Join OEE'S discussion on open educational resources

On 24 May 2017 Open Education Europa is inviting you to join an online discussion on open educational resources (OER).

The live chat session is organised as part of OEE’s May focus on open educational resources and will be moderated by husband and wife Chrystian and Rebecca Vieyra. Chrystian is an app developer and Rebecca is a science educator and a nationally-recognised high school physics teacher. Together they have developed mobile apps for physics education that have had tens of thousands of downloads.

During the live chat participants can discuss topics such as the characteristics of a good open educational resource, and the steps to creating one. Have you ever used OER in your practice? Perhaps you’ve created one yourself? Share your thoughts with us and learn about your peers’ experiences from across Europe!

The event will take place on this page on 24 May 2017 from 12:00PM to 1:00PM CEST. Participation is open. Before taking part, make sure you’re logged into your account (creating an account is free).



Good morning/afternoon/evening! We will begin our web chat shortly, in about 10 minutes.
Hello everyone and welcome to OEE's May discussion on Open Educational Resources. I would like to welcome our moderators Chrystian and Rebecca from Vieyra Software.
Hello! We are very happy to join.
Happy to join from Sweden!
Hello everyone from Spain
I am a prior high school physics teacher, now a co-developer of Physics Toolbox apps, along with my husband. We'll be helping to coordinate this discussion. Please take a moment to introduce yourself!
Hi everyone, I'm Louise from the UK
Hello. I am Chrystian Vieyra, software developer of Physics Toolbox.
The discussion today will focus on open educational resources (OERs). Like I said, we develop Physics Toolbox apps, but our company is called Vieyra Software. Vieyra Software is a non-profit that produces sensor apps, with the primary intent to help students and educators get access to the data around them using technology in their mobile devices. (Our most popular open educational resource (OER) app is Physics Toolbox Sensor Suite for Android: ). We have a lot of resources and all of our apps listed on our website: )
Hello! Sonia Tye from California.
stye's picture
(Hi, Sonia!) A bit more about our apps: Students in secondary and higher education courses in science, technology, engineering, and math, can really benefit from getting things like motion, sound, light (& much more) data from their devices. While this chat is not exclusively about science/technology/engineering/mathematics (STEM) OERs, this is our area of expertise, and many of the participants in this chat have developed science OERs.
Now that you've introduced yourselves, we'd like to know a bit more about how you interact with OERs... What are your experiences with OERs? Do you use OERs for general practice, or discipline-specific (i.e., subject-based) OERs? Do you develop OERs? If so, please share!
hello from India - this is us and
we use a lot of OER created by the govt of india - for dissemination on our tv and ott platforms - the content is usually discipline specific
(akshat, very cool! That's a great initiative for public education).
I am currently a member of the science content team at The CK-12 Foundation ( I have worked at CK-12 for the past 2 years and before that I was a high school science teacher (physics/biology/chemistry). CK-12 was founded in 2007 on the belief that all educational content and technological tools should be high-quality and free to everyone. I am delighted to be here to discuss CK-12’s open educational platform, providing K-12 STEM resources that can accessed anytime, anywhere and on any device (for free ;).
stye's picture
thanks - we run a 24/7 tv and mobile learning channel - and see great traction from sections of society who currently do not have access to good content / curriculum @rvieyra
Hi -- Sorry for joining late! My name is Chris Bruce. I am a high school physics teacher in Chicago. I also moonlight as an HTML5 science simulation developer.
In our group at Valladolid University we do both, develop OER, mainly smartphone apps and javascript simulations, and also use them with our students at the university and with secondary school students. Our interest is to raise their interest on physics and, in general, STEM subjects, as well as to motivate their autonomous work and learning.
Hi, @cjbruce! I'm glad you could join us. Please share some links to your open educational resource. :-)
Great to have CK-12 join us today. @stye
@stye anyway we can use this content on our tv channel?
We have lots of OER developers here. Are there any people here that are end users of OERs?
