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Developing freely available learning materials together: digital workshop to conclude the OER@IPN project.

January 19th, 2022

The IPN has established the OER portal fOERde in the project OER@IPN with support from funds of the Leibniz competition and in cooperation with Kiel University. The portal makes teaching materials available free of charge, and the materials can be edited and thus further developed by users. The goals of the fOERde project were:

  • to provide exemplary research-based and educationally embedded materials as OER (Open Educational Resources) for selected concepts and topics.
  • to further develop materials collaboratively via collaborative communities of practice and to initiate a (virtual) culture of editing, modifying, and sharing materials
  • to establish a long-term active cooperation of subject specific educational research and teaching practice based on these findings about OER.

Representatives of OER initiatives in Germany accepted the IPN's invitation to discuss the current state of Open Educational Resources in the school sector and to outline ideas for future developments at the conclusion of the project on January 11, 2022. In brief presentations, various projects presented existing approaches to collaboration and networking in the context of OER, but also identified common challenges such as quality assurance of materials, competition from AI-based search engines, and the need for a cultural change towards more openness and collaboration. "Overall, the workshop revealed a great interest in further strengthening collaboration and networking. One of the main goals must certainly be to win teachers as active participants who further develop and share teaching materials and thus really unlock the potential of OER," says Prof. Dr. Ilka Parchmann, project leader of OER@IPN and director of the Department of Didactics of Chemistry at IPN.

Prospects for concrete further cooperation could be seen particularly in the area of quality assurance. For example, there was much discussion about establishing a joint peer review process for OER materials. Closer cooperation between the editorial teams of the various portals, which coordinate and accompany the publication process of the materials, could make better use of expertise and thus create synergies.

The IPN project, with its specific focus on the transfer of research into teaching practice, fits in well here. "With its approach of providing teachers with research-based teaching materials as OER that exemplify the implementation of established subject didactic concepts, and further developing these materials in collaboration between research and practice, the project fills a niche that distinguishes it from other initiatives in this field," says Parchmann, summarizing the project's role.