ORBIT

The ORBIT project develops an “Open Resource Bank for Interactive Teaching” (ORBIT) (and an associated programme) to promote interactive teaching for primary and secondary schools. ORBIT is aimed at use in formal HE teaching (PGCE), use in training schools and by teacher mentors, as well as continuing professional development for in-service teachers.

ORBIT makes existing higher education expertise on teacher education as widely available as possible to other teacher education providers both within HE and otherwise, through:

  • ensuring that relevant and high quality resources from existing and disappearing collections (both produced within HEIs and by practitioners) are made openly available to the teacher education and school teacher communities,
  • developing additional materials where these are needed to fill gaps, and
  • contributing to broad collaboration and synergy in OER on teacher education, both within the UK, and between the UK and other countries, such as the United States.

The Open Resource Bank on Interactive Teaching (ORBIT)  supports teaching and learning in a significant part of an initial teacher education course, such as an HE-based 1-year PGCE course in primary education or secondary mathematics or science (or a school-based training programme), primarily focusing on interactive teaching in these two subject areas. Mathematics and science are key curriculum subjects and a focus in this area fits well with the government's current prioritisation of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). The ORBIT focusses on practical aspects of interactive teaching and enquiry-based learning, illustrating pedagogical principles through concrete lesson plans and ideas. The ORBIT materials are hands-on, presenting actual activities within lessons as the primary building blocks, with theoretical ideas embedded within these blocks. We seek to make this particular approach – a hallmark of effective teacher education – more accessible and tangible. Within ORBIT, there is also a significant focus on the use of ICT within the subject teaching of mathematics and science, which is an important emerging area, and one which is notoriously lacking in effective pedagogical support.

Objectives

The overarching concern of the ORBIT project is to bring together Open Educational Resources in a particular subject area, and then to increase their use. The first objective is the creation of the ORBIT resource bank itself. We draw on content and technical expertise from a wide range of partners.

The second objective is the creation of an open course book. A collection of materials will be collated into a self-contained open digital course book, which with freedom to duplicate, re-use, and adapt content.

The third objective is to address a number of research questions relating to open content.

Anticipated Outputs and Outcomes

The ORBIT resource bank itself contains lesson ideas and plans, associated with pedagogical principles as well as  subject information. Resources are tagged, for instance according to grade, subject, and pedagogical principles, and users can make their own collections. Each resource in the ORBIT includes professional studies and subject-specific elements, together developing pedagogical content knowledge.

Another output is the self-contained 'open course book' itself, which is a collection of ORBIT resources (i.e. a series of lesson ideas, together with subject/pedagogical notes and exercises), together with a number of additional chapters (such as an introductory chapter, and then a brief chapter introducing each pedagogical idea).

Project Staff

Project Manager

  • Dr Björn Haßler, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 8PQ, UK,   01223 767 600 bh213@cam.ac.uk

Project Team

  • Dr Sara Dr Henessy, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 8PQ, UK, sch30@cam.ac.uk
Summary
Start date
17 October 2011
End date
19 October 2012
Funding programme
Academy/JISC Open Educational Resources Programme Phase 3
Project website
Lead institutions

Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

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