Sure! is our main site. I am in the process of porting over all of the old ChemThink tutorials and question sets ( from Flash to HTML5.
I work in a large school district in Chicago, and we are big fans of OERs. I will be happy to pass on the resources here to my colleagues.
We've got about 15 people online, so please don't hesitate to respond to prompts "after" we've moved on in the discussion - we know that people take time to show up and to compose answers! We do want to hear from you all.
well we are distributors of the content - not really the end users@Chrystian
@akshat and all, that brings up a really interesting point. As a distributor (or for the rest, as developers and users), how do you know what is a GOOD OER? What do you use to determine whether or not it is quality and worthwhile to use/distribute/produce?
In our case we developed Physics Toolbox as a result of a fundamental need.
Specifically, back in 2013, I asked my husband to begin developing an app so that my physics students could collect accelerometer data for our annual trip to an amusement park. This, and the other features that were developed, helped my students to get access to meaningful data outside of the classroom (even to do labs for homework!), and to get data without needing to use expensive probeware.
I'm working as an Teacher Ambassador in Sweden and Norway, next term our pilot schools will use Android apps on their HO Chromebook x360. My aim is to find good OER that schools can use to build lessons around filming, penfunction and 3D scanning. Any ideas in this community?
That's the point Rebecca. How to measure the 'goodness' of a resource? From the interest raised in students?, from their final grades? from the accuracy of the resource? And how to measure it comparing different students/levels/situations?
We figured a good OER is one that addresses the fundamental need of the user.
@manuelangel, I think that the "best" indicator of an OER is improved teaching and learning. Ideally, wouldn't it be great to partner with educational researchers and teachers to look for evidence of that? It could certainly be measured in terms of aptitude/affect of students and/or teachers -- whoever your target audience is.
@akshat Users can ADAPT and SHARE CK-12 content as a result of our Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial 3.0 License. You can find out more about the specifics of this license, including usage and giving appropriate credit, on our site or through Creative Commons:
stye's picture
@natbaserad I am not too familiar with OERs in those areas. Are you aware some chromebooks can now run Android apps? Perhaps you can find some useful Android apps for that purpose.
great question - for us its feedback from the users and enrolments in a course - and ofcourse testimonials from our learners.@rvieyra
In my mind, there is only one way to know if a resource or tool is good. If you try it in the classroom and watch what happens, you will find out very quickly. The tricky thing is, what is "good" for one student isn't necessarily "good" for the next.
@stye has a point that it's really important for good OERs to have the flexibility so that the end user (mostly teachers and students) can modify the OER to meet their needs by adapting it.
I agree as well, @cjbruce. No single OER is going to be a total solution for everyone. That's why a suite of options produced by many developers is so important.
possible to connect offline? i will have to send this to my content team - we are looking specifically for video content for our tv @stye
Let's take a step back and look at what motivated you to use or develop OER. Please share your story.
Chrystian, as a developer, do you think that an OER could also be used to 'measure' the students work and learning, for example allowing the teachers to introduce some configuration data, easily and transparently? Such a tool could be great for many teachers that could receive direct feedback of their students work and learning. I wrote this before #43 was posted
@akshat Yes - there are many offline options for CK-12 content (PDF download, free iOS and Android Apps, etc)!
stye's picture
so for us OER is being promoted by the govt of india - and we need good free content to reach the end user at scale - this led us to work with OER creators in India and help spread the word@Chrystian
ok thanks - will go through the site in detail @stye
Our motivation to develop OER was to motivate our students to learn physics by using their smartphones as well as to ease their access to different contents using their own devices following the BYOD model.
@manuelangel, I think it depends. Do you mean collecting data on student behavior? Sensor-based apps like your and ours probably allow for so many variables, that it might be tough. There's also a unique challenge associated with collecting data on student behaviors in an ethical way. I wonder if there are privacy or security issues if this happens on personal mobile devices.
