OER textbooks in Polish schools: A year later

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OER textbooks in Polish schools: A year later
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A year ago Polish teachers, parents, open education activists, and textbook publishers were in the heat of a discussion over a bold pilot programme out to create a set of open educational resources - libre-licensed textbooks spanning a part of curriculum. Today bold got bolder, with a plan to introduce libre-licensed government-commissioned textbooks to every school. Publishers are concerned about their business, teachers and parents about quality and political entanglement of content.
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here I can start because I'm not that important if you use the goal and 1 of my kids as usual packets of school back in the evening and it was like 2 horns and shipping as well as the out you can get like 5 or 6 kilos on children's back and and it's just books and I said pool you know 1 day they will come a time when you won't have to carry all the stuff around because everything you need to know would be in the Internet and all you have 2 carriers on the laptop all on a tablet or whatever and you and I mean he's crazy about the Internet but you and I you crazy no way a thing like and because then I don't know what's right or wrong someone's not got to decide and and the internet as everything so who decides and I said well who deciphered right what's right in your textbook that you but you given by a teachers might be wrong as well and we had a limit in a long discussion which showed that at some open educational research is in such a simple subject um and it's not so easy to decide whether it's good or bad blood the 1 year ago on neighbor Poland set up a time you know will give it a try and uh started something which is by now the world's largest project concerning the shift to open educational research and um I welcome Mike was meant that was you know who was the president of the false Foundation and he was going to tell us what happened this year thank you care about low my new
microgenetic or me how was or as it was printed on my batch question mark question mark I uh there is UTF-8 now uh and we can use it so with works like that and the president of the Board of Reviewing the free and open source after foundations a Polish NGO that works and promotes the free software and free and open and new standards technological standards is generally for the government to the business to education everywhere and the foundation is part of the Open Education Coalition the Open Education Coalition is it is a coalition of several different N G O's institutions including our foundation Wikimedia Poland uh OpenStreetMap Poland and some higher education establishments also and we're working uh we're working towards well as the name says a free and open education free as in freedom not free as in beer the so uh what sorry who knows who of you knows that you they that you use free software on a daily basis and up show of hands OK that's not the bad uh probably more people recognize those I can right thank you thank you uh probably more people recognize those items and or those are those logos this is this is all free software what what does free stuff mean it it's all important that in the context of over indication resources but what means this it means for freedoms it's it means the freedom to use that to modify to share and to share modifications if you think how Wikipedia works this is how it works right everybody can view it or use it anyway they want anybody can and modified an article and hence Dr. will use it within the view Wikipedia or outside the Wikipedia they can share a what's in Wikipedia and they can share the modifications they've made if you want to know if you want to ascertain yourself that people actually can share modifications and can share their the content from Wikipedia would in many ways the like you can try to find 2 beautiful a projects 1 of them is called nonsense a pdf and the other 1 is called a detour pedia that that's a homework says regarding about education resources that do not treat anything in those portals as truth please do not this you should not allow that what is openness what is openness in the context of open-ended integration coalition with 3 main 3 main points technological openness so open standards free software not shutting anybody out of there being able to use the content because of technology for example not using closed formats right that require closed source or using closed platforms that require a certain kind of devices uh to to be able to use an open licensing so Creative Commons by creating goes by a a GPL is the or other open licenses uh by the way uh non-commercial our and NoDerivatives licenses are not free they infringe upon 1 1 or 2 of those freedoms I showed you earlier and accessibility so that people with disabilities for example people that knew do not see orderless here can still somehow engage with the with the content of those 3 those 3 IRI areas are at a crucial to what what the Open Education Coalition does and why are we doing that 2 years ago at and Morgan was was on the bigger stage is a little bit bigger than me so he's a beta stage against uh he was talking about he was talking about how would democracy and how open the open flow of ideas needs free software and needs an open platforms and he said uh in there in many other places that we live in times where no single there's no reason for a single brain drain remain hungry brings thrive and live and and the and expand themselves and develop themselves on information on knowledge on data on Oct and today with you know these devices and these devices and the Internet we can send all those things are knowledge information data etc. etc. all around the world completely free or almost completely free everybody who has an Internet account there who has a connection to the Internet can participate and can use them uh as uh as broadly and as beautifully as they want so there is no reason for single bring remain hungry and we believe that this is a kind of a mission statement for for us so let's get to the background of the situation in Poland and a set of textbooks in Poland costs around 150 euros that might not be much here but if you take into account that an average wage is 1 thousand euros and minimal wage in Poland is about 280 euros that's quite a lot that's quite a lot and that's per per child per year so if you have a family of 3 with 3 children they have to pay uh they have to pay 450 euros per year for a set of textbooks and nothing else that you can compare that to friends right where the minimum minimal wage is higher than the average wage in Poland I'm so there used to be a 2nd market for textbooks right I could use my older friend or my older assess sibling um textbook in because really what changes in matter biology year-to-year right some changes are important of course right sometimes there has to be a new edition but most of the time you can use the same the same textbook well the textbooks are being created in a way that there are flimsy they fall apart after year 2 they are integrated with exercises so a child when they do exercise in school they right on the textbook so the text is unusable for the next child next year and there being change the year by year of an anon subject matter ways for example shifting shifting the um know the order in which information is given and calling that version 2 . 