OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES FOR BLENDED LEARNING IN HIGH SCHOOLS: OVERCOMING IMPEDIMENTS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
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AbstractIn mid-October 2004, we had the privilege of visiting schools in the isolated and economically depressed villages of the Yuanzhou District in Ningxia Province, China. These schools were so poor that despite the frigid autumn temperatures, officials were unable to heat the buildings until late November. Teachers and students sat at their desks wrapped in heavy coats, hats and boots. All of the faces we met were red with cold, and it was difficult to see how any valuable teaching or learning could be accomplished in such an environment. Yet one scene left a lasting impression. As we entered yet another cold and crowded classroom, this time at the Touying Middle School, we observed each red face locked attentively upon a television screen at the front of the room. A lesson on the Human Body was being presented asynchronously via DVD by a professor from Tsinghua University in Beijing, and the students, despite their bleak environment, enthusiastically digested the information. Every once in while, the classroom teacher would pause the DVD while adding her own content. This lesson was provided by the Tsinghua University Education-Aiding-the-Poor Project (EAPP) which aims to provide people in underdeveloped areas with the opportunity to access high-quality educational resources by means of modern information technology. The project’s goal is to eliminate poverty by spreading knowledge.