12 SES 06 JS, Challenges and Risks in Open Access, Open Educational Resources and Open Learning
Joint Paper Session NW 02, NW 06, NW 12, NW 30
Against the background of the raising complexity of societal global challenges three parallel developments could be observed: 1) education is attributed a central role to ensure a sustainable future, in the Sustainable Development Goals directly positioned after the reduction of poverty and hunger and the improvement of well-being and health on position four (UN 2016). 2) To ensure education in the breadth digitalization is more and more in the center of interest (e.g. in the form of Massive Open Online Courses or Open Educational Resources, Henderson & Ostashewski 2018, Wiley & Green 2012). 3) The global interconnectedness of societies challenges the local institution school in re-connecting with the world, apparent in pedagogical approaches like real-world learning, service learning, community based learning (e.g. Brundiers, Wiek & Redman 2009, Sanders 2003) in order to contribute to a sustainable development. This brings societal actors to the fore who are willing to shape actual issues for the school context, observable e.g. on the high raising publication rates of teaching material from non-governmental organizations, firms or associations. For the German context, Fey and Matthes (2015) could show a general increase from 854 to 17118 teaching materials in the internet between 2011 and 2013. In Germany, these materials have, in contrast to schoolbooks, no official quality check and approval procedure, what is both chance and challenge. At the same time, it is not much known about the use of these kinds of materials by German teachers (more widespread in international, e.g. Clements & Pawlowski 2011, Sawyer & Myers 2018, and higher education research, e.g. Nikoi & Armellini 2012, Winitzky-Stephens & Pickavance 2017). Fey and Matthes (2015) described for the German context in a quantitative survey that teacher often use this kind of material to consider actual and interesting themes. The teachers state the need to adapt the material or create it new, to make it fit for their learning groups (also e.g. Peacock & Gates 2000). This brings the skills of teachers and student teachers in the focus, as they are the “filter” for the material into classroom practice. The influence of the use of the internet in general and good technical equipment in school remains quite vague (Cuban, Kirkpatrick & Peck 2001, Sawyer & Myers 2018). What evaluation processes are relevant for German teachers with regard to teaching material from the internet, as the “filtering process”, is until now quite unclear, although there are quality criteria formulated in different contexts (relevant for the topic of the teaching material e.g SBE (Swiss Foundation for Education and Development) 2009). How are future teachers prepared for these kinds of media? The leading questions of the research presented here are: I) Which criteria do they specifically use to evaluate a concrete teaching material from the internet about an actual, political issue like refugees? II) What strategies do student teachers have to deal with this teaching material? An explorative research approach is used by analyzing group discussions of primary school teacher students about a teaching material dealing with refugees. A qualitative content analyses (Mayring 2015) offers an overview of criteria used by the students when dealing with the material. An interpretative approach oriented on the documentary method (Bohnsack, Pfaff & Weller 2010) allows insights in the different strategies of the student groups to look at the material. Conclusions can be drawn in the direction of common or different goals of publishers and teachers with producing or consuming these materials and secondly with regard to relevant knowledge the students would need to use the non-formal expertise of societal actors adequately.
In order to find responses to these questions, an explorative research approach was used. 12 student led group discussions had been conducted with primary school teacher students in two different German universities in six different seminar contexts. In sum approx. 50 students took part. The data was collected in 2016 until 2018. On a voluntary basis, the discussions were part of the seminars for basic science and social sciences (a specific subject in Germany that combines natural and social sciences in primary schools, the so called “Sachunterricht”) student teachers and took place during the seminar time, they took 45 up to 65 minutes. This target group is specifically interesting because with regard to the breadth and interdisciplinarity of the subject. They are specifically challenged to become acquainted with new phenomena, as it is impossible to introduce them during their studies to all natural or societal phenomena. The students prepared the discussions with familiarizing themselves with a teaching material about refugees. This is an actual issue in Germany against the background of the rapidly raising rate of newly arrived people in 2015, also as one area problematized in German schoolbooks (e.g. Grabbert 2010) and as an expertise field of non-governmental organizations (Kater-Wettstädt 2018). The students built the groups by themselves, between three to five students per group, and one student took voluntarily the role of the discussion lead. The researcher introduced them shortly into the procedure and the impulses. The basis for the discussions were mainly two open impulses asking for their experiences with refugees and migrants and second, which is in the focus of the presentation here, what they think about the material. The group discussions were transcribed and analyzed with two qualitative methods: On the one hand, a qualitative content analyses with inductive category development (Mayring 2015) to identify the criteria of the students; on the other hand, an interpretative approach oriented on the documentary method (Bohnsack, Pfaff & Weller 2010) to carve out the strategies of the groups to handle the material. The documentary method allows the reconstruction of explicit and implicit knowledge, whereby especially the implicit or tacit knowledge is assumed to structure everyday practices (Mannheim 1982) and is thus a coherent orientation scheme that has impact on their preparation or implementation action.
The first results of the content analyses show a broad range of criteria the students use. Despite criteria cluster, which are not discussed in all groups, six criteria clusters appeared in every group: 1) the fit and students friendliness, 2) the used instruction formats, 3) the feasibility or practicability, 4) the adequateness and sophistication of the contents, 5) presentation of a variety of perspectives and 6) the visual representation. Against the background of quality criteria, formulated from publishers’ side, many differences appear. The Swiss Foundation for Development and Education (SBE), for example, published evaluation criteria for education material in 2009. The differences already become apparent in the content cluster, where global context, sustainability aspects or relationship to the own everyday life are highlighted. Although the students in some seminars were introduced to educational concepts like global learning and education for sustainable development, not in one group discussion they refer to aspects of them. This could be discussed in two directions: 1) the different pedagogical “spheres” from publishers and schools could be carved out to identify what are common goals to produce or consume such materials. This would allow for a better bridge building from publisher or “filtering” process from teachers side. 2) The form of evaluation knowledge needed to use the outer school expertise adequately and its implementation in teacher education. With regard to this thought, it is remarkable that the cluster “transparency” with regard to learning goals or indication of sources is not shared in all groups as a relevant criterion, which questions the development of critical reception processes. In addition, the group discussions also reveal different strategies and foci when dealing with the material: one strategy seems to be more pragmatic oriented whereas another seems to be idealistic oriented, rather considering content specific challenges.
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