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Text that reads, 'Historical thinking for senior secondary students: A collection of teaching and learning activities 2022. A resource created by Deakin pre-service History teachers' alongside an image of the book cover

November 18, 2022

Celebrating the launch of a new OER resource

Last week we were excited to celebrate the launch of the first open book published as part of Deakin’s Open Educational Resources Grant Program!

The book, Historical Thinking for senior secondary students: A Collection of teaching and learning activities 2022, has been authored by 43 pre-service teachers, most of whom are undertaking the Master of Teaching at Deakin. Published on Pressbooks, this book will now be available as a valuable professional learning resource for History teachers across Australia.

From inspiration to creation

Deakin’s Master of Teaching students put a great deal of thought and research into their assessment tasks – but often the valuable learning and teaching activities they design are discarded after they receive their grade and feedback.

After attending a Deakin Inclusive Education Community of Practice workshop in 2022, Dr Rebecca Cairns was inspired to explore how integrating OERs into a History education unit could help to give valuable resources new life. A Deakin OER grant offered the support she needed to reframe an existing assessment task as a renewable assignment.

‘Designing assessment as ‘renewable assignments’ means all the great learning and teaching activities you can see in this open book will not be consigned to the ‘digital landfill of history’. Instead, they will be shared as a freely available professional learning resource and they will come alive as they are adapted to fit diverse classroom contexts,’ says Rebecca.

Three students and two academics standing alongside a screen displaying the cover of the book they collaborated on.

(From left): Mason Camanzi, Nicky Arranga, Nick Reynolds (all three are pre-service teachers who contributed to the book) and Rebecca Cairns and Phillip O’Brien (Editors).

A flexible, shareable resource for history teachers

While most of the activities draw on the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) curriculum, they can be adapted to other curriculular contexts. Importantly, it has been developed in consultation with Deakin’s copyright team to model copyright compliance and has an Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Creative Commons licence. This means it can be adapted and mixed to suit the needs of teachers and their diverse learning contexts, so long as the author is credited and the changes noted.

‘Teachers have long been generous sharers of the learning materials they create. The willingness of these pre-service students to embrace this innovation, contribute to the history education community and showcase their teaching practice is inspiring, demonstrating that the future of history teaching and the expansion of OER in schools is in capable hands.’ says Rebecca.

‘This is a big milestone for the grant program, and an amazing achievement for Rebecca and the students to create and publish a resource in such a short timeframe,’ says Angie Williamson, Deakin Library’s Program Coordinator (Open Education). ‘My highlight from the event was the opportunity to talk to the students that participated. The students were so positive about their experience with a renewable assessment and open educational practice. They shared how they experienced what they would be doing in the workplace – searching for resources and using these to design learning activities – while creating resources for others to use in teaching.’

Congratulations to everyone involved in creating Historical thinking for senior secondary students. It’s an exciting reflection of Deakin’s investment in OERs and the valuable contributions our students can make to the academic community.

Want to learn more about OERs? Take a look at our resource guide.

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