Teacher professional learning communities: A participatory OER creation and adaptation approach in Karnataka, India
General objective: Ascertain whether and how a bottom-up approach in which participants collaboratively and actively co-create contextual resources (embedded within a community of learning), can support effective OER models.
Specific objectives/research questions:
- What kind of processes would support a community of teachers in actively engaging with the creation and adaptation of a contextual and collaborative OER model?
- What enabling conditions would encourage a wider adoption by peers of contextually created resources within the community?
- What new skills need to be built among teachers and teacher educators to adopt a new learning culture?
- How would local needs and contexts (local language, local culture, social issues, geographies, ecologies, needs, aspirations, priorities, etc.) impact upon the universal (mostly defined through normative systems of the global North) versus local notions of “meaningfulness/quality” of OER?
- How would institutional and systemic factors interact with and influence the building of a participatory OER model within the government/public system?
OER are perceived as an important response to enrolment and quality challenges in higher education for developing countries, though it is not clear how they actually would meet this challenge. Educational philosophy suggests that learners need to actively adapt curricular resources for local needs. The “global” OER movement is however located predominantly in the geopolitical North, which can impose northern curricular resources on learning systems in the South.
This sub-project sought to understand and respond to this challenge by investigating whether “professional learning communities” of teachers forming part of an public education system can collaborate to access, create, curate, and share OER. A participatory programme of OER adoption was studied through Action Research involving 67 Mathematics, Science, and Social Science high school teachers and teacher educators in Karnataka state, India. This group was embedded within a larger professional learning community (PLC) of around 15 000 teachers across Karnataka, developed through the “Subject Teacher Forum”, an in-service teacher education programme in the public education system.
The research approach included periodic workshops with 67 teachers, where they participated in collaborative OER adoption processes. The efficacy of this model of OER adoption was studied through structured questionnaires and focus group discussions, review of mails shared in the PLC’s mailing-lists, and review of content created and shared on the KOER portal. Analyses of data from these activities suggests that teachers are able to use digital methods to adopt OER, and contextualise it to their needs. The OER processes have helped in teacher professional development through increasing teacher agency for exploring and using resources in active collaboration with peers.
The project demonstrated that teachers’ virtual networks can offer opportunities for teachers to connect to one another for peer sharing and learning. A free and open digital environment can encourage teachers to freely explore and connect digital means (Free and Open Source S) and ends (OER). For a community, a larger purpose provides meaning, and in this project the creation and sharing of educational resources has served as that important objective. Teachers found meaning in reuse, creation, revision, remixing, and redistribution of resources on the mailing lists and the KOER portal. This had a positive impact on their own digital habits and affected the techno-social structure of the school education system in the Karnataka province. It supported their professional development and sense of agency, as was evidenced by their reflections on their learning in their community interactions.
The size of the public education system in Karnataka (comprising 6 000 government high schools and 40 000 teachers) has helped to create a sufficient volume of interaction to enable teachers to see value. This has also supported possibilities of sustainability. Secondly, as the programme has been designed and conducted by the school education system, the programme can be upscaled using departmental budgets for teacher education and implemented in other states. The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, has recommended the STF-KOER programme as good practice and the project is following up with two state governments, Telangana and Assam, which have made requests for implementation of a similar programme in their states
Kasinathan, G. (2015). Collaborative co-creation of OER by teacher educators and teachers in India: a participatory action research study. Presentation at OEC Global Conference, Banff, Canada, April 2015.
Articles and blogs
Kasinathan, G. (2015). “The means are the ends’: The alignment between OER and FOSS“. ROER4D blog.
Kasinathan, G. (2015). “Domination and emancipation, a framework for assessing ICT and Education programs” presented at the sixth CESI International Conference on “Education: Domination, Emancipation and Dignity”.
Pioneering New Models of Teacher Education and Curriculum Development in Karnataka https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJYRS0X98M0
Subject Teacher Forum (STF) : Public software for Public education