Open educational practices and technology appropriation: the case of the Regional Open Latin American Community for Social and Educational Research (CLARISE)
© The Author(s) 2014
Received: 15 March 2013
Accepted: 15 May 2013
Published: 15 January 2014
A major challenge for the knowledge society is to narrow the education gap, hence the need for strategies that foster innovation and improvement in education. Thus, with the support of technology and the Internet, virtual academic communities have emerged in order to exchange and disseminate innovative educational practices. The objective of the study presented in this article was to analyse the state of open educational practices in the institutions forming part of the Regional Open Latin American Community for Social and Educational Research (CLARISE) in order to diagnose their level of positioning, strategies, implementation, promotion and dissemination. The main research question was: How do open educational practices (OEPs) and technology appropriation develop in teachers belonging to a virtual academic network? In order to answer this question, a case study research methodology was applied, using interviews, participant observation, document analysis and questionnaires as the data collection instruments. The findings indicate that an exchange network fosters open content production and OEP implementation by participating teachers and institutions, promotes the generation and dissemination of materials such as open e-books and scientific journals, encourages members to use open educational resources (OERs), facilitates open content sharing and promotes the development of OEPs, thus enabling teachers to learn how to properly communicate the licensing of their work. While the CLARISE network shares and disseminates cultural production all over the world, the participating institutions are placed in an early and developing state with regard to OEPs because such practices have yet to be institutionally incorporated into their educational models. The community’s members have only reached a second level of technology appropriation as no repurposing of OERs is done by them.