Use of ID Models and Emerging Technologies in Designing English OER Textbooks

Eva Y M Tsang and Henry M F Choi
The Open University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong SAR, China

One of the difficult tasks for language teachers is to deal with mixed-ability classes. The single textbook they have chosen cannot easily meet every student’s needs. In order to accommodate students with different abilities, it is suggested that teachers customize the textbooks. However, it is time-consuming for them to search for relevant materials and the materials selected may have copyright restrictions. Open educational resources (OERs) can help to solve this problem, but many frontline teachers may not be confident in adapting OERs and some guidelines are needed.

With the support of the Education Bureau of Hong Kong SAR (EDB) and funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK) has developed a series of OER textbooks, namely Open English, which covers all the school levels, i.e. from Primary 1 to Secondary 6. The textbooks have been approved by the EDB and included in its Recommended Textbooks List. The English OER textbooks are stand-alone textbooks, which can also be customized and adapted to suit various teaching and learning circumstances.

This paper first briefly introduces the Open English series, and the instructional design (ID) models, pedagogical principles and the use of emerging technologies are also discussed. In addition, the paper illustrates how the various formats of open educational learning resources – such as print-based textbooks, ePubs, online versions, mobile apps and so forth –can be used in pre-class, in-class and after-class learning environments. The series of textbooks has been pilot-run in schools and teachers’ comments and feedback are also reviewed and discussed.

Our experience in developing Open English may serve as a reference for teachers and textbook developers. Teachers can use our experience in designing and customizing the OER textbooks to meet their teaching needs in classrooms, and textbook or language learning material developers can can refer to our experience in the use of instructional design models and various technologies for developing teaching and learning materials.