This special issue explores Open Educational Resources (OER) and the ways in which they can be used to support social inclusion, one of the key challenges that needs to be addressed in today’s technologically rich digital environment (Conole, 2011). This fits well with the scope of Distance Education in terms of reporting on research in open, distance and flexible learning, as OER are a key mechanism for supporting these different types of learning, as well as learning across formal and informal educational contexts.
Content of this special issue
This special issue calls for papers, reflections, reviews, and reports focusing on the relationship between OER and social inclusion, as well as looking at ways in which OER might be used to promote social inclusion. We welcome both theoretical as well as positional papers, and also empirical case studies of practice. Key questions to address include:
- Who is using OER? Why? Where? What factors can explain the growth (or lack of growth) of OER use?
- How are new open, social and participatory media and OER being used in learning and teaching? In what ways are they leading to social inclusion/exclusion? In what ways can they be harnessed to promote social inclusion?
- What digital literacy skills do learners and teachers need to make effective use of these technologies and resources? To what extent are they evident and how can they be developed?
- What is the impact on organizations of these new technologies and resources? What are their implications for institutional structures and roles?
- How can we design OER more innovatively to harness the potential of these new technologies and resources? What new approaches might be used?
- How are the ways in which learners and teachers communicate and collaborate changing with the use of these technologies?
- How can we create effective new digital learning environments to promote the use of OER? How can informal learning using OER be assessed and accredited?
- What kinds of policy directives are in place to promote social inclusion through the use of OER and how effective are they?
Also welcome are:
- empirical studies of the use of OER and a reflection on the implications for promoting social inclusion
- empirical studies on examples of social exclusion or inclusion in learning and teaching using OER
- reports on case studies or educational programs using new technologies and OER in novel ways to enhance and support student creativity
- critical theoretical approaches to transferring modern social, community, and private learning practices to educational contexts
- explorations around the design and use of OER.
Guest editor: Professor Gráinne Conole, The Open University/University of Leicester, United Kingdom
Submitting your proposal
Submit your proposal to Gráinne Conole (email@example.com).
Num esforço de promover a inclusão e a acessibilidade digital, a unidade de Novas Tecnologias na Educação da U.Porto lançou uma nova área no portal de e-learning com guias dedicados à produção de documentos acessíveis. Os documentos, destinados a toda a comunidade académica, apresentam as boas práticas e as técnicas para a criação de documentos acessíveis. Docentes, funcionários e estudantes têm agora à disposição um conjunto de manuais que facilitam a criação de documentos nas ferramentas mais usadas na universidade como o Word, Powerpoint e PDFs. De futuro, novos conteúdos serão disponibilizados à comunidade.
Built on award-winning Mahara software, foliofor.me gives you access to your own, free e-portfolio. You have the freedom to create your own portfolio away from the restrictions usually imposed by institutional e-Portfolio systems. Whether you are a professional, student or hobbyist you will find foliofor.me useful for gathering your resources, showing them off to the world and documenting / reflecting on your progress and development. If you ever decide to leave, you can simply take your whole portfolio with you.
Leer spelenderwijs alles over celmetabolisme. Dit spel wordt ‘online’ via de browser gespeeld, in principe door twee teams, elk met een anabole (opbouw) opdracht en een katabole (afbraak) opdracht. Speel dit spel vaker met verschillende deelnemers en in verschillende rollen waardoor uw inzicht in celmetabolisme voelbaar wordt, ook voor de mede- en tegenspelers. Het spel heeft een ingebouwde chat-functie.
Pierre-Antoine Ullmo, education expert at the European Commission and founder of P.A.U. Education, reflects on mobility in all levels of society. “Mobility allows us to expand our horizons, transform our perceptions and increase our knowledge. Mobility is, above all else, a disposition to go out to meet others in order to share and learn from them. In this sense, mobility has many different dimensions.”
This is the main idea that Ullmo offered during his interview with Educaweb, the portal for professionals, institutions and training centres dedicated to mobility. The following is the complete interview, in which Ullmo discusses the importance of promoting mobility in all levels of society.
The majority of universities offer international mobility programs for faculty, with the goal of allowing participants to enrich their knowledge regarding their field of interest, while acquiring cultural training, international experience and foreign language skills. However, what are the options for primary and secondary teachers?
