#oerhf part 5 – update from Hewlett


Managed through waiting in line behind the world’s most loquacious and angry guest to get delayed checking my bags, so I missed out on the first bit of Vic Vuchic and Barbara Chow’s introduction.

Barbara gave the Hewlett objective as being to support an education system to help high-poverty communities to earn a living wage or more. The Hewlett Foundation’s strategic priorities are: remedying gaps in California Education Policy, Open Educational Resources, and Deeper Learning for C21 work + citizenship

Hewlett sees the development of a decentralised OER Ecosystem, encompassing:
* Flagship Agencies/Networks
* Guidelines and Tools (eg. equalize access to knowledge – accessibility)
* Research and Evaluation (eg. OlNet, how is OER improving practices on the ground
* Advocacy and Communication – to include demonstration (a move from opportunistic demonstrations – textbooks, gaming, participatory learning, to applying OER to a problem of practice… deeper learning)

Kathy Nicholson noted that the strategy approved by board late last month. Highlighting deeper learning so everyone can succeed in a changing world. Goal: “to increase economic success and civic engagement by educating standards for a changing world.”

Deeper learning was defined as encompassing core knowledge, critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, learning to learn. OER is a catalyst for deeper learning.

Test structures in high school, currently based around recall and easy to marked, were contrasted with example of writing a complex paper and presenting to peers, which requires a combination of deeper skills (and assesses these skills). Now, a combination of openness, technology and wide support mean that it is possible to bring this about, and Hewlett feel able to bring this about.

Work will focus on K12:

* policy: reauthorisation of federal education act (previously “no child left behind”) concentrate on addition to act in 2017.
* practice: focus on curriculum, tools and training – clear potential impact of OER, example of Carnegie Melon OLI (which isn’t really OER as is generally understood, but is a very powerful model of feedback loops)
* proofpoints: a network of schools and community colleges – 100s of model schools, communities of practice and the exploration of new models (peer to peer open learning was mentioned)

A video was shown about a student at “city arts and technology high school” moving from being a potential drop-out to getting college acceptances via a deeper learning approach.

In questions, Barbara agreed that 21st century skills was another language for talking about “deeper learning”.

Question from the audience made a useful point about this being cultural change (staff development and policy change). Noted that schools are being assessed via tests that do not test these skills – changing the policy environment is critical. The “no child left behind” act pushed a lot of deeper learning practice underground, the challenge is to re-expose it.

Some interesting language about lowering barriers to this kind of information via open source tools for collaboration. And an admission that HE is a much more sophisticated bunch of consumers than in K12, but that teachers at this level want to engage in this kind of practice but need time and support.

Can we build on partnerships between HE and schools, volunteering from students and remedial teaching in HE? Generally agreed that this needs to be leveraged.

Barbara Chow notes that if we (Hewlett) are the OER movement in funding and leadership then we have a problem. That is not sustainable.

An interesting question about a media strategy for this work – it was noted that the “story” was not out there and negative publicity could sink the idea. Noted that we are not the first people to enter this charged political area and that all support is welcomed.

Person from California wondered whether we could demonstrate how deeper learning can improve performance on standardised test. We are seeing this, and also seeing a drop in college drop-outs.

Concluding thoughts from Barbara:

1. OER is thriving, over the next 7 years we want to move it from the edge to the mainstream. A common communication strategy will be core.
2. We are clear about where we are headed, and want to hear about what the OER community can offer. Open to any ideas that we have.

(this text and image licensed under CC-BY 2.5 (UK) – these are my personal notes from the sessions, and any errors or omissions are my fault or the fault of the guy who spent 10 minutes arguing about room service charges – seriously, you paid for that film, you might be embarrassed about it now but last night you wanted it enough to spend $9.95.)

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