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ISKME Partners with Open Book Project to Host Middle East and North African Educators
PRLog (Press Release) - Apr. 2, 2014 - HALF MOON BAY, Calif. -- ISKME, the education institute that pioneered the sharing, collaboration, and design of Open Education Resources (OER) more than a decade ago, recently hosted a weeklong exchange with leading educators from Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Jordan in partnership with the U.S. State Department’s Open Book Project, aimed at expanding access to free, high-quality education materials in Arabic, with a focus on science and technology. The four MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Fellows had the opportunity to explore OER tools for building curriculum improvement networks for their respective national and regional education systems through hands-on workshops, a visit to the Internet Archive in San Francisco, and informal walks, talks, and shared meals throughout the past week.
ISKME has been collaborating with researchers and educators in the MENA region, working to inspire and teach educators in using OER and also developing new OER initiatives in their countries. Last year, ISKME launched OER Commons Arabic (http://arabic.oercommons.org/AR/), a curated collection of free and high-quality education resources in both Arabic and English.
ISKME’s education programs manager Megan Simmons, said, “Our goal is to provide our visitors exposure to OER developments in this country, generate or increase their network and connections with our experts, and identify academic institutions or government agencies that could benefit in future visits to Arabic-speaking countries.”
Reem Bsaiso, an independent consultant from Jordan and former CEO of World Links Arab Region, was one of the Fellows. She has an extensive background leading large OER projects and is now working on a proposal to scale OER projects across the MENA region. She said she needs to learn the tools for this ambitious project and came to the exchange “because I wanted to make my own content.”
Another fellow, Rania Edrees Adam, a lecturer at the Open University of Sudan in Khartoum, recently joined OER Africa and plans to expand its reach to rural areas through OER. Her university has expanded access for those lacking Internet services by broadcasting OER over TV and radio stations. Like Reem, Rania came to ISKME to learn more about OER policies and practices that could help her scale her university’s efforts.
Other participants in the exchange included Dr. Fawzi Baroud, assistant vice president of the IT Dept. at Notre Dame University in Lebanon, and Dr. Abdullah Almegren, a founder and general manager of the National Centre for e-Learning and Distance Learning in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For more information about the Open Book Project, see http://www.state.gov/p/nea/openbook/