Teacher mobility at the primary and secondary level is oriented toward praxis, for example, within the framework of collaborative educational projects (Comenius, Leonardo) which allow for short-term exchanges, or within more complex networks oriented towards teacher training (e.g., Comenius networks). The big difference from options at the university level is that the teachers themselves must create their own mobility proposals. Everything depends on their motivation to change how they teach and their interest in discovering new models. In fact, teacher mobility opportunities are frequently under utilised due to a lack of motivation or support within the educational system.
Do teachers from all educational sectors need more mobility? How can we increase mobility on an international level?
What are the arguments against teacher mobility? Mobility expands our horizons, transforms our perceptions and increases our knowledge. Mobility is, above all else, a disposition to go out to meet others in order to share and learn from them. In this sense, mobility has many different dimensions. It can be “limited” to virtual encounters. The European Union project e-twinning brings together tens of thousands of professors who collaborate online in work that is then introduced in the classroom. Reading the compendiums of best practice that the European Union publishes about their mobility programs helps us understand the reach of teach mobility and its innovative role. I invite Educaweb readers to visit the portal www.elearningeuropa.info to learn more about these best practices.
Increasing international mobility also requires evaluating how these experiences enhance the curriculum that teachers develop on their own, establishing a framework for recognising these experiences within training programs, and "freeing" the teachers of some of their teaching duties in order to allow them to spend time developing such time consuming projects.
Do you think that knowing or not knowing multiple languages affects international mobility in Spain?
Nine out of ten Spaniards believe that knowing a foreign language is very important, but 91% of people haven't studied one, nor do they feel hindered in their workplace or degree program even though they don't have this skill (CIS, 2010). These data speak, more than any other study, to the magnitude of the problem we face. Knowledge of foreign languages and, more importantly, the value we place on cultural diversity and its role in promoting exchange are key to enhancing mobility and improving the education system.
Do you believe that we need more government funding to promote teacher mobility? What about student mobility?
Yes and no, given that educational competencies still come from each State – and in Spain, from the Autonomous Communities. An educational system oriented toward mobility would require a modification of teaching training programs, in order to introduce more flexibility in the curriculum so that exchange projects can take place during school hours, and to establish new indicators for evaluating teaching practices...
However, the European Union now regulates different aspects, and appears to use their own programs to counteract the lack of initiative on the state level, where nations suffer from inertia when faced with the task of creating their own mobility plans. We can look with awe at the success of the Erasmus program, while only 27,000 professors benefit from it each year. Regarding students, “Erasmus mobility” represents less than 1% of all the students who benefit from it (it would be 4% if we took into consideration the average duration – 4-5 years – of a student's studies).
The European Union has set ambitious goals that can not be achieved without the involvement of Member States. The initiative "Youth on the Move" http://ec.europa.eu/youthonthemove/ foresees that “by 2020 all young people in Europe will have the opportunity to complete part of their educational careers abroad, including workplace training”. This goal requires a much greater commitment from Member States. However, there is still an inconsistency between defending nationally determined educational material while waiting for Europe to solve – and finance – everything, and this has to be resolved.
What is the position of the European Commission regarding teachers' international mobility?
Within the limits of its powers, the European Commission is committed to teacher mobility. All mobility programs promoted by the European Union include teachers, albeit directly or indirectly. It is clear that the European Commission - within their limits of powers ... and budget - can not promote teachers' international mobility much more than it is doing today. Without the support of Member States, teacher mobility will remain, at a statistical level, a very minority action.
Spain is the top destination for European students who want to carry our their studies or do workplace training while participating in the Erasmus exchange program. It is also the country that sends more students to other Member States. Why do you think that this program is so successful? What options are there for students who have finished their time at the university?
The program's success throughout Europe, and in Spain in particular, is undeniable. There are about 200,000 Europeans students annually who benefit from this framework and more than 2 million from the Erasmus generation since the inception of the program. The cultural awareness that encourages mobility, and its regulated nature – this form of mobility is organised by the University and included in the curriculum - are some arguments that explain the success of Erasmus.
Spain has cultural attractions that can explain that it is one of the most popular destinations, followed by France and Germany. However, Erasmus has had an impact in European student culture and Spain, after Germany and France, is one of the countries with the highest percentage of Erasmus students in relation to their entire university population (after Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Austria and the Czech Republic).
