Every child deserves access to quality education. This is emboldened in the mission of the Department of Education (DepEd) to protect and promote the right of every Filipino to quality, equitable, culture-based, and complete basic education where students learn in a child-friendly, gender-sensitive, safe, and motivating environment, and teachers facilitate learning and constantly nurture every learner.
Quality education need not be expensive. Teachers can find a way to facilitate learning and be unwavering in their pursuit to nurture each learner.
Yet the reality of textbooks and other printed materials increasing in price hurts the students’ learning. There are studies and articles citing that families have to choose between buying textbooks or to feed their family and pay bills.1 With this urgent and very real concern, there is a high risk of students performing poorly and having low rates of completion of their basic education.
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WHAT IS OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES (OER)?
In as early as 2002, Open Educational Resources (OERs) were introduced as a very potent tool for enhancing the quality of and access to education. OERs, with its inherent purpose, reduce costs by reusing learning materials.
The use of OER results in tremendous cost savings to benefit families of students as well as impact their performance and completion rates in school.
A brief released in October 2015 on a study financed under Regional Technical Assistance (TA8503 REG): Partnership for Innovation in Education in Asia and the Pacific, Asian Development Bank, Manila, reviewed the uptake of OERs and related activities in six institutions in Hong Kong, China, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Thailand.5 Detailed Key Findings in each of the six case studies may be found in the Additional Reading section at the end of this document.
SO WHY OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES (OER) FOR DEPED?
With the advent of DepEd’s Digital Rise Program, among the success factors to provide ICT-Assisted Learning and support the Curriculum Strand with their ICT needs is weaved in the realization of the significance of the OERs.
The Digital Rise Program emphasizes the necessity to develop and enhance the digital literacy skills amongst teachers and learners.
OER is a declaration influenced by Article 26 of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights which says that “Everyone has the right to education,” and Article 13.1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which “recognize the right of everyone to education.”
Considering the geographical terrain and locations of remote islands in the Philippines, there is a widening gap in terms of having equal access and opportunity with the aid of technology. Embracing the use of OER will solve challenges encountered by the public school system most specially the Last Mile Schools in terms of access to learning materials and skills to create or reuse contents.
The use of OER is widely applied in countries which have no internet connectivity due to different scenarios such as armed conflicts, refugees from war zones, geographically isolated areas, and those who are affected by natural disasters. OER is a different pathway of using technology in making the disconnected schools connected. It makes education more accessible to those in seemingly difficult to reach locations and challenging situations.
OER also allows teachers to create material that is customized for their classes. Where most textbooks and printed materials have their strengths and weaknesses, OER has the following advantages:
- OER material allows teachers to pull only substantial notes or topics as materials for their sets of learners. Since the presentation of OER is more flexible, teachers are able to customize content to fit the learning needs and goals of learners.
- While OER gives teachers the freedom to create material, OER presents an opportunity to have one’s own materials improved and enhanced along the way. By allowing a material to be modified by other teachers in the DepEd community, an OER creator has a spectrum of how a material evolves in ways never imagined. With more eyes, there are more valuable aspects to be seen. With more minds, better learning experiences for our learners are created. New sections and activities can be added and enhanced creating a more powerful collection of work that further enriches the original. This type of culture and collaboration is simply not possible if materials are only in print, waiting for a new edition.
- With OER, a teacher is able to reuse, create, collaborate, and contextualize. Teachers have a wide variety of material to draw and build upon for their own classes without having to start from scratch and are allowed to collaborate with colleagues from different parts of the country and even the world.
The Office of the Undersecretary for Administration (OUA) and the Information and Communications Technology Service (ICTS), in their
commitment to deEver ways and means to support the requirements of the Curriculum & Instruction (CI) Strand by using the latest technologies, will transform teachers and learners to be globally competitive and have the skills at par with neighboring countries in the South East Asian region.
Thus, it is high time that the Philippines, thru the DepEd, take advantage and support the use of OER to revolutionize the Philippine Education System to promote equitable and quality education for all Filipino Learners.
HOW DO WE GO ABOUT EMBRACING OER?
The DepEd Digital Rise Program, a transformational development program, focuses on the enhancement and proper utilization of educational technology in support to all types of teaching-learning environment.
Much attention will be given to the capacity building program for teachers, administrators, and school heads in redefining their role in the new trend of delivering instructions using the latest available technology tools. The strategic implementation to achieve the baseline skills of teachers for e-Leaming will initially pave way for the use of OERs as another pathway to connect the disconnected schools. The committed and continued efforts to provide professional development programs to teachers will address the widening digital divide in the country as nationwide clustered trainings have been and will continue to be conducted to support teachers and learners most especially in the Last Mile Schools.
The utilization of OER materials will promote and support the following:
- The mapping of existing OERs to the curriculum and preloading in DCP packages to make them available to teachers and learners even without internet.
- The creation of interactive e-Learning modules which can be used both online and offline to support the localization of contents in the Philippine context, values, culture, and traditions in coordination with subject field experts.
