Sharing and Open Education: The Why, The Where, The How

What is Open Education?

Sharing is caring. Over the last week, we have discussed Open Education.  To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what the concept of open education really was.  However, I soon learned that open education is essentially is allowing everyone access, regardless of barriers, access to quality educational materials leading to quality education.

Why Open Education Matters from Blink Tower on Vimeo.

Open Educational Resources

According to, Open Educational Resources (OERs) are learning materials that can be modified and enhanced because the creators have given permission to do so.  This can include anything from presentation slides, podcasts, syllabi, lesson plans, lecture videos, maps, worksheets, and textbooks.  These resources waive their copyright with legal tools such as Creative Commons.

Wanna Work Together? from Creative Commons on Vimeo.

 “If teaching is sharing, without sharing there is no education”

I have not been a teacher in an environment where sharing was not a thing.  As a fairly new educator, I have grown up and have relied on using other people’s ideas around everything educational.  The ability to access information is easier than ever, thus the strong connection to social media and open education.  Dean Shareski highlights the main obstacle when it comes to sharing in education.  Many teachers struggle with the “Who, where and how to share”.  This provided me with a bit of self-reflection as becoming an educator in this world I know where to find quality resources.  I know and understand the importance of why we have to share.  I also know how to share my resources with other teachers on a global level.

  Why Should We Share?

I believe that teachers became teachers to see growth, improvement, and success among students.  Thus it makes sense if we have a common goal that we help each other reach this goal.  Often times when we are sharing resources we only share these resources internally within our own building.  This is wonderful, but how can we share these resources and materials with teachers in other divisions/districts, or globally?

Below is a project that I was co-teaching with another teacher.  This project was remixed and inspired by another teacher, Brian Aspinall. The ability for me to share my learning with other teachers has inspired others to potentially remix what I have created for their classrooms.  I had the privilege to listen to Brian share his knowledge in Saskatoon at last year’s IT Summit.  Through this conference and through Brian sharing on his blog, he has not only encouraged teachers like me to try awesome projects, but through his blog, he is sharing other amazing ideas revolving around coding, and educational technology and thus continuing the cycle of sharing.

Where to Share?

There are so many places for educators to share ideas and resources.  Twitter and filtering using hashtags. Check out The Best 100 Education Hashtags for all Educators on Twitter. Twitter is one of the places I share resources, find resources, vet resources, filter resources and then curate resources.  I have begun a new form of sharing resources through Wakelet.  Wakelet allows me to curate online information so it is easier to find and share.

Dean Shareski highlights in his video Sharing: The Moral Imperative the use of blogging.  He discusses that the stagnancy of blogging starts to correspond to the stagnancy of your teaching.  I would argue that stagnancy of sharing through any means leads to the stagnancy of teaching.  I believe this because, by sharing we are able to reflect on our own teaching practices, we are able to vet and filter resources to better ourselves as educators.

How to Share?

Educators in some sense have to take a leap of faith into the technology world. Many educators are not comfortable sharing their work.  However, I also believe if we are able to share and educate educators where they can find quality OERs and content then they would be more willing to share their often coveted resources.  Resources such as blogs, Twitter, and even division websites like NESD’s Curriculum Corner provide teachers with opportunities to learn how to share.

Edutopia shared an article Sharing Your Best Work With Other Teachers.  This article highlights eight ways teachers can share.

  1. Create a Ted-Ed Lesson
  2. Post a Video to a Teaching Channel (Post your videos to YouTube!)
  3. Upload a Lesson Plan to the Internet (For free of course)
  4. Start a Blog
  5. Host a Podcast, or contribute to someone else’s
  6.  Host a Webinar
  7. Post to Twitter
  8. Serve remotely on a Teacher Advisory Committee

By sharing resources, teachers work together, form a collective and are able to reflect on their teaching and learning.

The Take-Away

Educators are stronger as a collective.  Last week I had the opportunity to attend a conference in Saskatoon that featured John Hattie.  Hattie has done extensive research in education focusing on performance indicators, models of measurement and evaluation of teaching and learning.  One of the things that I learned is that Collective Teacher Efficacy is one of the effects that relate directly to high levels of student achievement.  Collective Efficacy has a mean effect size of 1.57, THIS IS HUGE!  The graphic to the right highlights what works best in raising Student Achievement. An important note is that: 0.40 effect size is equal to one year worth of academic material over the course of one school year.

John Hattie – Visible Learning Collective Teacher Efficacy (CTE) according to John Hattie

How does this relate to sharing? I believe that sharing plays a big role in Collective Teacher Efficacy.  We need to collaborate, we need to reflect, and we need to share with each other.  If all teachers had access to quality educational content without barriers, and educators had the ability to collaborate with the materials, teachers can and will make a positive difference.