Open education is a global movement that has existed for a number of years and is continuing to grow. The concept is that education institutions such as schools, colleges and universities are placing their learning materials to share via the internet, so opening up the doors to education. There is a tension between education being a commercial enterprise and the idea of organizations now releasing their teaching resources entirely for free. These teaching resources are often called “open educational resources”.
What are open educational resources?
Open educational resources, abbreviated to OER, come in all shapes and sizes. An OER might simply be a photograph, or it might be a video of a teaching session or lecture, or the lecture notes. Alternatively there are some that come in the form of entire teaching units or modules including all the content and assessment. What makes the resource “open” is the fact it is released with an open copyright license attached to it, for example the Creative Commons license.
This means anyone can use the learning resources as long as they comply with the license terms, which might just simply mean cite or attribute the original author when using it. These licenses are the driving force behind the concept of open education.
How have open educational resources helped me?
As a teacher suddenly I have available to me a wealth of learning material which I can use in the class room. It might be a nice photograph to illustrate a point, or it might be a set of quiz questions. The OER’s are like building blocks or bricks from which I can build my teaching. The major advantage is that it saves me time, and it just makes more sense for those teaching around the world to share rather than keep creating or own materials that would be identical to someone else’s at the next school or college.
Some of my colleagues say that open education is a threat and might someday replace teachers altogether! But I say the OER’s can’t replace discussions in the classroom or the feedback I give to my students to develop their knowledge. So I am far from being out of a job. By placing my own teaching materials on the internet I have made contact with other teachers, and I get emails from all over the world, so open education is not just opening up opportunities for students, but it also opens up opportunities for teachers.
How OER’s can help you!
You might be a learner, a teacher, or just someone interest and curious about a subject. Whoever you are, search for “open educational resource” on the internet and see what you find! You will probably come across the Massachusetts Institute of Technology OpenCourseware initiative which contains all their lecture notes, videos and exams. You obviously will find educational materials on YouTube that you wish to use in your teaching, but you need to be careful. You need to check that the video is openly licensed, and you need to be absolutely sure that the individual putting the video on YouTube actually owned the content.
Whether you are a teacher, a student or member of the public curious about any subject, look for open educational resources and join the global phenomenon known as open education. If you are interested in biology courses such as biomedical science, medical science, forensic science
Modern businesses need systems to manage external and internal resources including human resources, financial resources, tangible assets and materials. The systems used for this are also known as Enterprise resource planning (ERP) which, basically are integrated computer based systems. The purpose of this kind of software architecture is to facilitate the flow of information between all business departments inside that organization and in the same time manage the connection to outside business partners. ERP systems use a centralized database and a common computing platform thus consolidating all business operations into a uniform system.
These systems have their disadvantages too. The following lines will point out the disadvantages of ERP software.
First disadvantage comes from the tight budget organizations allocate to personnel training thus resulting inadequate use of ERP systems and poor testing and implementing of changes. Some companies don’t emphasize the importance of data integrity protection in the ERP systems and the way all these data is used.
The experience and skill of the personnel has a major influence on the efficiency of the ERP systems. Some small businesses cut costs on this area thinking that ERP systems can by operated by any type of personnel regardless of previous experience or education with ERP software.
Inexperienced managers with ERP systems might propose changes in business practice that they think will lead to the synchronization with company’s selected ERP solution. This solution can lead to a lot of confusion and low productivity. Trained employee can identify the key points of a particular ERP system and take advantages of them thus increasing the productivity. This employee can propose customization of that ERP software according to business needs. Some packages allow limited customization until the point of changing the internal structure.
Experienced personnel can suggest to the management to purchase ERP systems from vendors that don’t charge annual license renewal fees that in some cases are unrelated to the profitability of a business or its size. ERP systems can be very expensive to install, and that’s why it is very important to know what features will benefit the most one business before buying.
A lot of companies complain about the rigidity and difficulty in using ERPs to specific workflow. This leads very often to failure. The differences between previous knowledge of database administration of technical support personnel and client user personnel can lead to a lot of confusion. Because of the high costs, once a system is established it is very difficult to switch to a smaller or to custom changed the one accord of the high costs, once a system is established it is very difficult to switch to a smaller or to custom change the one the company uses.
The policy of some businesses of not sharing information between departments can reduce the effectiveness of ERPs systems. These blurred boundaries can cause problems into employee’s morale, lines of responsibility and also poor communication and execution of operations.