0 right so next year next I'll cannot use the same textbook and it's but it's a strategy to to kill off a 2nd markets and the other thing is that while the textbooks for a given class are being chosen by teachers parents pay for them right so teachers choose bonds pay so publishers organize what the workshops for teachers and promised schools gifts you see how well how well that works right you can influence the teacher and the parents will have to pay anyway I the government offers subventions for uh for uh for families to buy textbooks and this is the in the range of the did you mean euros per year that's a lot of money and the whole in the value of the market of the textbook market in Poland is around 250 euros per year which went up from 155 million euros in 2005 even tho the number of students fail by 1 million interesting isn't the so high so there was a campaign in the words and were talking with the government and we're talking with many many many so called stakeholders that we need textbooks and we need open textbooks and we need pixels that are accessible to people with disabilities that our liberalizes open licenses and that our technologically open so I can use any device or I can print the textbook for my use that for many device and out turned out last year that there was a pilot program announced by both government and I have to tune of 11 million euros to create just got open textbooks for Polish schools publishers were invited but they did declined to take part in that the program even though they were invited as partners that would be paid for working in that program the government the government said well you have the you have the experience you have the information you have you know how to make textbooks we need you help us help us make a great quality textbooks for Polish schools we will pay you but the but the but the textbooks will be a liberal license and that was something that publishers could not as well so there was a media campaign
so there was a media campaign and lobbying campaign uh run by the by the publisher's Publisher's lobby and these were that these were the general um arguments being used I will go through them some of them are an interesting some of them are Hilarie's so let's take it from the top the cost and of course the the the 1st argument was 0 my god we will pay some exorbitant amount of money from uh from our pockets you know from from taxpayers money to create text books that are otherwise treated by the by the publishers and seemingly for free I don't know what was the argument here with us but we if we take into account the subventions the 52 million euros per year and if we take into account the one-time cost of creating as electronic textbooks of 11 million euros once it doesn't seem that the argument of course holds right the equipment that's a that's a very strong argument and that's a lesson that we've learned along the way that calling the coming of the the program e textbooks which was not our choice and mean calling the the program e-textbooks at trent textbooks meant that the that the publishers could do I 2 things they could attack the program on grounds that 0 my god everybody will have to buy an iPod or a and the tablet or computer every child in Poland will have to buy a new tablet each year seemingly uh meaning because there is no 2nd market for devices a part of the uh of course this argument that doesn't hold because we think that we were very strongly and we very strongly argued that if such a program is going to be created and funded by government those states with have to be prepared to be printed so that it is so that child can go to a library or the school library or a printing shop or whatever and print the whole text book or just the chapters they need so that they don't don't carry the kilograms on there backs and to to print the the textbook so the chapters they need for a given lesson or for a given the time right and the 2nd thing that the uh meaning publishers did very fast was to publish their own e-textbooks of course close Of course not licensed under you know on the open open terms of course DRM so close also technologically available only for a given platform or for a given operating system and available only for a given child if the child buys right so that subverting the whole idea and using the same name this it's very was very important I mean it was it's is very important to look at the names of such projects right e-textbooks is not a good name quality the of course that the that this argument is that is the traditional think of the children kind of argument right think of the children with if the government will try to do text books if the government tried to create text books the textbooks will definitely be of bad quality you know the the the the information there will be a bad quality and nobody will move you know only read the textbook publishers with our experience can create good textbooks as well because they declined to take part in the project apparently the quality was not really what matters to them so that 1 was quite easy to counter unfair business practice this 1 is nice but the argument goes if the government pays somebody to create textbooks and then the textbooks are uh will be uh will be uh and published in open licenses and everybody can copy and everybody can share and everybody can improve upon that off the that me that's the unfair business practices against us right of the people he will be it will at are our business and it will it's it's basically a dumping uh situation right after a simple a simple simple retort would be that