I’ve been waiting for free time to craft a thoughtful response to this, and it is interesting now to read the comments you’ve received. I’m going to try and paraphrase your concerns, and you can let me know if I’m interpreting incorrectly.
1. There’s some stuff out there that can be learned from a piece of paper, a lecture, a book, a wiki, whatever, because of the nature of the stuff. Who really needs a billion ways to teach this stuff?
2. There’s some stuff out there that evolves differently in every learning situation, for each learner, group, instructor, etc.. Is there really a benefit to creating reusable resources for this stuff?
3. We need to carefully consider the potential social impact of OER’s including access, presumed expertise, and contextualization of content.
If I’ve summarized correctly, I would have to say I share your concerns. I hope you don’t mind me adding some of my own to the mix. I’m not interested in the semantic debate, or questioning types of knowledge, because I really feel your concerns are valid, whatever the outcome of those interpretations. In fact, I don’t think I’m even ready for debate, as all I have to offer is a list of questions and a lot of humility.
1. When the best critical thinkers in education have spent years trying to agree on a definition of OER and are unable to identify what resources are actually OER, is this the direction that is really best for future learners? If it can’t be defined and the resources aren’t easily discerned from non-OER, how are we going to convince anyone to adopt it?
2. Why the E? If we’re trying to situate learning, why do we have to make things that are just for education? Isn’t the world educational? Why jump from publisher text books to free/open text books? Why not just skip over text books altogether?
3. Why are we creating so much stuff? For example, how many presentations are there out there about OER? Do the people presenting on OER ever re-use, re-mix OER presentations? Instead of creating a movement around getting people to share their stuff, why don’t we just tell people to stop making so much stuff?
4. When we’re talking about the stuff that can be learned from a piece of paper, or a book, or whatever, wouldn’t our efforts be well spent advocating for transparency on the part of the manufacturers of the products we’re teaching? Why should we create materials they already have, but just won’t give up?
5. Who decides what gets to be an OER? Who judges quality? Who publishes? Who organizes? Who evaluates and revises?
6. Why would I want to take the time to review dozens of other lesson plans, find a file type I can work with, modify it to add my own style, decide how to give attribution, revise to suit my audience, create new assessments, etc. when it takes only a small portion of that time to quickly create a customized resource linking out to reliable reference material? Is it possible Web-based tools, online content, and filtering techniques have advanced to the point where OER are obsolete?
7. Why can’t people and relationships be the new learning resources? Why can’t we concentrate on teaching learners how to find the people with the answers and help them build relationships and connections? Why should the computer be more than an interface, a way to connect people, something almost invisible? Why would we want to create more things that trap people in front of screens, instead of sending them into their environments to learn?
Oh, I could go on and on, but I’m already hijacking your post and probably bringing down more contention than you care to see. I’m infinitely curious about these things, but I will wrap up my comment and save room for others.