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Open Learning Limitations

May 19, 2016 – 12:54 pm | 3 Comments | 279 views

On April 1, 2016 I was skimming my twitter feed and I came across a post shared by Will Richardson about Alexandra Elbakyan. According to the Washington Post, “The 27-year-old graduate student from Kazakhstan is …

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Teaching and Learning »

Open Learning Limitations

May 19, 2016 – 12:54 pm | 3 Comments | 279 views

On April 1, 2016 I was skimming my twitter feed and I came across a post shared by Will Richardson about Alexandra Elbakyan. According to the Washington Post, “The 27-year-old graduate student from Kazakhstan is operating a searchable online database of nearly 50 million stolen scholarly journal articles, shattering the $10 billion-per-year paywall of academic publishers.”


Since this was the first I had heard of this story, and it was April Fool’s Day – I thought this was a joke.  How could a graduate student create something I crave so often – open access to research articles?

A few weeks later, I came across WIRED magazine’s opinion editorial, “You Pay to Read Research You Fund. That’s Ludicrous!” – which confirmed the story. The joke was on me. There is a searchable online database for stolen scholarly research articles – and it is called scihub.org

Why is this such an exciting topic for me and why did I find it so hard to believe that people can finally access research previously behind pay walls? I am about to start my EdD this summer, but I am not currently a University student. As such, I have to pay for every article I try to access online unless it has a creative common copyright license. In order for me to learn from research that is often (but not always) publicly funded, I need to pay to learn. As a result, I, and others like myself, are often limited in what we can learn. My learning is limited in the internet era – and it drives me bonkers.

How does this affect our K-12 students? Use Jack Andraka for example. In High School, for a science fair project, Jack found a way to detect for cancer. However, he was not able to access critical research as he did not have the money to pay for the scholarly articles. He used the free and open access abstracts from the journal articles to write up his project proposal that resulted in finding a cancer detector.


Open access would be an important first step. I would love to see research that is publicly funded by taxes to be publicly available through neighborhood libraries and public school libraries. – Jack Andraka


Jack’s story ended well because he managed to access some of the journal articles, not all in different ways. However – what if we worked to create open access to ALL of our research? What if Jack, and other people around the world, had access to information that could change our lives? Access to research that could save our lives and our world?

On the Internet, we obviously need websites like Sci-Hub where people can access and read research literature. The problem is, such websites often cannot operate without interruptions, because [the] current system does not allow it. … Sci-Hub is a goal, changing the system is one of the methods to achieve it. – Alexandra Elbakyan

I would never argue that researchers do not deserve to paid for their work.  I would argue that the current system which is limiting open access to research needs to be reconsidered.

What do you think? How can we better support open access to scholarly journals and articles to ensure access for all?

Types de textes, genres de textes, séquences textuelles, discours, mode… J’en perds mon latin !

May 11, 2016 – 11:40 am | 487 views

J’enseigne le FLS au niveau secondaire et je voulais savoir à quel niveau je devais enseigner le texte explicatif. Or, après avoir regardé à la loupe le Programme de formation de l’école québécoise (PFÉQ) et …

The Genius of Genius Hour

May 3, 2016 – 12:43 pm | One Comment | 327 views

My daughter recently had the opportunity to participate in a Genius Hour project at her school and then a board-wide sharing session, where principals and vice-principals met students from around the OCDSB to hear about …

She Said, He Said: On Makerspaces

April 28, 2016 – 12:20 pm | 2 Comments | 416 views

Last year, LEARN started exploring the idea of Makerspaces as a way to increase students’ engagement in school. The idea itself is not new. Originally incubated by hackers and computer tinkerers, Makerspaces have taken hold …

Interagir, c’est beaucoup plus que parler!

April 20, 2016 – 10:31 am | Comments Off on Interagir, c’est beaucoup plus que parler!316 views

Collaboration spéciale de Jean Provençal, conseiller pédagogique à la commission scolaire Eastern Townships. Jean a enseigné le français, langue seconde au secondaire pendant plus de 20 ans et a aussi contribué à la rédaction du programme de français langue …

K is for Kindergarten: Easing into school

April 14, 2016 – 11:34 am | Comments Off on K is for Kindergarten: Easing into school343 views

This is the first in a series of posts dedicated to the wonderful world of kindergarten.
It’s the time of year when parents of pre-school aged children are thinking of kindergarten, and the Great Transition from …

Beyond the Textbook: One woman’s STEAM journey

March 30, 2016 – 9:19 am | Comments Off on Beyond the Textbook: One woman’s STEAM journey505 views

Beyond the Textbook series is following up on a recent post about nurturing girls’ interest in STEM careers with an interview with physicist, entrepreneur, programmer and CEO of Moondrop Entertainment, Ana Albir. I met Ana recently at …

10 Years Later: Is Creativity Still Being Killed in Schools?

March 22, 2016 – 9:30 pm | One Comment | 398 views

After watching Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” in 2006, I have been actively looking and searching for creativity in schools. Are we seeing the evidence that creativity is as important as …

Feedback Street: Formative Assessment in History

March 16, 2016 – 9:01 am | Comments Off on Feedback Street: Formative Assessment in History540 views

In my previous post,  I’d discussed the flipped classroom and how I’ve structured my classroom.  One of the benefits that I’ve found with the flipped approach, has been the interactions that I’ve been able to …

Effective Science Teaching: A Tale of Two Teachers

March 9, 2016 – 3:19 pm | 7 Comments | 676 views

Over many years of teaching science myself and working with science teachers, I have come across many great teachers who guided their students to be successful learners and often inspired them to become scientists themselves. …

Burgundy Jazz: Exploring Black History Within a Local Context

February 23, 2016 – 11:07 am | One Comment | 443 views
Burgundy Jazz

February is Black History Month, a time to learn, honour and celebrate the achievements of black Canadians. An interesting entry point for you and your students to explore black history is Burgundy Jazz: Life and …