- The creation of rich-content materials which is supported by multimedia tools to increase learners’ engagement and support learners’with disabilities.
- The capacity building of teacher’s digital literacy skills will be highly enhanced by using different OER e-learning software.
- The promotion of a child-friendly technological environment by providing access to latest ICT tools and supplementary learning materials as an offline e-Library.
There are a multitude of organizations, sites, universities, and the OER movement that offer and freely open its vast collection of materials such as:
- https: //pitt.libguides.com/openeducation/biglist
However, the volume of OER may overwhelm a teacher and may not know how to begin with little or no orientation or training. DepEd’s OER Training Team will initially introduce the use of OER with the essential tools and technology for better appreciation of the project and to provide guidance for teachers to maximize the available content.
COMPONENTS OF DEPED’s OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES (OER) MATERIALS:
The DepEd OER Project, may begin using the following components/tools:
- Kiwix – This is the offline version of the original Wikipedia 2016 which is not editable. (Wikivoyage, Wikispecies, Wiktionary, Wiki for Schools and Business, etc.)
- KA Lite – This is the offline version of Khan Academy which supports subjects in English, Arts and Humanities, Sciences, and Math.
- FTP Version – The offline version of Raspberry Pi-Rachel which includes numerous OER materials to support different learners in all ages.
- Kolibri – This is a Python-enabled software which houses numerous OER materials. The software enables any teacher to conduct wireless classes even if there is no internet connection.
- Moodle – This is an open-source Learning Management System that allows offline assessment evaluation with the use of host server component like the Kolibri.
- CourseLab 2.4 – An open-source e-learning creation software that creates any flat learning resources responsive in real-time. It has multimedia object elements that can support any learning environment.
- Wondershare Quiz Creator – A quizzing application that creates interactive responsive quizzes/assessment that is teacher-friendly.
As the project goes on and many teachers gain the skills to use, create, remix, and redistribute materials, the tools and the OER’s may increase exponentially and bring about revolutionary change in the teaching-learning process.
WHY DISCOURAGE THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is the easiest medium to deliver information in this digital age using the latest on-hand technologies. However, it opens one’s identity to the world wide web making young learners exposed to different cyber threats. Social media as a tool for collaboration and communication could defeat its purpose if not used properly and may cause serious problems. It can also be a tool that could provide gaming applications, marketplace or online services, and viewing
of different multimedia content which are not appropriate to the level of maturity of young learners.
The use of social media in the classroom could promote any or all of the following problems that the school may not be aware of or be caught unprepared for:
- Social media has a group chat feature that has adult content which can elicit malicious and incorrect values to learners;
- Social media may open doors for cyber-bullying, identity-theft, online gambling, pornography, and market fraud that can cause self-isolation, humiliation, and trauma;
- Social media can affect the study habits of learners. They can be distracted with the many available materials posted on social media; and
- Social media can result in deceit of parents because children who are attracted to social media can easily say that they are waiting for the teacher’s assignment post. Eventually it could result to poor performance in school and poor value formation.
In the case of Facebook, it requires everyone to be at least 13 years old (usually 7th Graders) before they can create an account. Creating an account with false information is a violation of terms. This includes accounts registered on the behalf of someone under 13. With this legal impediment, all elementary students, 6th Graders and below, are legally barred from using this social media platform.
But even if 7th to 12th Graders are allowed to use Facebook and other social media platforms, there is a proper medium for schools to use in disseminating assignments, test materials, and even instructional tools for e-learning mode of lesson delivery. Social media is not the proper outlet to support the needs of learners. Likewise, the use of project-based “likes” in social media is highly discouraged or outrightly prohibited as it does not entail a deep sense of linkage in the mastery of lessons and skills and reinforces a distorted concept of the learning process.
There are existing open-source Learning Management Systems (LMS) like Edmodo, Schoology, Google Classroom, Nearpod, and Socrative that schools can use to support the e-learning requirements of an institution. They perform functions appropriate for educational purpose and features to support the delivery of instruction and learning materials inside and/or outside of the classroom.
Academic institutions should learn and invest in capacitating their teachers to understand the use and advantages of pertinent technologies and create a more child-friendly and safe environment free from risks of cyber threats. Digital literacy is highly emphasized in DepEd’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) capacity-building program for teachers to lead them with the beneficial and befitting use of tools and technologies.
ICT is inevitably surrounding us in this Information Age. Social media may be the brightest innovation of this era but educators must look at the bigger picture where the reality if that social media in itself is not the proper medium for schools to use especially in connection to the delivery of lessons especially since there are many options specifically designed for educational use.
By promoting OER, DepEd supports its ideals and aspirations in providing accessible, quality, and liberating education for its 21st Century learners. DepEd will provide the public schools system with the best Learning Management System (LMS) that could host the instructional support for curriculum and instruction requirements.
WHO INITIATES OER?