It still remains to be seen what will happen to youth after having this mobility experience; right now the data on youth unemployment (reaching 45%) are chilling in this regard. In fact, there is a real risk that "Erasmus" mobility will lose its appeal if it fails to generate more employment opportunities. We are facing a challenge: inventing the "post-Erasmus", i.e., finding ways to encourage other forms of less "protected" mobility .
Do you think that more guidance is needed in order to know about all the options for studying and working abroad?
Absolutely. Building a mobility project requires more than a brochure or website. Creating contexts that allow for an exchange of experiences among youth, for example, seems to be one of the conditions that increases mobility among young people. Facilitating dialogue between businesses, the non-profit sector and young people, to generate knowledge about how mobility can help to develop new core competencies for personal and professional development, is also essential.
We organize participatory events for the European Commission which present the initiative "Youth on the Move" to encourage participation and dialogue among and with young people. This dialogue model seems to be something that could also be developed at the national level and we are trying to move in this direction.
According to the HR consulting firm Randstad, in 2010 the profile of the person willing to travel for work is a male, unemployed, immigrant, who is young and has a low educational level. Does this information match the data you work with?
Knowing that almost half of young professionals are unemployed, I question what relevancy this study by Randstad has.
The recent Eurobarometer on youth mobility in Europe shows that for 55% of Spanish young people, the largest difficulty they encounter in the labor market is the inability to find a job in their own city or region. It is interesting to compare this figure with the low mobility of Europeans in general. Unlike people in the U.S., for example, only 18% of Europeans change regions and only 4% have gone to live in another country. We are faced with a trend that transcends differences in age, social class or education level: there is low mobility among all Europeans.
However, 68% of Spanish youth say they want to have the opportunity to work abroad, while only 19% have had the opportunity to go abroad while they were studying or training (Eurobarometer, 2011). How can we respond to this desire for mobility?
Do the current economic conditions favour greater worker mobility?
31.2% of Spanish youth between the ages of 18 and 24 have left school without completing secondary education, according to the latest available data. The European average is at 14.4%. The rejection of higher education in Spain is above the European Union average and one of the the main reasons for this is the fact that higher education doesn't lead to getting better jobs and wages.
According to the E.U., the high dropout rate in Spain and the "imbalance" between a university education and the qualification level on demand in the labour market, are the two main causes that explain the high level of unemployment among young Spanish people.
At the same time, studies show that students who have done part of their studies or training in a different county have a greater chance of finding work. Employers value these students' foreign language skills, and their ability to adapt and relate better to others.
Finally, independently from today's economic situation, do you think we need to be working on mobility for the younger population? How could we achieve this?
Two thirds of young Spaniards believe that the number of immigrants is excessive and that we need to control migration patterns. 14% would vote for a racist political party if the immigration rate continues to increase. (Injuve, 2008)
Only 35% of Spanish youth are involved in activities or sports associations, which is well below the European average. 20% participate in volunteer work. (Eurobarometer, 2011) http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/flash/fl_319b_sum_en.pdf
Mobility has a global impact in cultural awareness and dialogue, it expresses an interest in going out to meet others, in search of opportunities.
Speaking another language, engaging in collaborative work, conducting research, creating your own company, participating in an art project, forming part of a social network, looking for a job in another city, region or country – all these activities are examples of mobility .
We should respond to young people's desires for mobility, uncover existing opportunities, create new prospects for training in the workplace, develop skills that businesses need and foster democratic values... In short, we need to rely on youth.
Brussels, 16 June 2011 - European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes awarded prizes to the winners of the Open Data Challenge and Hack4Europe! competitions at the Digital Agenda Assembly being held in Brussels on 16th and 17th June 2011. Companies, designers, programmers, developers, journalists, researchers and the general public from across Europe participated in the two open data competitions, trying out their ideas for creative reuse of information held by the public sector and open cultural data. European public bodies produce thousands of datasets every year - from how our tax money is spent to the quality of the air we breathe. This data can be reused in products such as car navigation systems, weather forecasts, and travel information apps.
Open data re-use is a key element of the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200). To make public data widely accessible and available in Europe, the Commission intends to revise the Public Service Information (PSI) Directive in 2011 to fully unlock the economic potential of re-using PSI.
