I hate when people don’t share recipes…
The Seeker: I love this. Tell me, how did you make this?
The Keeper: It is good. I know. The recipe works every time.
The Seeker: Every time? Wow. So, how do you do it? Can I have the recipe?
The Keeper: Oh, it is a secret. I dare not share.
Educators share. Most educators share freely. Whether posting student work examples or lesson and unit ideas, many in education share their passion. Just as no recipe in my recipe box is so sacred only my family can benefit from my culinary skill, I share recipes and lesson ideas alike. Truly, I appreciate and value those who share with me. I resent those who keep secret their recipe for awesome-education or food related. Yes, High School Musical, we are all in this together…or at least we should be.
My teaching practice benefited greatly from this kind of goodwill. Years ago, my dear friend, Shaelynn Farnsworth, shared an entire Drive folder with me filled with resources for student blogging. She shared this willingly without expectation of financial compensation. She even shared this willingly long before we met face to face. This was not a secret kept sacred for only her students. No. Because I sought support, and because she supported, my students benefited. Our learning design is not about us, not about just our students, but ALL of our students. All.
There are numerous sites devoted to open educational resources. One of the many I appreciate is OER Commons. Described as “Extensive Library, Powerful Findability,” OER Commons houses a treasure filled with ideas and includes community support for educators. There is opportunity to add to the house if an educator so desires. As far as use of the lessons within OER, the Conditions of Use are outlined: No restrictions on your remixing, redistributing, or making derivative works. Give credit to the author, as required. Not only are educators able to use the lessons, but educators can use the lessons as sources of inspiration for a redesign. After all, ideas give birth to ideas.
As Andrew Marcinek, U.S. Department of Education’s Chief Open Education Advisor, pointed out “…there has been a flood of new sources that educators can seek out for content. But more doesn’t always mean quality.” Marcinek suggests to begin with examining instructional design questioning purpose, goals, assessment…With any resource available, the ability to discern is imperative just as the ability to design meaningful experiences for students is essential. My classroom text was not a text at all, but a malleable remix and inspired creation designed to meet the needs of the students in my room. Just as Marcinek suggests, questioning and purposeful planning helped in that design.
Sharing resources and making these resources equitable has gained necessary attention. The end of February, U.S. Department of Education announced the launch of 14 states to the #GoOpen initiative that is “designed to support districts as they expand their use of high-quality openly licensed educational resources.” Students surely benefit from the power in community and the power in sharing and supporting.
Often when beginning my instructional design, I think of Alan November’s infamous question, “Who owns the learning?” I continue that question, and add, “Who owns the learning design?” If we keep our recipes and our ideas to ourselves, who are we serving?