the government program cannot really be an unfair business practice because government is no business and so that 1 didn't hold for long an the other 1 market destruction and job losses so of course connected to this to the unfair business practices argument and and the argument goes if there are are free and open uh textbooks available for all students and then we will lose our business and you and people will lose jobs right people are employed in in in the publishing business people employed in bookshops people employed in the whole um in the whole area area are related to text books and publishing and etc. etc. etc. I not sure if you've heard um something called the broken window for foci who of you have heard about broken into policy OK so correct me if I'm wrong with broken-window follows a goes something like this John broke the window but that's good that John broke the window because the window maker will make money we should break more windows in that way we can support the the industry of window makers this is the same argument right that we can do we can make better textbooks we can make textbooks available for everybody in we can make them cheaper which we should make them uh we should let that you know let the market decide and we should let the publishers do their job as they did so far because this will support an old business an old and old uh industry the assumption here is of course that if the money won't go to new to the publishers it will not go anywhere disappear from the economy which is of course not true as people that will have those 150 euros in their pockets will probably by something else or invest in their whatever they want to invest but I think history will be profits this 1 is always is 1 of my favorites but because it works nicely with the previous 1 or yeah it will did the cost is with the previous 1 so the previous one was our uh this is unfair business practices you work you are taking away money from our are industry and uh then uh the the the IT industry will reap profits argument is the other way around we want to take money from another industry so I'm not really sure what was the what what was the thinking again uh behind that that argument of this you can help you can't have it both ways right either either giving money to i industries OK or not but apart from that and now speaking seriously this is simply not true there's no way having that the IT industry will reap you reap huge profits because 1st of all the teachers already or or parents or uh or schoolchildren will be able to just print the textbooks as I said before right so that there will be no huge spike in buying tablets laptops or whatever right and and the and secondly every single school in Poland more or less every single you clean bond already have already has some infrastructure and access to the internet and and some computers there there's not nearly enough computers in Polish schools but there are some and and mourners every single school has as he's if you so uh it the IT industry will not prevent profits because there are no profits you to be wrapped in a centralized education system this is this is something that I think uh wouldn't thing Germany but quite quite well in Poland but with our history and our you know remembrance of things past and in the the the argument here is that if the government creates the text books and then makes it mandatory for schools to use these vertical textbooks this is a way of this as well as a form of censorship this way of government deciding what school what school children should be taught at schools and this is that there are 2 problems with that now with that argument 1st of all the original program didn't uh and didn't assume that this will be the only available textbooks if you don't need only show and the other the pilot program and only said that
the these textbooks will be prepared and teachers can use them or can use anything else and and and the other problem with that is the government already decides what children are taught at schools right we have the institutions that decide what is the program in Polish schools and only only this can go into text books that are that are qualified to be used at school so the this our argument is more useful to and the last 1 is my absolute favorite the death of books the culture and everything and the argument the argument goes like this our text books are the main revenue stream for publishers and for bookstores right now which is kind of true people don't buy books at physical books that much anymore and textbooks were you know year to year to year solid so the market for the for the that different from the publishers so there also the textbooks are something that holds the industry up and if we remove that if we publish open license textbooks and everybody can the will be able to use them so that means that the industry will crumble and because our civilization or culture is based on books right we can now see that our civilization will crumble and I'm not making this up this actually this arguement uh with a little more words in it and the little boy you know added here and there showed up in 1 of the uh 1 of the the most important Polish newspapers and I was not sure I was reading that correctly I don't think I will comment on that uh on that argument well this is a this is 1 of the ways that publishers were fighting against the the unfair business practices that they that they said this program is that this is a this is a legal letters sent to all the universities that uh said that they want to take part in the program because the program and that the government asked publishers universities higher education establishments at such at separate etc. to help write those that to help write those the textbooks right uh and the publisher said we will not take part in that and then they said this is legal letter to universities that were interested in taking part in the program the legal letter saying something like this this program as you as you know uh is an unfair business practice and hence if you take part in that program you will be doing something illegal and we will have um go to court with you but it was very nice of 1 of the universities to the to publish this letter and the of course we had a lawyer to look through that letter I will not uh I will describe what the lawyer said because it would not be very nice but basically this letter was a threat and the threat that was in no way based in uh in log these where the methods that the publishers were using to threaten the institutions that we're