Ms Kroes said: "I am amazed by the creative ways I have seen today for public data collected by public administrations, the collections digitised by our cultural Institutions (libraries, archives, museums) to be put to good use. Public data at large is a valuable source for innovation, as today's winners clearly show."
The Open Data Challenge and Hack4Europe! competitions were organised in support of the Commission's policy to facilitate the wider deployment and more effective use of digital technologies. The re-use of public sector information (PSI) and open data will be a key driver to develop content markets in Europe, which not only generate new business opportunities and jobs but also provide consumers with more choice and more value for money. The market turnover of public data that is reused (for free or for a fee) is estimated at least €27 billion in the EU every year.
The Open Data Challenge
Organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Open Forum Academy under the auspices of the Share-PSI initiative, the Open Data Challenge invited designers, developers, journalists, researchers and the general public to come up with useful, valuable or interesting uses for open public data. It attracted 430 entries from across the EU. Entries were invited in four categories for prize money totalling €20 000. The categories were fully blown apps, ideas, visualisations and liberated public sector datasets. The winners were selected by open data experts, including the inventor of the worldwide web Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
Winners of the Open Data Challenge
Applications: Eva Vozarova of the Fair-play Alliance, Slovakia has developed an app to add transparency to the public procurement process of government contracts
Ideas: Jonas Gebhardt of the University of Potsdam, Germany has developed a mobile application which can help citizens learn more about urban planning in their area
Visualisations: Oliver O'Brien of University College London, UK has developed an app to visualise the current state of bike-share systems in over 30 cities around the world
Public sector datasets: Codrina Maria Ilie of the National Institute for Research and Development in Environmental Protection, Romania has developed an app that collects thousands of old historical geo-referenced maps.
Hack4Europe! was organised by the Europeana Foundation and its partners Collections Trust, Museu Picasso, Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Centre and Swedish National Heritage Board as a series of hack days in London, Barcelona, Poznan and Stockholm running from 6 to12 June. It provided the opportunity to explore the potential of open cultural data for social and economic growth in Europe in an exciting environment. There were 60 participants from the creative industries. These included mainly SMEs like web design agencies, applications developers, software firms and other digital businesses. They were joined not only by developers from the cultural heritage sector, keen to create new ways to engage people with online cultural resources, but also by some larger players like the Google Technical Group and the Yahoo Research group in Spain.
Winners of Hack4Europe!
UK: Michael Selway of System Simulation Ltd. who developed an app to obtain
improved search results from Europeana using an Android touch screen.
Spain: Eduardo Graells of Universitat Pompeu Fabra/Yahoo! Research Barcelona who created a "Timebook" for historical figures. The app integrates content from Europeana and DBpedia and presents it in an easy to use format with, for instance, posts for famous quotes, friends status for influential persons and photos of paintings.
Poland: Jakub Jurkiewicz of iTraff Technology. Using Europeana dataset, this winner developed an app that processes a photo taken of any painting in a museum to give a description of the painting in a matter of seconds, translated into any EU language or even read out loud.
Sweden: Martin Duveborg of the Swedish National Heritage Board who developed a fully functional geo-location aware search of Europeana for Android. Users can take photos and associate them with existing Europeana objects. Through an inbuilt function to overlay new pictures with Europeana pictures, a seamless "Then-Now" effect is created. The new photos are uploaded with the current GPS position so the app can also function as a geo-tagger tool for Europeana.
What is the Commission doing to promote the use of Public Sector Information?
Promoting the re-use of Public Sector Information is a collective effort and the Commission itself is well aware it can do more to put its own data online. Recently, the European Commission published a Digital Scoreboard (see IP/11/663) to show the progress of the EU and Member States in delivering on the agreed targets of the Digital Agenda for Europe after the first year of its existence. In line with its commitment to an open data strategy the Commission has made its data sets and statistics in the Scoreboard publicly available online enabling anyone to carry out their own analysis and come to their own conclusions.
In a near future, the Commission will also put forward proposals for a pan-European portal to give a single access point to the data which is being put online by the Member States.
For more information:
Nominees for the European Award of the Best Open Data Challenge:
Nominees for the European Award of the Best Hack4Europe!:
Open Data Workshop at the Digital Agenda Assembly:
Commission's Public Sector Information Website:
Digital Agenda website:
Neelie Kroes' website: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/kroes/
Follow Neelie Kroes on Twitter: http://twitter.com/neeliekroeseu