For my last blog I wrote about Small School Collaboration and an Online Educational Resources (OER) consortium I participate in. Since then, I attended the 2016 OER Summit at ESD 123 in Pasco, WA.
OER can strengthen your district’s approach to instructional materials. Many textbooks claim alignment with common core. Some are very good, some, miss the mark. OER looks for high-caliber lessons aligned to CCSS standards. Some educators across the state are doing the heavy lifting on this. The following may help facilitate searches:
- First and foremost, OER licensing and remixing.
You want to find resources that have a Creative Commons license. This allows you to share (to copy, distribute, and transmit the work); and remix (to adapt the work). Remixing is critical. Seldom will you find a resource that’s completely plug and play; being able to alter and shape the content to reach your learners is priority one.
Help: when in doubt contact: BARBARA SOOTS
OER Program Manager
- Some places to get you started.
Use Google Advanced Search:
OER Commons https://www.oercommons.org/
My consortium work is here: Southeast WA OER Consortium. From the main page: Connect, select Hubs, Washington OER.
National Science Digital Library https://nsdl.oercommons.org/
Organizations with OER:
Library of Congress https://www/loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials
Digital collections primarily for Social Studies, including extensive primary sources.
Interactive simulations for science and math.
Student Achievement Partners http://achievethecore.org
Each district has to decide whether to use OER for supplemental curriculum or for stand-alone full course material. This is a district decision. One that involves several stakeholders: school board, administration, literacy coaches, and teachers. Here are some resources for Full-Course OER:
Grandview School District has set the bar high for implementing full-course OER. Grandview literacy coaches and teachers worked tirelessly to create Math and ELA course OER content aligned to CCSS 4th-11th grade. The district is honored to share its work and process: http://www.gsd200.org.
Regardless of supplemental or full-course implementation, the number one challenge is time. Digital content can be a game changer, but not without considerable time, as is the case for most worthwhile instructional interventions.
Once a resource is found, ask yourself:
• Does the license give me permission to download, use, and/or make adaptations?
• How will I vet for quality and alignment?
• Who needs to approve use of this resource?
• Where will I store it?
• How will I edit it?
• Can I add it to my Learning Management System (LMS)? (LMS: Google Classroom, Moodle, Edmodo, etc.)
• How will I distribute?
Questions your district needs to consider:
· How often does your district assess course standards alignment and effectiveness? Does your current policy address the full range of options available now for instructional materials?
· What level of course updating is your district facing?
Successful OER implementation requires professional development. Sometimes the savings in purchasing materials helps offset this cost, but districts cannot assume not purchasing textbooks will equate to a financial reduction. Teachers need time to curriculum map, locate and vet resources, and revise instruction before, during, and after implementation. OER is a noun and a verb. A journey that requires preparation, collaboration, and commitment.