'community of learning'.
Pioneering global models
The STF (community of learning) and KOER (open educational resources) initiatives are in line with similar cutting edge teacher education programmes across the world, and seek to implement the vision of the National Curricular Framework for Teacher Education, 2010 (NCFTE), of a democratised, self-directed, need-based, peer-learning based, mentored, continuous/life-long teacher education; moving from the largely top-down, centralised / supply-driven, content transmission based legacy teacher education approaches. Both programmes are systemic (use existing budgets/infrastructure/resources and across the entire state) and hence have potential for being scalable as well sustainable.