OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others —The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
(“What is OER?“).
The Open Educational Resource movement has helped promote the dissemination of educational resources via the web, so more people can have access to quality curriculum at virtually no cost.
The first generation of OER initiatives (OER 1.0) focused on transferring material that had original been conceived for use in a non-digital, print-based environment. The next generation (OER 2.0) will continue this, but will also will leverage the unique qualities of the internet by providing access to interactive learning modules (ILMs). A good definition of an ILM is “a discrete, digital, interactive instructional resource used to teach a specific learning objective ” (Shank 2014). Using these tools, students can “learn by doing”–applying what they know and practicing their skills in a digital environment which can provide instant feedback.
For decades, educational research has conclusively established that people learn best when are making decisions, performing actions and getting feedback–as opposed to passively listening and watching (which is what they spend a great deal of time doing in conventional educational settings). In the age of mobile technology, well-designed ILMs provide opportunities for deep learning to anyone with access to the internet. Education no longer requires a particular location–a physical classroom or library. Now any space can become a quality learning space.
While some of the ILMs on this site adhere to both the free use and repurposing principles articulated in the statement above from the Hewlett Foundation (example here), there are a great many other free educational resources on the web that still retain some copyright protection (example here).
It is the contention of OER Interactive that both varieties of ILM needed to be acknowledged if we are make progress in bringing about a more robust and empowering learning culture.
The purpose of this site is to aggregate as many quality ILMs as possible so it easier for people to find them. Given the growing importance of mobile learning, this site will make a particular effort to identify ILMs that work effectively on mobile devices.
That’s pretty much it. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
Yours in Open/Free Learning,
Peter Shea, J.M. Grenier