OER are forcing internationalisation and common core standards to different educational systems

One of the main values of OER is that they can be used worldwide independently of the system of education and national curricula frameworks. Those OER which licenses guarantee freedom of re-use and distribution can be localised and adapted to the conditions, formal requirements and needs of students and teachers stated in national educational systems. The localization process is at the heart of the OER – it exemplifies its diversity, openness and reusability. By making content relevant and transferable, the barriers to implementation of OER on the local context are eliminated (Kurshan, 2008).

When re-using OER, it’s often desirable to apply the procedure of localization, which refers to the process of taking educational resources developed for one context and adapting them for the other (geographical, pedagogical, political, or technical). There are many reasons why educators and learners would like to localize materials – e.g. to accommodate a particular teaching style or learning style, to take into account cultural differences, to support a specific pedagogical need etc. The practice of localization encompasses more than the translation of materials into a local language or swapping a photo to reflect cultural differences. In most cases OER require also some work on adaptation to various learning styles.

Access to OER developed by people with different educational and professional background may serve as reference materials for teachers to see how particular problem/subject is taught in different cultural and educational context, it is rather unlikely that OER will be re-used without any changes. An example of global initiatives that supports localisation of OER is Curriki that helps to advance OER by working with partners in the US and abroad to develop educational content in multiple languages and to create local federated Curriki sites that support local educational learning objectives (Kurshan, 2008). Local sites are customised to the extent to meet the national standards in each country and include Curriki sites in India, Korea, Argentina, Indonesia, United States.

The fact that OER are materials upon which the learning process is built, it is worthwhile for it to be underlined. Even if a transition of educational system into more resources-based learning can be observed, OER do not require common educational international standards and do not dictate how teachers teach. How OER will be used depends on skills and competences of teachers.

Want to know more?

OER Models that Build a Culture of Collaboration: A Case Exemplified by Curriki, Barbara Kurshan (2008), eLearning Papers, Nº 10 • September 2008

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