The round table ‘OER – Experiences, benefits, challenges, open issues and future steps’ took place on December 19, 11.00 am at the Conference and Study Center of the National & University Library ‘St. Kliment Ohridski’ – Skopje. The Alliance for Open Educational Resources was presented at the event supported by the Metamorphosis Foundation, attended by 35 participants from primary and secondary schools, universities, libraries, non-governmental organizations and public institutions.
The roundtable began with a presentation of Mrs. Lidija Topuzovska from the National Commission for UNESCO of Macedonia, who talked about UNESCO’s projects and programs for open education. She noted that we are in the UNESCO Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, and spoke about the UNESCO clubs and efforts to translate several UNESCO guides in local languages, including the guide: World Heritage in Young Hands.
Mrs. Marina Vasileva from the primary school ‘Sts. Cyril and Methodius’ in Skopje, presented the efforts to incorporate innovative ways of learning through the use of OER in primary education and the project Grandma’s games which is actually a digitization of old children’s games , enabling physical activity through digital games. She mentioned cartoons as a means that can also serve as OER. She completed her presentation with a call for more conferences and institutional support for the OER concept and idea.
Mrs. Olga Samardjic Jankova presented the efforts of the ‘Open the windows’ association, and noted that everything they produce with their work is available and accessible. In fact, she noted that people with disabilities are a heterogeneous group with a greater need for education and adjustment of resources, access and special technology. She also mentioned the commercial resources available and their open alternative which is free.
As a representative of the Economic Institute (‘Sts. Cyril and Methodius’ University Skopje) Mr. Zoran Janevski presented the situation in higher education, highlighting the lack of resources available for higher education. He cited the lack of funds as a possible hindrance for the greater production of resources and for conducting surveys with financial implications. Open educational resources represent a way to access additional literature.
Elena Ignatova from the Metamorphosis Foundation presented the Creative Commons licenses as a tool for creating OER without completely giving up copyright. She highlighted the most common error made when resources are shared online – the assumption that with the publication of the resource on the internet, it is automatically shared as an open resource, but in fact – if the license enabling sharing is not actually selected, or if it is not listed by the service through which resources are shared, the resource is actually published under full copyright protection. The Creative Commons licenses are a great way to share a resource, at the same time providing you with the opportunity to be specified as the author of the original work for further use.
Mrs. Zaklina Gestakovska Aleksovska from the Association of Advisors for Career Development ASK spoke about career counseling and career development, and how open educational resources can be used for self-assessment and further improvement of our skills and career path.
After the keynote presentations, attendees shared their experiences and exchanged ideas and recommendations for the development of education and open educational resources.
- These were some of the issues that remained open during the discussion of the participants:
- The lack of sustainability of the projects for Open Educational Resources is a challenge when it comes to guaranteeing that they would continue to exist after their official completion;
- The familiarization of teachers with the OER Initiative is a complex process, users need to be motivated to visit this platform instead of using Facebook as a platform for communication and sharing;
- Piracy as a challenge, when it comes to awareness raising about OER and appreciation.
Some of the recommendations given at the end of the round table:
- An open educational resource is not an open educational resource if it is not available on the internet;
- It is necessary to make a correlation between the Ministry of Education, open educational resources and legislative initiatives;
- Many creative teachers and creative students must have a chance to demonstrate their potential in creating resources by establishing a link with the Bureau of Education Development;
- Resources created by children during the educational process should be acknowledged as their copyright works and be published with institutional support with the help of teachers who would edit the work and filter the content;
- The media can be used as a means for OER promotion;
- The www.oer.mk website can be a sustainable catalyst and aggregator of resources, and a place where everyone can share, download and rate resources.
The complete album with photos from the event is available at Metamorphosis Foundation’s Flickr profile.