The Council of the European Union, comprised of Ministers of member states, debated last week on the topic „Open Educational Resources and digital learning.” The debate was held during the meeting of the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council on the 25-26th of November.
The meeting was related to the Commission’s „Opening Up Education” initiative, which was launched at the end of September and in which the development of OER policies plays a key role. Yet the scope of debate at the Council meeting was broader, and didn’t seem to be well connected to the “Opening Up Education” project. The Council did not provide a written conclusion on the matter. Based on limited available information (see the minutes of the meeting, p. 10), it seems that the Council focused primarily on broad issues related to digital learning and MOOCs (which are drawing significant attention from the public as well as policy makers).
Similarly, the brief position paper prepared by the Lithuanian Presidency, titled „Presidency Discussion Paper: Open Educational resources and digital learning”, does not provide a substantial viewpoint on OER. It lists advantages and challenges, and suggests that „time is ripe for a debate at European level on the opportunities and challenges which Open Educational Resources will undoubtedly bring”.
The „Opening Up Education” communication provides a much stronger view of OER as advantageous for education in Europe. It’s good news that representatives of the Ministries of Education are discussing OERs. But if the Council meeting is treated as a sample, there is still much work needed at the national level, so that policymakers are provided with a clear sense of the benefits of open education and the role of OERs within digital learning frameworks.
(Short report from the meeting is available on the Open Education Europa portal).
If you’re scurrying for gifts this year, consider giving open. We’ve put together this list of a few of our favorite openly licensed gifts. What did we miss? Add your favorites to the comments.Sita Sings the Blues merchandise
Not only is Sita a great film, but it has some of the most unique and beautiful merchandise ever. I’ve actually always thought this was the success of her business model – having things people actually want to buy. I’ve always been particularly fond of the peacock phonograph pendant. Review by Jessica Coatesxkcd volume 0
The first collection of the best geek comic out there. There’s something for everyone in this volume, whether they’re a lover, a gamer or a mathematician. There’s even something for us copyright geeks, with the complete adventures of Doctorow, Lessig, et al in their complete superhero garb. Review by Jessica Coates">Open Design Now
Open Design Now is been one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve read this year on openness. It’s available for free online under a Creative Commons license or available for purchase as a hard copy. Highly recommended read for anyone interested in the intersection of open design and physical objects. Review by Paul StaceyThis Stool Rocks
Yup, it’s a rocking stool. It’s such an elegant innovation in design that once you see it, you wonder why it took so long for someone to think of it. If you have access to a CNC machine, you can download the CC-licensed design and build your own. Assmbly will make one for you, and even carve your logo on the seat, but order now: there’s a waiting list. Review by Elliot HarmonCards Against Humanity
One of the best card games out there, perfect for long nights with good friends and a bottle of whisky. Like Apples for Apples, but far more surreal and less suitable for children. Download the whole thing from their website and spend hours turning it into a neat game; or ">just shell out $25 and get the pretty one to begin with. Also available in Spanish, Dutch, pirate and many other languages thanks to its CC license and fan translations. Review by Jessica CoatesPhylo
The Phylo trading card game is a CC licensed online initiative aimed at creating a Pokemon-like resource but using photos of real animals and plants as a means of helping children learn about biodiversity. Review by Paul StaceyGroup Works
Sticking with cards, I also really like the Group Works pattern cards. These are really useful for anyone who plans meetings, conferences, retreats, and other group sessions. If you are a facilitator, these cards help you plan and create meaningful events. You can download the free, CC-licensed deck or purchase one. Review by Paul StaceyDead Unicorn: Pandemic
Dead Unicorn makes melodic pop-punk music that’s surprisingly fun, given their fixation on writing songs about disease. They’re also the guys behind my favorite “about CC” video ever. Earlier this year, the band Kickstarted Pandemic and printed a limited run on colored vinyl (they identify the color as “piss yellow.”) Give it to your weird nephew who thinks you aren’t cool. Review by Elliot HarmonPublic Domain Review prints
If you’re not already following The Public Domain Review (a project of our friends at The Open Knowledge Foundation), you should be. Every day, they post a new find from the endless supply of public domain treasures and oddities. This year, the PDR launched a store full of public domain goodies to help raise money. My favorite is the print of an 1887 woodcut designed to teach Japanese children English words. Review by Elliot HarmonTeam Open trading cards
Of course we had to sneak ourselves onto this list. We worked with the webcartoonist Luke Surl on the drawings for our Team Open interview project. We think he perfectly captured the spirit of the subjects we interviewed. Everyone who donates $25 (USD) or more to CC gets their own complete set of trading cards.