Here is a link to the winning three-minute short from the Why Open Education Matters video competition I helped organize during my service as a Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Education. I’m quite proud of this video. It does a great job, as do the two runners-up and many others that were entered into the competition, to illuminate the promise inherent in Open Education Resources (OER).
The main reason I promoted this competition was to develop communications vehicles that could cut thru the clutter and noise and disinformation that serves to preserve the status quo. As a government official I grew distressed — even somewhat depressed — over time when I could not get others to pay sufficient attention to the compelling arguments in favor of OER. I figured if we, or someone, could come up with some videos that make the case as obvious as it truly is then policymakers will have no other choice and will increasingly be embarrassed if they act as if they don’t understand what OER is or why it matters.
The creation, use and continuous improvement of OER measurably strengthens the quality of teaching and learning and also makes it possible to redirect scarce financial resources toward more pressing educational needs. Those other needs include higher salaries for teachers, more effective professional development for teachers, access to digital devices and broadband for every student, improved counseling, home visits and a host of other interventions that are far more useful than closed, proprietary, old-fashioned textbooks or costly online resources with passwords that students or schools much regularly repurchase. When it comes to how we support student learning, public policy is at a crossroads. This video makes the stakes and the opportunity to think in new ways so apparent it can no longer be ignored.