Tech Be Nimble
I've written about open educational resources before (here and here), but I haven't come across a lot of research into the effectiveness of OER materials. It's an emerging field, but it's nice to see some quality research starting to come out as more and more schools adopt OER materials on a large enough scale to give us good sample sizes. This study comes from Robinson et al. (2014) and looks at a district in Utah using OER textbooks for secondary science. The authors found that students (n=3,780) did the same or better with OER textbooks as with Major Publisher textbooks.
It makes me wonder how quickly this trend might spread, with districts everywhere tightening belts and moving toward digital content delivery--why not have state DOEs develop their own materials and leave the publishing companies out of the equation?
And I love that Sage is sharing this article in an open access format. It's like they get it!
I came across an interesting article over on Geek Wire about the explosive growth of the ed tech industry. Frank Catalano does a nice job of putting this emerging market into perspective. Ed tech is certainly in a period of rapid expansion, but compared to a non-educational tech startup (e.g., Uber), ed tech has a long way to go. Maybe ed tech investors just haven't realized the money they're leaving on the table. When you look at Pearson's global reach and deep pockets, it seems hard to believe that the market for ed tech isn't even more massive.
Oh, but wait! Pearson has dubbed 2015 the "Year of the Learner" and they're promising a "dawning era [that] will involve the consumerization of the classroom as well as educational products, tools, and resources." Because we all know that the more money we spend delivering instruction, the smarter our students will be (<<this last link is one of my favorite infographics; no extra reading required).
Needs change. Technology changes. The best educational technology stays nimble.