Compatibility problems can occur quite frequent between various legacy systems of business partners. Some systems might be too over-engineered relative to the specific needs of a customer.
These are just a few of the most common disadvantages of ERP software.
Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man:
A North Carolina EOG Adventure
By: Kumar Sathy
A Student Solutions Educational Publication
If you’re looking for an extremely interesting, attention-holding teaching aid for third graders to help prepare them for EOG (End of Grade) tests, you’ll find that Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man: A North Carolina EOG Adventure is a valuable teaching resource. Though it is specifically directed to North Carolina third grade teachers, it can be used by teachers and parents no matter what state you live in. It would require that one changes certain references to North Carolina history, politicians, and geography to fit the equivalent facts from whatever state one happens to live in, but this can be done relatively easily. The point is that the book can be a very useful way to teach kids, using humor, and a strong story line involving the plight of a third grader (Chris Robb) who has problems paying attention in class.
Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man can be read by the students or by their teacher or parents, in conjunction with lesson plans related to each chapter.. There are letters and numbers at the end of some of the sentences, which correspond to a chart at the back of the book that lets the teacher/parents know what part of the curriculum and EOG test the material is covering. An example of this is when one of Chris’s classmates, Alex, who only remembers past lesson plans because he ran his head into a metal pole, interrupts the teacher, Ms. Bubblebrain and other students), to shout out the types of sentences they’re using (the “E” is this example refers to English, and the “33” to knowing the different types of sentences) :
“Settle down,” Mrs. Bubblebrain said.
“Imperative sentence! Alex said. E33
“Stop saying that!” Carmela shouted.
“Imperative and exclamatory.” Alex said. E33
Chris seems to get into trouble every day. It’s not because he’s bad or mischievous, but because his attention drifts and he finds it difficult to retain knowledge. Still, Ms. Bubblebrain tries her best to get him to learn and respond correctly to questions she asks him in class. He daydreams about things like flying purple hamsters, though, and asks to use the restroom or get a drink from the water faucet, to try to be out of the classroom as much as possible.
What the teachers, kids, and parents are all concerned about is that at any moment, the kids might be attacked and eaten by the Chicken Nugget Man. Even the President issues warnings about him. The Chicken Nugget Man turns out to be, as Chris discovers, a harmless and tiny person shaped like a chicken nugget. The Chicken Nugget Man makes a deal with Chris to help him learn if Chris will feed him things like stinky socks.
Each short chapter is humorous, which is a good way to attract and keep the attention of students, and the plot is engaging. Students will want to keep on reading or listening to their teacher/parent to learn what will happen next to Chris and his classmates, like Tuna Tommy, a kid who always leaves parts of his lunch in his desk until they start to rot and stink the room up. Chris can’t even seem to remember his teacher’s name, calling her things like Ms. Bubblegum or Ms. Bobblehead. Kids are sure to get a kick out of the funny bits in the book, as well as learning important concepts they’ll be tested over.
A couple of the elements I really liked about the book, other than its use of humor, are the “Knowledge Nuggets,” scattered throughout, and the questions at the end of each chapter Ms. Bubblebrain has written on the chalkboard for her students to read and answer, based upon what they’ve read (or heard, as the case may be). The “Knowledge Nuggets,” sometimes present added information, or ask the students to do a simple math problem related to what they’ve read/heard, or further explains a vocabulary word in a chapter, like the word “scarcity.”
The end of chapter questions Ms. Bubblebrain has written on her chalkboard are always headed by the funny underlined words: “For the love of sweaty bacon soda, answer these questions!” She has an interesting way with words, but the questions are a good means for teachers/parents to ask kids questions to see what the students have learned from the chapter. There’s an Analysis Question, a Synthesis Question, and an Evaluation Question for the kids to answer.
Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man is a book that, when incorporated with related material, can be a very useful learning tool. It certainly can’t be accused of being dull and boring, which many textbooks are in the opinion of students. The only thing I think would make this book any better is the possible addition of an animated DVD to go along with it. Also, though the book can be used relatively easily by teachers from states other than North Carolina, I think it might be a good idea to eventually publish versions of it for every state. Then, this valuable educational resource could reach an even wider audience. I highly recommend it and believe it will be a great success in the classroom to help students prepare for the EOG.
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