Public schooling systems in India suffer a serious problem of limited curricular resources. The singular emphasis on the textbook supplied by the department of school education, is reinforced by the limited availability of alternative resources. The teacher is seen as a “minor technician” (Scheffler, 1973), who has to merely transact the content confined by the textbook, rather than use multiple resources to explore the topic deeper with students.
Open Educational Resources (OER) can potentially enrich a learning environment of this kind; however, there are several challenges to adoption, including poor ICT infrastructure, limited teacher competency to use digital technologies in the classroom and lack of OER in local languages, which form medium of instructions in schools.
A collaborative OER adoption programme with 67 mathematics, science and social science high school teachers and teacher educators in Karnataka state, India, was studied using an action research approach. This group was embedded within a larger professional learning community (PLC), developed through the “Subject Teacher Forum” in-service teacher education programme of the Karnataka public schooling system.
The teachers collaborated in workshops and on virtual forums on OER processes of creation and and adoption. The OER adoption was studied through mixed-methods research approach that included structured questionnaires and focus group discussions, a review of mails shared via the PLC’s mailing lists, and review of content created on the Karnataka Open Educational Resources repository. Analysis suggests that teachers are able to use digital methods to contextualize and adopt OER to their needs. The OER processes have aided teacher professional development by supporting active teacher collaboration and increasing exploration and utilization of resources.
The collaborative resource creation model has been acknowledged as a national best practice by a review mission of the Government of India and other state governments have expressed interest in adapting this model.