Bündnis Freie Bildung – OER in Germany
OESA has been a member of the Bündnis Freie Bildung (translated: Alliance for Free Education) since August 2020 – what does that mean?
About the Alliance
The Bündnis Freie Bildung is a driving force in the German-speaking OER community. It was founded in 2014 as an initiative of Creative Commons, Open Knowledge Foundation Germany and Wikimedia Germany to promote the field of open and free education.
In the meantime, more than twenty organizations, institutions and associations as well as numerous individuals have joined forces in the Alliance to advocate for free education, freely accessible educational materials, open educational practices and open licenses in education – and thus to help shape political decisions and social discussions. As a forum and platform, the alliance therefore organizes events, publishes positions, seeks dialog with decision-makers in politics and administration, and actively engages in discourses around teaching, learning, and education, with the goal of reducing educational inequalities and promoting equal participation in a digital, democratic society.
The Open Education Forum, for example, is part of the Alliance and brings together stakeholders to develop strategies, engage in exchange and provide new ideas. The Alliance’s work focuses on educational materials (Open Educational Resources), software and technology (Open Source), copyright (Open by default), access (Education for All) and pedagogy / didactics (Open Educational Practices).
OER and OEP
The Alliance understands Open Education as a collection of approaches to promote educational opportunities, for example through policies and political measures, the use of open digital educational resources or the use of open courses on the Internet. In this context, openness is not an absolute category, but a relational one, always related to specific social, political, economic, and educational contexts. Because education should always be accessible, participatory, and democratic.
Open Educational Resources (OER), can make a contribution to coming closer to the overall social goal of educational justice. Thanks to open licensing, they can be used by everyone with free software without significant legal and technical difficulties. In particular, they may also be modified, mixed with other materials and republished. This makes it possible to better adapt the cut and scope of materials to the needs of learners and their respective contexts, to keep them up-to-date, and to legally share them worldwide.
Thus, OER are catalysts of contemporary education, because they not only enable self-determined and democratic learning and digital collaboration, but also promote critical reflection on media and their use and open access to education. However, the integration of OER into teaching and learning, i.e. the application of Open Educational Practices (OEP), requires the qualification and further training of teachers, the continuous development of didactic teaching concepts with OER, and appropriate funding.
The usability of software in education is still limited. However, software and infrastructures should not restrict learning and teaching, but should provide freedom. Software used for free education should be fundamentally open, sustainable and designable. Open source software offers the possibility to avoid dependencies on certain software companies (lock-in effects), to enable digital sovereignty for educational institutions and not to impose additional hurdles for access – and thus goes hand in hand with the principle of open education, which is much more dependent on standard conformity for a networked infrastructure, which can only be realized through appropriate software and formats. With a view to open standards, networked platforms, independence and transparency, open software offers the possibility for pedagogical designability, adaptation and modification for diverse scenarios in teaching.
OESA and the Alliance
As part of the Bündnis Freie Bildung, we share the same values and work as a non-profit association to promote open education using open software. At the Open Education 2020 forum, our members Celestine Kleinesper and Katharina Mosene co-authored a proposal to transform school libraries into open media centers. The results from this working group were discussed on a livestream with other Alliance working groups and politician:s.
Further information about the Bündnis Freie Bildung: here.
Source: Alliance for Free Education – Position Paper (as of Sep. 2018), released under CC BY 4.0