Last 12-14 March 2019 during the 1st DepEd Cyber Expo, a presentation about OER emphasized its applicability, benefits, essence, and utilization in schools. The continued efforts of this administration to address current issues of the public school system such as the maximum use of technology in the classroom, lack of instructional supplementary materials, and professional development program of teachers in using ICT effectively were highlighted. OER is the first offshoot project of the Digital Rise Program in providing quality, accessible, relevant and liberating education.
A DepEd OER Training Team was initially created based on the ideals and aspirations to bridge the digital divide and empower the educational technology skills, perceptions, and practices in DepEd. The Public Schools of the Future’s Digital Rise addresses the changing needs of time by adopting a new policy direction in transforming education. The adoption of a strong foundational framework and support in educational technology in accordance with the premise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR) reveals the redefinition of teaching practices with the use of technology to leverage the support in curriculum and instruction. The Philippine public education system lead by DepEd is suitably preparing learners to thrive in this dynamic new world of technology. However, the front iners of the department must be capacitated to fulfill this vision and dreams.
As part of the initial steps in realizing the goals of the Digital Rise and in line with the promotion of OERs, a nationwide training-workshop in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was held last May 2019 to empower subject experts and school ICT coordinators in the use and curation of OER interactive offline e-learning materials. Likewise, division-wide capacity building programs in San Carlos City Division and La Union Division were conducted to promote the advocacy and advantages of using OER to revolutionize and transform education in this era of Information Age.
To date, about 3,463 teachers have been trained on the use of OER, and their number is growing exponentially every minute. Soon, categories of DepEd Digital Rise Certified Teachers will be realized as these capacitated teachers are marching slowly towards being plain educators to being champions and transformers.
CATEGORIES OF DEPED OER MEMBERS
DepEd Digital Rise Certified Educator – This certification is granted to teachers, administrators, school-heads and Educational Technology (EdTEch) enthusiasts who have been trained in the use of OERs. They serve as co-facilitators in a school/division/regional training about educational technology or OER.
DepEd Digital Rise Certified Champion – This certification is awarded to a Certified Educator who undertakes the following:
a. Conducted classroom-based research about the effective use and practices of educational technology or OER in the teaching-learning process;
b. Conducted orientations about educational technology or OER; and
c. Trained public school teachers in the use of educational technology or OER.
DepEd Digital Rise Certified Transformer – This certification is awarded to a Certified Champion who undertakes the following:
a. Created an OER instructional tool/ material which is considered as a nationwide rich-source content; and
b. Served as lead trainers in a school/ division/ regional training on educational technology or OER.
I AM INTERESTED TO LEARN ABOUT AND USE OER, HOW DO I BEGIN?
Go to Workplace
To learn more about OER, visit and join the OUAP OER EXCHANGE group at DepEd Workplace. In this group, members will be able to receive the latest updates, schedules of free training-workshops, and innovative ideas about educational technology and how will it can help develop 21st Century Educators.
Open Learning Invitation
Interested division offices can send a letter of request addressed to the Undersecretary for Administration to conduct a roll-out training program which will be headed by the DepEd OER Training Team. Send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. ph
Contact any of the following DepEd OER Training Team Members: They may be reached in the central, regional and division offices, or thru email and Workplace.
Send an email to email@example.com for training-workshop requests, queries, updates, and other related educational technology concerns.
DEPED ADMINISTRATION AND CURRICULUM & INSTRUCTION STRANDS’ PARTNERSHIP IN EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY
To further strengthen and sustain the program of the department with emerging technologies, designs, and innovations, a proposal in setting-up a new unit for Educational Technology in the Central Office, Regional Offices, Division Offices, District and Schools Levels is envisioned. Numerous countries who have engaged in adapting the application of ICT in the classroom set-up have already established separate units to support and merge the requirements of curriculum and instruction together with information and communications technology.
As part of one DepEd family, the Curriculum and Instruction Strand has jurisdiction over contents and curriculum while the OUA-ICTS is an advocate and enabler in the use of ICT in teaching and learning. The latter provides the supplementary support and assistance for quick access to learning resources and technological skills are provided in addressing the requirements of the K-12 Curriculum, the DepEd 10-Point Agenda, and in attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal # 4.
OER, EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY: REVOLUTIONIZING EDUCATION
At present, the Office of the Undersecretary for Administration (oua) in coordination with the ICTS will revise the guidelines of DCP recipient schools following the aim of total transformative development amongst the teachers and administrators. The use and curation of OER materials will be one of the criteria in receiving complete packages of the latest ICT equipment and emerging technology tools in all public-schools in the country starting 2020.
Through the OER Project, far-reaching and limitless possibilities open up to our young Filipino learners. It is not rocket science to make use of what is ready for our teachers and learners. But it is the sincere willingness and openness of the Department of Education and this Administration to teach minds using technology, touch hearts with blazing imagination, and transform lives by becoming future-ready.
The future that DepEd envisions starts now. Join us in revolutionizing education.
Alain Del B. Pascua