Posts Tagged 'FreeReading'

The Anatomy of Open Education

Kevin Simpson (International Educator and Founder of Know Do Serve Learn) recently asked me to write a short article on OER for his newsletter. I’ve pasted a copy of the article below. To see the original post and to read Kevin’s full newsletter, click here. Thanks for the opportunity Kevin!

Anatomy

The advent of the Web brings the ability to disseminate high-quality materials at almost no cost, leveling the playing field…We’re changing the culture of how we think about knowledge and how it should be shared and who are the owners of knowledge.” - Cathy Casserly, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

With an increasing number of educators putting their lessons, curricula and learning objects online for others to use, customize and share, the open education movement is at a tipping point. That said, with so many educational resources available on the Internet, how does one go about finding the “perfect resource for class tomorrow” without losing too much time, money or sleep?

Before we get to the answer of this question, it is important to take a quick step back and understand “the anatomy of open education”…

What is Open Education?

Open education is a term that refers to education in which knowledge, best practices and learning objects (lessons, units, etc.) are shared freely via the Internet for others to use and under many licenses to modify and re-share.

Why Open Education?

The benefits of open education are many (customization, cost-savings, freedom to innovate, etc.), but one of the primary advantages of the open education movement is that of access. Anyone who has an Internet connection via computer or mobile phone can access millions of readings, videos, simulations, lesson plans, interactive courses and more… all for free!

Open Education and Teacher Effectiveness…

Research shows time and time again that teachers have the greatest potential to influence student achievement (North Central Regional Education Laboratory 2009, McKinsey 2007, Darling-Hammond 1997). Furthermore, the literature indicates that effective teachers tend to exhibit—commitment (to help every child succeed), information-seeking (intellectual curiosity), flexibility (willingness to differentiate), and passion for learning (drive to support student learning) amongst several other traits (UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning 2004, Kemp & Hall, 1992).

Luckily, the ethos of open education goes hand-in-hand with these findings, enabling educators endless opportunities to improve their craft. Thanks to the millions of people actively engaged in sharing their ideas and content online, teachers today have 24-7 access to continued learning opportunities, professional development, lesson planning guides and resources for differentiation. Take one look at sites like Edutopia, Discover Ed, and Connexions and you will be blown away by the number of free resources available to help educators continuously improve the content area knowledge, skills and expertise they bring to the classroom.

Where to Start—Finding the Perfect Open Education Resources for your Classroom

The following is a curated list of open education resources targeted at helping K-12 teachers find classroom and professional development resources quickly, easily and for free:

  • Curriki.org—“Curriki is a social entrepreneurship organization that supports the development and free distribution of open source educational materials to improve education worldwide.  The online community gives teachers, students and parents universal access to a wealth of peer-reviewed K-12 curricula, and powerful online collaboration tools”.
  • FreeReading.net—“FreeReading is a high-quality, open-source, free reading intervention program addressing literacy development for grades K-3. Schools and teachers everywhere can use the complete, research-based 40-week program for K-1 students, or use the library of lessons to supplement existing curricula in phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing. The site is also filled with free, downloadable supplemental materials including flashcards, graphical organizers, illustrated readers, decodable texts, audio files, videos and more”.
  • OERCommons.org—“OER Commons has forged alliances with over 120 major content partners to provide a single point of access through which educators and learners can search across collections to access over 24,000 items, find and provide descriptive information about each resource, and retrieve the ones they need. By being ‘open,’ these resources are publicly available for all to use, and principally through Creative Commons licensing, many thousands are legally available for repurposing, modifying and improving”.

To find additional open education resources of note, visit Bon Education.

The Future Cost of Education

A recent post on Mashable, titled, “In the Future, the Cost of Education will be Zero,” author Josh Catone shares a recent statement by VC and “Hacking Education” organizer Brad Burnham. He writes:

Knowledge is, as the economists say, a non-rival good… If I eat an apple, you cannot also eat that same apple; but if I learn something, there is no reason you cannot also learn that thing. Information goods lend themselves to being created, distributed and consumed on the web. It is not so different from music, or classified advertising, or news.

A nice notion indeed!

To the sharing of knowledge!

Anna Batchelder

Founder, Bon Education

www.boneducation.com

@bon_education

Transliteracy: Do you have it?

Thanks to tools like the WordPress analytics tool, Google Analytics and HootSuite I can gauge how many people visit my blog, website and Twitter feed, which sites refer the most readers, most popular posts, etc.

When it comes to referrals, I am eternally grateful to sites like  Web English Teacher, FreeReading, Reading Rockets and the Reading Tub (amongst many others) for continuing to send large amounts of traffic to this blog and for sharing so many wonderful posts and literacy resources themselves. It is so wonderful that from Dubai, I can connect with literacy-lovers from around the world!

Yesterday, I noticed two new referral sites that I thought I would share simply because their content was so useful to me!

