Talk about being misunderstood. The above worksheet, on which students were asked to assign certain activities to different genders, made the Facebook rounds recently, providing both liberals and teacher-bashers with their necessary Two Minutes Hate.
Obviously, the worksheet is a poorly executed entry point into a discussion about the ridiculousness of many gender roles, and the forwarding of it by otherwise intelligent readers is a good example of the need for critical reading in the networked age (Reading question one is always “What is the greater context of which this utterance was a part?” — don’t forward until you can answer that) .
But the point Downes makes cannot be over-emphasized — why is a teacher approaching such a difficult and touchy subject with what is clearly a worksheet designed at the last minute? Why don’t people that teach issues like this pool their knowledge on how to design this activity in a way that meets the lesson objectives without forcing students that already get it to fake failure?
There’s a lot of talk nowadays about tying OER to analytics and data, and using that information to iteratively improve OER. I think that’s a good discussion. But I’m reminded of how much benefit sharing can give that doesn’t even reach to that level analysis. Massive failure of educational resources is pretty normal — unclear multiple choice questions, wrongly worded or unclear instructions, activities where students get hung up on step one. You don’t need analytics to find that out — you just need a community of practice around the OER to spot potential pitfalls and work corrections in over time.