@manuelangel I'm a big fan of CK-12's "braingenie" - online homework and mastery-based assessment tool. You can use it for formative assessment as well.
But, @manuelangle, if you have ideas, I'd love to hear!!
@manuelangel It is possible. I think a great feedback channel could be created that way. I do not have a direct channel like that on Physics Toolbox.
Hi, thanks @cjbruce, I'll try that for sure. I'll be in contact.
I think now would be a good time to talk about FEEDBACK channels.
At CK-12, we believe that every child should have equal access to great education and that learning is a personal journey. Our hope is that the personalization that occurs on the CK-12 platform makes the student’s learning experience more enjoyable and the teacher’s job easier - to create lifelong learners. @rvierya - yes! Customization is key.
stye's picture
As a user or developer, how do you (1) get input from your end users, or (2) give input to the developers?
So many OERs (although not all) are there's often a real digital divide. How do you handle that? (And, as you ever reach out to developers?)
@chystian @rebecca about feedback channels we use in some apps configurable dropbox folders that can receive information on their use by the students. The teacher can then access those data in dropbox and analyse it.
In Physics Toolbox we are very impressed by how many people contact us. Having a website and twitter account have been fundamental ways for people to reach us.
@manuelangel, We have another braingenie-like resource that we developed called "QuizEvolved" I use it a few ways in class. One of the ways is purely as a diagnostic tool: 1. Students take quiz on their iPads or mobile phones in class. 2. The quiz picks 3 or 4 questions at random from each learning objective. Students instantly know when they get one wrong. Since every student has different questions, they can ask me for help on the spot. 3. At the end of the quiz, students are assigned "reinforcement activities" for their weak areas. They are graded on completion of the reinforcements, instead of the quiz itself. If you are interested, I can duplicate our physics question banks for you.
Natbaserad, MaryClare, Louise -- do you ever collaborate with developers? If so, has it resulted in change? If not, what are the obstacles you encounter or prevents you from doing so?
@cjbruce, Yes please. I'm interested in all those tools. For contact outside this platform email: [email protected]
@manuelangel That is a great and simple way to do it. I am unsure if that is possible for us here in America. There are strict laws against data tracking on children via Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. I think that is not an issue for you as you are in higher education.
I'll just say that Physics Toolbox started literally with one app...Physics Toolbox Accerometer. It is almost exclusively because of the motivation we get from our users (started with only about 60 of my grown to over 655,000 users around the world), that resulted in about 25 apps on iOS and Android.
So, feedback has been really, really important to us, not just to improve our app functionality, but for our own sense of value. A lot of times, when we get more than one or two e-mails with a request for a feature, we honor it, and within a few days or weeks the user has what they want, and we have a better product.
@rvieyra Hi Rebecca, I have had experience working with developers to create an app for sharing content which was useful for expanding reach in an easy and accessible way.
@rvieyra Many of the issues we hear about from teachers is to do with being able to find resources. Often, teachers are short of time and want to find usable, practical resources that can save them time. Sometimes the best resources are buried in the depths of Google, so being able to easily find OERs is really important.
@MaryClareOC - My guess is that if I was still a classroom teacher, and I didn't find what I was looking for, I'd probably rather "move on" that find someone to request to develop the OER for me. I wonder how we can open up more channels of communication so that the OER community can proactively work with students and teachers, rather than just have the developers drive the market.
@akshat, I wonder, especially from a TV perspective, how do you know what people want and need? I imagine much of what you do is driven by public service initiatives? Or no?
@MaryClareOC and @rvieyra Agreed -- content curation is a huge problem on the internet. Teachers don't have a lot of time to dig through hundreds of things just to find a tool that works for them. For me, sites like are great because they are specific to my content area.
I should mention ... it's a digital science library (and actually houses The nice thing about digital science libraries is that someone is actually vetting those resources, and they aren't exclusively cataloguing products that they have developed themselves.
