Saturday, April 6, 2013

Tools for Leveraging Open Education Resources

We are experiencing the democratization of education.  There are numerous free and open resources for learning on the Web:
While these sites have terrific videos, they have a limitation inherent to such content; they tend to be linear and difficult to change once published.  In order for them to be more useful to students, the teacher often may want some control over the content so she is not stuck with what the creator of the video created or intended.
  • She may want to use only a part of the content of the video, and then link it to another part of another video
  • She may want to add some questions or additional content to the video
  • She may want her students to create a project that is like a collage - containing parts of videos they find and stitch together.
The good news is that there are now many services that are popping up to help

TedEd has a beta project called Lessons Worth Sharing that allows you to flip a YouTube video and add questions, resources and discussions.  Here is a screenshot of one of the most popular flipped videos

YouTube has a somewhat similar capability to ask questions that pop up during the video.  You can find more information here.

I just found out about Weavly which allows you to do online drag and drop editing and trimming of videos from YouTube and audio from SoundCloud.  You can interpose text to add questions and comments.  

Recently James Sousa of Phoenix College made his fabulous collection of mathematics videos available via Creative Commons by attribution license.  I have looked a some and they appear to be higher quality content than some of the Khan Academy videos with nice graphics, models and animations.  

Looking at one of the videos on Similar and Congruent triangles, I was struck by the questions I had above.  The content starts with basic concepts of congruent triangles and moves on to similar triangles and several numerical exercises.  It then comes to the application of using this to find the height of a building or a tree.  What if the teacher who wants to reuse the video in her class, wants to actually present the practical problem of finding the height of the tree first and then allow the students to think about which math concept would help them solve this?  And then present some clues and then allow them to view the basic concepts if they want?  

Well Weavly can help you do this.  Here is my 10 minute effort on flipping this video.  

You can try out Weavly here.  It is free and does not need a manual to get started.
As more Open Education Resources (OER) become available, educators will need to stay current not just with the OERs but also tools that can help them customize these for their own learners or create projects for learners to customize these for themselves and peers.

Since I posted this, I found out about Mozilla Popcorn Maker which appears to be a terrific tool.  Here is a clip of a flipped TEDTalk.