Sunday, March 15, 2009

Reuse, Remix and Mashup Instructional Materials

Teachers always have too much to do, and too little time to do it. We find it hard to find enough time to create new instructional materials. Most of the time we rely on old textbooks. But at times we find it's content too old, or out of sync with our method of teaching, and even dissatisfying to our learning objectives.

We need a faster approach to developing and deploying flexible instructional materials. And we need it cheap but high quality. What should we do?

Reuse, remix and mashup instructional materials freely available in the world wide web with what we have locally in the school.

Reuse Free Content

Where do we find free content? And in what form? There are two types, reusable resources could just be images and text from Wikipedia, or it could come in the form of SCORM and IMS packages. Learning objects (LO) packaged in SCORM and IMS can be thought of as video game cartridges or even CD's. You know they have a lot of information in them but you'll never know until you have a player. So LOs need players. Here is an example of a SCORM module that I have made: . You might need to login as guest and check preview than hit the enter button to play it.

The difference between Learning Resources and Learning Objects, is that the former are simple static things like pdf files, images, sound, etc.; while LOs are more interactive, they may contain activities and quizzes to name a few.

You may also download whole courses or parts of it from sites like Merlot, MITOpenCourseWare, or for higher education courses like engineering at Stanford. Some of the best schools in the world are offering free stuff out there you wouldn't believe. It's just a google away.

Just make sure you read the license of what you're using.


Once you have your free content, you can use free or opensource software to mix it with what you have. You can download for free a set of tools from Edubuntu. Or if you're into multimedia IM you may want to use UbuntuStudio tools.

If your teaching via distance education you may want to mashup with free online services. You would be familiar with mashup if you'd ever embedded a YouTube video in your site before. Now even quizzes can be embedded for free, like this great example from MySTudiyo.

Can you can imagine what you can do with Picassa Web Albums, YouTube and a lot more.

Some of the great software featured in my video project at UPOU above can be found here:

Creating a Planet: Blender 3d
Solar system demo: Celestia
Constellations: Stellarium
Geometry - Geobra
Chemistry - Kalzium

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