The initial idea of was that community members (i.e. teachers) would submit these resources from outside places, rank them, and include information about how they could be used in the classroom. I'm not sure how frequently that information got back to the developers, though. And curating that kind of activity from teacher users of the library can be a challenge to sustain over the long run.
Let's move on to talking about sustainability -- making sure good OERs are around for the long-haul. Sustainability can mean lots of things, like having someone to keep on the lights, and maintaining the expertise and communities necessary to keep OERs up to date.
@rvieyra Well, that sounds as if it could be interesting to create a publicy funded repository for OER. Perhaps an idea for a H2020 project or similar?
@rvieyra That begs the question. How can OER development be made sustainable? (i.e., How do you effectively get access to resources, expertise, and volunteers to assist in your efforts?)
so we are across all devices - OTT / TV and Desktop - TV there is no feedback - but there is immense reach- so we schedule the program and leave it to the users discretion@rvieyra
@manuelangel, Open Education Europa is one such publicly-funded repository. was funded back in the 1990's and early 2000's by the National Science Foundation in the U.S.
So, in complement to the question raised in #75 by @Chrystian, perhaps one element of sustainability is to think about maintaining and increasing AWARENESS of such repositories.
@rvieyra sustainability is a nightmare for developers. At least that's our experience. Changing versions of OS, compatibility with older or newer devices/libraries, adds a huge amount of work to keep resources running.
@manuelangel, I believe you work with a colleague to share the burden and responsibility, no? Are student interns helpful? Or is it too much of a learning investment for them?
My understanding is that @stye (CK12) is privately funded by a donor, and that @cjbruce 's work is probably mostly done on personal time, right?
Another option for developers to learn both skills and to get some financial support are to find philanthropic investors, incubators, or accelerators.
I'm personally very interested in the approach taken by Desmos ( Their OERs are totally free to students and teachers, but they get contracts from textbook publishers and testing companies to embed their digital calculator into their products. They've grown to a team of like 20 full-time employees.
A few examples of accelerators are YCombinator, AT&T Aspire, Emerge Education. Some of them have programs for non for profits.
@rvieyra That is correct for us. We are doing this in our free time and try to fit things in when we can. Fortunately, we have figured out a development process that lets us create and iterate a simulation in just a few days. We are four years into HTML5 development and are pretty young teachers, and plan to keep at this until we no longer need the resources, and/or better tools are available -- maybe in 25 years when I retire? Professor Bruce Sherwood from NC State University is my inspiration. I believe he is in his late 80's and still developing tools for the classroom.
Thanks to everyone for sharing such fantastic resources! I recognize that the conversation might not be over for some of us, so please feel free to share your Twitter handle right now, so we can stay in touch.
Ours is @PhysicsToolbox, and mine is @RVieyraAEF
Hi everyone! Social media manager for Open Education Europa here! Please check out our Twitter and RT the quotes I have put up from today's live discussion! @OpenEduEU
My twitter handle is @chrystianv1
Great discussion! Thanks Rebecca and Christian for hosting!! @stye3 @CK12Foundation
stye's picture
Great. I encourage you to reach out to us at any point so we can continue to learn from each other. In this discussion we shared a bit about our own OER develop and use, motivations for creating/using them, how to judge quality, how to open communication and feedback channels, and building sustainability. Lots of great links were shared, and this discussion will be archived by Open Education Europa for future reference.
Our twitter is @gid_tia
My general thoughts are that we can be fantastic resources to each other, as users and developers. Please know that our "digital door" is always open.
Thank you for your participation, and have a wonderful remainder of your day!
Anyone attending GIREP ? Could be a nice place to discuss in person.
Thank you to Open Education Europa for inviting us to host this live discussion. Thank you everybody for joining.
@manuelangel ... I will build that into my professional budget next year!
Thank you all for participating in OEE's May discussion! Make sure you join us next month when we'll talk about e-portfolios in education! You can save this link -> Thank you Chrystian and Rebecca for moderating this very lively and fruitful discussion!