you get what you pay for?

How many times have you heard that said?

And how many times has it been true?

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Where do I stand with these quotes?  Somewhere in the middle….

The best things in my life are my kids and my husband, are they free?  Sort of.

I didn’t pay up front, but they haven’t been free for the past 25 years either.

When I go back to thinking about my kids, I can’t help but recognize the privilege that they have enjoyed simply by being born to us.  They have fairly well educated, decently paid parents.  That has allowed many advantages. One of the few, is the ability to come up with money to pay for education for them, and not come out of university with the same massive student loan that we did for 15 years.Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to have the loans available, but I can’t help but question how many companies profited from my degree- certainly there were greater benefactors than the UofR.

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This weeks assignment had us look at some open education sources.  I of course looked at them from the perspective of what I could use as a teacher in my classes.  I have used Khan academy in the past with middle years students for math and it has been effective.  My kids always enjoyed using it, and I found that it worked well within a math classroom where I had groups working on different assignments.  In addition, I used it to supplement my instruction: I’m not a math scholar, and I found that the explanations were good.  Many of my more independent students used it almost like a tutorial.

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I looked into the TedEd this week.  I’m not sure why, but I had never used it. I, like Dani found that it was very easy to use.  The search was great, I could choose a subject, choose an academic level, and could do additional learning if I chose.

It was also interesting to me to read about how TedEd is used by students in Vietnam in Thanh’s post. The fact that it is being used around the world speaks to the diversity and global interests that are served and represented in the different videos.

TedEd reminded me quite a lot of EdPuzzle, which I used in my class a few times after being shown it last spring. Many of the same capabilities exist, such as clipping the video, having questions etc.   In some ways, I still prefer the EdPuzzle for a traditional classroom, because it allows you to stop and embed the questions right into the video, or add additional information in the exact spot in the video that you want, rather than referencing and returning to that part of the video if you need hints after.

I liked that as soon as I created my TedEd account, I immediately got an email with some “getting started” advice which certainly was user friendly.   TedEd is certainly something I would use, and I did share it with a couple teachers on our staff.

One thing that seemed the same for many of the OER’s that I scanned through this week is that they are post secondary focused.  There wasn’t much I found in terms of using in a K-12 setting.  I’m wondering if it is because there isn’t really a market at a school age level as education is free in Canada anyway?

The other difficulty I can see is accessing and finding credible sources.  I did a google search just for “free textbooks online”.  While there were many (554 000 000) results, I’m not sure that I would know where to start looking.  It would take a lot of leg work to trace back for credibility.

I go back to nothing in the world being free- and although I notice donation tabs on a few of the OER sites, it may be time consuming to find out where the money comes from to fund the resources, I can’t imagine that many people write entire textbooks out of the goodness of their hearts.

With funding comes bias, and my questions continue….


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