OER support IT industry profit by forcing schools and teachers to buy more IT equipment
A common impression of forcing schools and teachers to buy new hardware might have been caused on one hand by the scope of different OER initiatives and programmes in which development of OER is in line with process of equipping schools in ICT (like the Digital School program in Poland). On the other, OER are available in a variety of formats that supports flexibility of resources’ usage, but may also have influence on the way people think about it – the more formats, the more ICT is required.
Open Educational Resources are tool-independent. This independency is clearly stated in definition of free cultural works that define free works as those which can be used without any technical restrictions. The work must be available in a form where no technical measures are used to limit the freedoms enumerated above.
In fact, most OER are in line with the definition above. They are compatible with different operating systems and web browsers. What is more, OER usually are available in widely used in (if not open) most common formats, that can be opened and read on different kinds of software. The schools are not forced or obliged to provide teachers and students with additionally equipment and proprietary software in order to use open content. On ICT market open source software can be found as alternative solution to commercial ones. What is more, OER as teaching/learning materials can be downloaded, printed and supplied to schools not well-equipped with ICT and broadband Internet connection.
Want to know more?
Open Educational Resources and the Transformation of Education, Ilkka Tuomi, European Journal of Education 48(1), 2013