I spent one day this week attending the RCET conference at Missouri State University. As always, I enjoyed hearing what other educators are doing in their classrooms and my colleague and I presented on our class, History Lab! One of my favorite, and freakishly pertinent, hashtags made several appearances at the RCET conference: #GoOpen. How exciting to hear other educators talking about the ability to access free, high-quality resources and encouraging teachers to share their best work as well!
Where Can I Find Information about OER?
Unfortunately, there is no single repository of Open Education Resources online. This will require some digital footwork at the onset. Fortunately, there is no single repository of Open Education Resources online. The #GoOpen movement expands as more institutions, classrooms, and districts open their archives, curriculum guides, and resources to educators. I'm finding out that the growing #GoOpen web is already massive and it's easy to get stuck in a few familiar places, but I am also always finding new resources through my PLN.
Ready to get started?
First of all, Twitter has been one of the greatest resources for connecting to others in the OER world. Load #OER and #GoOpen into Tweetdeck or your platform of choice and hold on! Trust me.
Edutopia has assembled a "Resource Roundup" for OER with primers divided by knowledge level and content area.
The #GoOpen initiative from the Department of Education is not only informative, but includes a "Launch Guide" detailing a step-by-step program to begin a #GoOpen initiative in your building and/or district.
The OER Commons is a searchable database of collected OER resources from institutions across the country.
My state of Missouri is drawing largely from the Illinois Open Education Resources initiative (iOER) as #GoOpenMissouri gets off the ground. Like the OER Commons, iOER is also searchable by grade level, subject area, standard, and more.
Speaking of Missouri, the Liberty school district in Liberty, Missouri has been a huge help in providing a model for OER implementation within a district by sharing their course standards k-12 and specific course content for several courses.
Amazon is currently beta testing Amazon Inspire, which will "put the best and most trusted digital resources at teachers’ fingertips, saving them valuable time that can be devoted to what they do best and enjoy most — teaching.” according to Amazon's general manager of K-12 Education, Rohit Agarwal.
Where are Some Good Resources for my History Classroom?
I've created a site (Live American History OER) where I'll be sharing my entire curriculum for 7th and 8th grade American History as I move forward with #GoOpen.
I've been loving the ability to curate my own collections from the Smithsonian on the Smithsonian Learning Lab.
The Google Cultural Institute is another opportunity to access world class collections of art and ephemera for use in the classrooms of multiple disciplines.
I haven't used a textbook for years and my administrators have been okay with it. However, some districts have separation anxiety and insist that those overpriced, overstuffed doorstops* are used (*in my opinion). With OER, textbook-huggers can rejoice in a variety of free textbook options, including: Openstax, Boundless, and my favorite, The American Yawp, which includes its own primary source reader.
Edsitement from the NEH is a treasure trove of lesson plans and accompanying materials for different disciplines.
We've Only Just Begun...
#GoOpen is a journey and I'm just talking my first steps. There is so much going on out there in the OER world and I've provided only an elementary overview I hope it's enough, though, to encourage you to start sharing your best work with other educators and bringing others' best work into your classroom. We'll all make mistakes and get sidelined but, as the inspirational internet quote generator says:
Glad to be starting the #GoOpen journey and happy to have you along for the ride.
Let's connect on Twitter: @theshoe_CMS
Let's connect on Twitter: @theshoe_CMS