trying to take part is the program OK so what do we have what we have today today the program with has been expanded today the whole curriculum uh of the general education in Poland will have open textbooks there were there are 18 open textbooks in the works being prepared right now as we speak and and all of them are technologically open all of them are a open license and all of them are accessible to people with disabilities because this is what we and this is what we were uh looking into very closely but there is a broad cooperation on the program is a cutting at the end user companies involved in creation of those of those in of those textbooks and the cooperation goes from our perspective from the perspective of the coalition of the global education coalition and is um mainly about 2 things 1st of all workshops uh in seminars and general schooling about their openness of as accessibility in the licensing these are not easy topics you are not easy topics and you can assume that everybody or anybody that takes part in the program like this will not get at some part of it will not understand the open licensing or will not understand accessibility or will not understand technological and new openness and it was it is crucial that uh that we are able to cooperate with the government and with the with other institutions that are involved in this program for a program on the new this program to help them understand and to help them make them make decisions that are compatible with those 3 that those 3 values and that the other thing that came up lady is helping to find materials there there's a lot of places in the internet's in the world uh that offer an open license materials like photos like films like animations like graphs like anything like that right but if you want to use something like that in a textbook it has to be high quality we know that right up so it's hard to expect from the from the people working in those in those programs that had no or little experience with the open in open education resources before to know where to look for them and to know how to look for and this came out to be a problem at some point that we need that you that the program needs uh very good high-quality and materials but it's hard to find so the Polish Wikipedia Japan and 2 and 2 together with the operator of the program they and they're running right now a an a contest called with likes as the textbooks and with people with the operator saying we need a picture of this this this this this there are hundreds of features that I needed and Wikipedia users are searching for them in Wikipedia resources or in all other open their resources on the internet because they know how to they know how to search for them they know what to look for and they know how to yeah you know look at the license and know what's happening and if it can be used in in such a project are more and more institutions use and promote uh realizes is there even uh ministries that have grounds that required liberalizes of predict outcomes and from the book from the from the perspective of of of education college and this is a huge win this is a huge thing because once we pay for something for more tax money we should be able to use it in any way we want we have already paid for that but the jury is still out and we've seen a year the textbooks are being prepared the 1st batch the 1st the the 1 that was being prepared in the pilot program has already been published and is available and got positive response uh but the 18 pixels that are being prepared we see them in a few months a few months and then they will be used in schools and then we'll know if teachers use them if children are happy with them if everything went as expected as such as and as and as it should so last thing lessons learned from I gotta have 2 minutes and lessons learned how don't be shy go for full blown openness right goal for technological openness labor licensing as I said Noncommercial-No Derivative derivatives are not open licenses they will cause problems and they will cause uh tears accessibility a W G 2 0 is highly recommended that means that people that with disabilities will be able to use that you use the materials created this way even if somebody will try to find uh something against this project they will not find it within those 3 which are the important ones right don't call them the textbook so I said or electronic textbooks use open textbooks the textbooks free text books anything that has that is based on the for freedom the important part because you can you can really relates to people on the important part of the electronic part is nice right that you can use it via internet etc. but it's not the crucial part the crucial part is the is the licensing so so let's use that our
explaining to general public is hard but this is the biggest selling point and we can be clear about it and people people will eventually get it right it's hard to translate it simple terms it's hard to explain people you will be able to use that in any way you want will I be able to ferret yes modified yes every yes just assume that the answer is yes and at some point something that at some point people will get it and will fall fall in love with with the project work together and form broke coalitions right this is this is something that worked beautifully in Poland we have we have a broad coalition of different NGO some of them are working mainly with accessibility some of them like minor working mainly with technological open the some of them are working with the with the licensing openness uh when you have a broad coalition you can do beautiful things like we LexTec e-textbooks you have a lot more in part input and you have a lot more experience and and expertise support
open as but look carefully and react because politicians will change their minds or will not understand something or will go with something that they and they felt they understood but they didn't uh and to be clear about what is OK and what is not OK this really helps don't have also have have had a
right sorry 1 more thing that do not assume others where lack of knowledge is an explanation that is good enough right they're not malicious they might not understand help them understand they will help you more information the this is where you can find more and more information about the the the project uh and
yeah right I got 2 slides mixed up contact outreach and and and try to grow materials for everybody involved and more because they will when they will understand they will help you thank you thank
you knew