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This paper investigates the use and reuse of OER from a subject-specific repository for language teachers. In particular, the small scale study investigates how and why language teachers use OER in their teaching and rework existing resources. It also examines whether the teachers understand the resources and how to use and adapt them effectively, as an inability to do so has been considered an impediment to their reuse (Dimitriadis et al. (2009), Conole (2010b)).
One of the difficulties in working with open resources and open practices is that “the open is the enemy of the knowable” (Beetham, 2011): investigating the adoption of OER and open practices is indeed not without difficulty, and this study proposes a qualitative enquiry based around professional conversations to investigate use and reuse of OER.
The research found that, far from not engaging in reuse, the teachers in the study did adapt OER, although most of those changes were not published again. In addition, they drew on considerable professional knowledge when considering the use and reuse of OER for their lessons.
The current study suggests that evidence of use and reuse cannot simply be gathered through metrics; some of the reuse and sharing is not necessarily visible, and sharing might not always be appropriate. It is possible that the adoption of more open educational practices will result in reuse and sharing of both resources and practices becoming more visible in the future but, for now, more research is needed to provide evidence of the “invisible” reuse and sharing.
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