10 SES 03 D, Research on Values, Beliefs & Understandings in Teacher Education
Open Educational Resources (OER) have undoubtedly influenced the European educational landscape. Ever since their first emergence at the UNESCO’s 2002 Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education in Developing Countries, the value and importance of OER for the broader field of education have become evident (Clements, Pawlowski, & Manouselis, 2015). The main purpose of the use of OER is to facilitate access to education and to enable collaborative and participatory teaching and learning. OER are expected to broaden access to education, to reduce the costs of materials and to improve the overall quality of education. Findings from initiatives like the OER research hub in the UK underscore these benefits (Farrow et al., 2015). The growing prominence of OER has entailed the creation of several repositories, mainly in the US and Europe, that make O widely available and allow users to find, create and share OER (Santos-Hermosa, Ferran-Ferrer, & Abadal, 2017).
The above-mentioned advantages suggest that teachers represent a promising target group for OER and can benefit from its use in their educational practice. Teacher education thus serves as a vehicle to raise awareness among teachers and train them to use OER in their classrooms.
However, although several repositories for teachers exist worldwide, distribution and penetration of OER in teacher education are low. Whilst research worldwide on the perception of and barriers towards the use of OER has grown in the field of higher education (Belikov & Bodily, 2016; Perryman & Seal, 2016), little is known about current challenges in the field of teacher education, especially from a European perspective (Schuwer & Janssen, 2018). Understanding the matter is crucial as teachers are one of the most important stakeholders in the OER ecosystem (Mishra, 2017). Hitherto, research at all educational levels predominantly circles around defining OER, content and forms of OER, technological features of OER and the importance of the issue or the lack thereof.
This paper examines the following question: What are barriers and prospects for teachers to use OER in Germany?
Yet, there is a gap between the broad availability of OER (repositories) and its limited use in teaching. The approach to explain this gap is twofold: As a first proximate cause, teachers’ attitudes are investigated. In short, attitudes describe a positive or negative evaluation of a person towards an individual, place, thing, or event (Eagly & Chaiken, 1993). A definition widely accepted in the literature is that attitudes are objects comprising “anything a person may hold in mind, ranging from the mundane to the abstract, including things, people, groups, and ideas” (Bohner & Dickel, 2010). Regarding the attitudes structure of a person, Rosenberg and Hovland have identified a taxonomy of responses which contains a cognitive (knowledge), an affective (feeling and emotions) and a behavioural (action) component (1960). As a second cause, broader contextual factors are determined, such as the lack of time, legal uncertainties and institutional barriers.
In terms of data collection, the research project is based on two expert interviews and questionnaires with teaching students.
To answer the research question and to empirically test the expected influence of the proximate and broader contextual causes, the paper is based on a mixed method approach. It amalgamated two semi-structured expert interviews with a structured questionnaire. This combination is often used in mixed method studies to generate confirmatory results (Guest, 2013). The first expert interview was conducted with a staff member of the Institute for Film and Image in Science and Education (FWU). The focus of the FWU is on the production of high-quality online media, films and working materials for school lessons and for all class levels. On behalf of the German federal states, the FWU performs tasks ranging from media distribution to media education projects. The second interview partner was a staff member from the Leibniz Institute for Educational Research and Information (DIPF) and works at the DIPF's Information Centre for Education (IZB) and coordinates the information centre OERinfo at the German Education Server. Both expert interviews were evaluated by means of a summative qualitative content analysis (Mayring, 2000). The method is carried out in four steps, in which the material is first paraphrased, then successively and rule-based reduced to the essentials and finally summarized over several statements. The questionnaire was designed to yield students’ attitudes towards OER. It contains three sections, each of which captures one component of attitudes (cognitive, affective, behavioural). Moreover, teachers were asked about the main barriers to using OER in practice. For data collection, the questionnaire was distributed in workshops and trainings during the course of the teacher education studies. The relevant sample included all events which, directly or indirectly, dealt with OER. The underlying basic assumption is that teacher education serves as an ideal time of intervention to sensitize and train teachers in the use of OER.
