SPOŁED Open Education Cooperative – MATHEMATICS

The SpołEd Open Education Cooperative is the result of a wide view of openness in education.

Why was the Open Education Cooperative founded?

Open education is a difficult but important issue. The world is changing so quickly that only flexible, open content used in the widest possible context can be a valuable educational resource.

The SpołEd Open Education Cooperative is the result of a wide view of openness in education. It grew from a strong belief that openness means cooperation, process, diversity, readiness for change, trust, courage and a willingness to experience something new.

The Cooperative’s focus is on a cooperation model for creating high-quality open educational resources(OZE). We want to improve the competences of the project’s participants when it comes to using digital tools in education, and increase their knowledge of copyrights, Creative Commons and free licenses. We invited 13 math teachers to participate in the six month pilot project.

Who are the participants and collaborators of the project's first edition?

Based on our observations, conversations and information we collected, we came to the conclusion that math is a subject that requires special attention in school. Mathematicians, who teach the subject considered to be the most important one in school, face public consent for ignoring it on the one hand and developing technology on the other.

We wanted to provide support for teachers who admit that their textbooks aren’t enough and that they make their own additional materialsin order to get through to their students better. We also wanted to show that collaboration can be beneficial on many levels.

This is what the teachers themselves wrote in the introduction to their resources:

We – a team of young math teachers, passionate about the subject, want to reach not only students, but also inspire instructors. We hope that our ideas will make users realize that mathematics is omnipresent, interesting, and can be learned in a fun way.

The participants had absolute freedom when it came to the topics they covered or how they worked. There were only two principles: the materials were to be made in groups and become open educational resources. During four meetings and additional remote collaboration they fine-tuned their topic and got to know design methods and technical solutions, all while learning about novelties from the education world. We invited collaborators, including designers, a graphic designer, an educationalist, a video specialist, an accessibility specialist and people who specialize in various education methods and tools.

Results

As a result of the project we created four extensive educational resources: “Smuggling math” – math classes for non-mathematicians; “Group work” – how to use group work during math classes; “Math in practice, or why are we learning this – logarithms” and a website called “App time” with descriptions of useful applications. As you can see from the titles, the teachers focused on the practical aspects of math on the one hand, and looked for topics and formats that could be useful to the largest possible group of educators on the other.

An online course called “Open education in practice”, based on materials developed during the pilot project, will be launched in October. It will be mentored by the teachers who participated in the project’s first edition.

The course is meant for all teachers who are just beginning their foray into openness, but also those who seek new inspirations and solutions.

Sponsors

The project is carried out with the financial support of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Open Society Foundations.