Development of Open Educational Resources Opportunities and Challenges

Deshmukh, Narendra D
Agarkar, Sudhakar C
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Introduction // Science and technological developments are influencing the lives of even the common man on the street. These changes have forced us to change the way we look at the teaching learning process in schools. School education has, therefore, witnessed significant changes in the recent years. The typical teacher in typical school of India, however, remains ignorant of these changes. In the absence of a strong in-service training programme the teacher continues to teach in the age old fashion. While only a small fraction of the teachers is fortunate enough to lay their hands on recently designed learning resources, a majority of the teaching community in India remains ill informed of the developments in this arena. In order to overcome this problem the idea of Open Educational Resources (OER) for schools is being suggested. // The phrase ‘open education resources’ was first coined in 2002 at UNESCO’s Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education in Developing Countries. According to Atkins and Brown (2007) open educational resources are teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials or techniques used to support access to knowledge. // As the situation stands today a variety of educational material is available in the open domain. However, this material is directed towards general audience in the society. The hugely successful Wikipedia is an example of kind of this kind of resource. In addition, there are course materials focused on specific courses. MIT's course material can be cited as an example in this context. Nevertheless, curricular material supporting school education hardly exists. Moreover, most of the resources are in English and are biased towards developed world. Teachers teaching in vernacular medium can seldom obtain benefits from these resources. Students and parents who are not proficient with this language and culture feel themselves at disadvantage. They need resources that are directly useful for their curriculum and have direct relevance to their culture. It is with this view in mind that a project on open educational resources for school was launched for the schools in the state of Maharashtra where a large number of schools still use Marathi as a language of instruction. We would like to share our first hand experiences gained while working in this project.
Open Educational Resources (OER), Materials Development, Languages