Author Archives: mikeflosi

Educational Technology Review: Open Educational Resources

Michael Flosi

Open Educational Resources, or OER, are documents, lessons, activities, and other forms of media that can be used in a classroom or at home that can assist in a students learning, assessment, and research. For the most part, Open Educational Resources are freely accessible; however, there are some online sources that require a fee. OER allows equal access to information and a wide rang of knowledge that will ultimately increase educational culture.

Open Educational Resources is worth the time and investment, because they allow any person to access a mass amount of information at a push of a button. As stated before, OER are either free or cost a small fee. This would save school districts and colleges millions of dollars. Districts use an incredible amount of money on educational resources such as textbooks, reusable activity books, and other resources used in the classroom. Recently, Antioch Unified School District requested that the school board authorize an expenditure of $3.2 million for textbooks, which will most likely be out of date by the time they are used in the classroom. Open Educational Resources would eliminate a majority of the cost. Types of open educational resources include: full courses, course materials, units, open textbooks, open licenses (streaming videos), quiz/ testing sites, materials, lessons to support and facilitate learning.

Open Educational Resources ultimately sponsors high-quality open content for teachers and students, which can remove barriers and stimulates learning. Another positive aspect of OER is that content can be used, re-used and shared among students and teachers. Ultimately, Open Educational Resource creates equal access for all learners.


Educational technology worth the hype…

Michael Flosi

Is Educational technology worth the hype? In this educators opinion it is; however, for technology to have an impact educators need to learn how to embrace these tools rather than hide from it.  It is hard to disagree that technology is becoming the centerpiece of the 21st century classroom. Do to the rapid embrace of technology by students at all levels, educators are at a point where they must adapt to their lessons to their students, where before students had to adapted to their teacher. Many teachers have begun to slowly incorporating various types of media, technological equipment, and technological resources to deliver instruction. Even though most educators know how to use the technology many, if not all, are still behind the curve. It seems teachers are always playing catch up and there are multiple issues that contribute to this, like the lack of user-friendly programs and proper training.

Many educators are “techno-migrants,” who have an understanding of technology; however, they do not use it for a majority of their daily task. Ideas like “tweeting”, “blogging”, and “the cloud” are relatively new concepts to educators, and many don’t know how to use it or access it.  Sure a teacher can play a video from You Tube on their digital projector in or use a document reader, but many don’t understand how to use social media, resources provided by Google, and other technology that uses data to drive instruction.

School districts need to invest time and money to give teachers the proper training with new and future technology. If district continue to give poor or no training then a major obstacle will occur if technology is to gain steam in the classroom. Teachers will not use tools or resources if they are not taught how to use it. This could be seen at my school, where the district has bought new technology like data driven programs, open educational resources, and technological hardware expecting teachers to use it on a daily bases. Teachers, especially the older ones, are becoming frustrated by the issues they encounter with technology and feel it makes their jobs harder. If the time and resources are used to train teachers properly, then more would be willing to use it in their classroom.

Once educators are properly trained, then educational technology will have larger impact in instruction. There are a wide range of activities and lessons teachers can do in their class, which includes research, educational apps, and other online and open educational resources. Ultimately, teachers will find the ease when delivering their lessons and those who once saw technology as a nuisance, will now find it as a helpful tool.

So, is Educational technology worth the hype? Of course it is, only if the teachers are given the proper training.