The evaluation of the interviews indicates that the main barriers for OER in teacher education are rooted in time famine, missing data pooling of material, legal uncertainties and a lack of technical expertise. These findings are confirmed by the preliminary results of the student teachers’ questionnaires. In this respect, the empirical findings mostly concur with studies from other educational sectors (Farrow et al., 2015). In terms of teachers’ attitudes, the preliminary findings of the questionnaire suggest that barriers are predominantly rooted in the behavioural component. Whilst the data collected so far reveals high amplitudes for the affective and moderate for the cognitive component, teachers indicate an intention but do not make actual use of OER in their practice. This paradox can be explained by a classical intention-behaviour gap (Sheeran & Webb, 2016). Although the attitudes of teachers towards sharing in general and OER in particular are positive, the behavioural component reveals that seldomly OER are actively used in educational practice. Reconciling these results with the findings of the expert interviews, it can be stated that the broader contextual influences perpetuated in teacher education at least exacerbate teachers’ use of OER. To sum up, bridging the intention behaviour gap is advisable to foster a culture of exchange not only towards OER. Making the use, creation and sharing of OER a fixed part of the curriculum in teacher education studies is a promising recommendation to enhance its relevance. Notwithstanding the latter, the dismantling of broader contextual obstacles is auspicious and conditional to entrenching and extending OER in teacher education.
Belikov, O. M., & Bodily, R. (2016). Incentives and barriers to OER adoption: A qualitative analysis of faculty perceptions. Open Praxis, 8(3), 235–246. https://doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.8.3.308 Bohner, G., & Dickel, N. (2010). Attitudes and Attitude Change. Annual Review of Psychology, 62(1), 391–417. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.121208.131609 Clements, K., Pawlowski, J., & Manouselis, N. (2015). Open educational resources repositories literature review - Towards a comprehensive quality approaches framework. Computers in Human Behavior, 51, 1098–1106. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.03.026 Eagly, A., & Chaiken, S. (1993). The psychology of attitudes. The psychology of attitudes. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.80.115331 Farrow, R., Pitt, R., De Los Arcos, B., Perryman, L. A., Weller, M., & McAndrew, P. (2015, September 1). Impact of OER use on teaching and learning: Data from OER Research Hub (2013-2014). British Journal of Educational Technology. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (10.1111). https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12310 Guest, G. (2013, April 4). Describing Mixed Methods Research: An Alternative to Typologies. Journal of Mixed Methods Research. SAGE PublicationsSage CA: Los Angeles, CA. https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689812461179 Mayring. (2000). Qualitative Content Analysis. Forum Qualitative Social Reseach, 1(2), 10. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1479-3709(07)11003-7 Mishra, S. (2017). Open educational resources: removing barriers from within. Distance Education. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.1080/01587919.2017.1369350 Perryman, L.-A., & Seal, T. (2016). Open Educational Practices and Attitudes to Openness across India: Reporting the Findings of the Open Education Research Hub Pan-India Survey. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2016(1). https://doi.org/10.5334/jime.416 Rosenberg, M. J., & Hovland, C. I. (1960). Cognitive, affective, and behavioral components of attitudes. In M. J. Rosenberg (Ed.), Attidute Organization and Change (Vol. Yale studi, pp. 1–14). New Haven: Yale University Press. Santos-Hermosa, G., Ferran-Ferrer, N., & Abadal, E. (2017). Repositories of open educational resources: An assessment of reuse and educational aspects. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 18(5), 84–120. https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v18i5.3063 Schuwer, R., & Janssen, B. (2018). Adoption of sharing and reuse of open resources by educators in higher education institutions in the Netherlands: A qualitative research of practices, motives, and conditions. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 19(3), 1151–1171. https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v19i3.3390 Sheeran, P., & Webb, T. L. (2016). The Intention–Behavior Gap. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 10(9), 503–518. https://doi.org/10.1111/spc3.12265
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