The transliteracy sideshow above by librarian Bobbi Newman and featured on library professional Gena Hasket’s post on BlogHer is an excellent presentation to share with educators, learners, librarians and parents on the importance of transliteracythe ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media. Thanks Gena for recommending that readers think about and promote transliteracy. And, thank you for sending readers here to this blog!

I would also like to give a shout out to the American Association of School Librarians for including a link to this blog in the School Library Media Specialist’s Roll in Reading Toolkit. If you are looking for toolkits and advocacy materials for helping parents, teachers and others understand the importance of transliteracy, digital literacy, information literacy, etc., make sure to view all of the toolkits on the American Association of School Librarians’ site.

Thinking about transliteracy…

Anna

@bon_education

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Free Technology Tools for Literacy Teachers (NECC Unplugged)

This summer I’ve decided to take a mini break from Dubai’s 120 degree heat to spend some time doing technology trainings in the Caribbean and US. At the moment I am at the National Education Computing Conference in DC and with the 80 degree heat, I must say, it feels like winter!

If you are at NECC and have an interest in free literacy tools for your classroom, make sure to stop by NECC Unplugged at 11:30am EST (Wednesday, July 1). If you can’t make it to DC, you can sign into Elluminate and watch online (for more details on this, click here). I’ve posted my presentation on Slideshare and below. Feel free to take a look! Afterward, make sure to spend some time playing with FreeReading, Curriki and the other open education resources mentioned below!

Cheers,

Anna

PS To follow live coverage of NECC (through tomorrow), take a look at Curriki’s tweets with the tag #NECC09. We’ve been busy tweeting a number of links to literacy and technology tools for the classroom, as well as articles on open education.

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Open Education Resources and Links (Re: Dubai ISTE Conference Links)

Tomorrow I will give a presentation on “Open and Collaboratively Developed Education Resources” at the 2009 Gobal Forum on Innovation and Technology in Teaching and Leading in Dubai. So that presentation attendees don’t have to take copious notes (and so that others can benefit as well), I’ve decided to post links from my presentation here!

Just in case you’re wondering what open education resources (OERs) areWikipedia defines OERs as “educational materials and resources offered freely and openly for anyone to use and under some licenses to re-mix, improve and redistribute.” I like to think of OERs like a delicious cookie recipe–Sara passes her recipe to Michiko. Michiko decides to add dark chocolate chips to the recipe and passes the recipe along to several people over the Internet. Mustafa gets a hold of the recipe and decides it would benefit from some rock salt and an egg yolk. He then posts the recipe for others to see… and so on! Just replace the cookie recipe with a lesson plan, an educational video or a collaboratively developed unit or other resource and you’ve got yourself an OER!

There are several fabulous OER projects that are 100% worth checking out if you are looking for lessons, eager to share resources or interested in collaborating on education projects with people around the globe:

  • FreeReading–a K-3 open source literacy curricula program and community
  • Curriki–a community of educators that share K-12 multilingual OERs with people across the globe
  • MIT Open Courseware–with over 1000 free college courses online, this one is NOT to be missed
  • Open Learning Initiative–sponsored by Carnegie Mellon, take a look at the site’s tutors, virtual labs, intro courses and more!
  • Connexions–Based out of Rice University, the site contains content in the areas of arts, business, humanities, math and tech and social sciences
  • CK-12–if you are look for free full textbooks, this site is a must-bookmark!
  • OER Commons–more wonderful K-12 and higher ed OERs! Do a search for OERs and you’ll find a ton of useful background information on using and finding OERs

Finally, if you are interested in finding teachers to collaborate with on OERs or other cross-border initiatives, make sure to spend some time on:

  • The Global Education Collaborative–”a community of teachers interested in global education”
  • ePals–connect with thousands of teachers and students around the world on collaborative education and volunteer projects
  • Curriki groups–create or find a group that interests you and start building and exchanging OERs

Enjoy,

Anna

PS Don’t forget to think about copyrights when you use and post OERs! To find a flexible license for your intellectual property, take a look at the Creative Commons!

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Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2008

fish

2009 is quickly approaching, along with the holiday shopping season… So, before hitting the bookstore to stock up on gifts for your family, friends, classroom and perhaps self, take a look at the
New York Times‘ Best Illustrated Children’s Books 2008 slide show.

I absolutely adore the illustrations in Wave (by Suzy Lee) given that I currently reside in the middle of a very hot desert! The watercolors in Pale Male (by Janet Schulman, illustrated by Meilo Alfred) are breathtaking as well!

If you are looking for free readers to send home with your students over the holidays, make sure to check out the printable illustrated reading passages on FreeReading. For example, the illustration above comes from the story Fish (by Lisa Webber, illustrated by Cheryl Johnson)–a FreeReading reader that can be used to practice contractions, author’s purpose and identifying details.

To inspiring illustrations and holiday gift ideas!

Anna

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FreeReading.net adds over 250 free new printables, lessons and readers!

I am excited to announce that FreeReading now has over 250 new and FREE K-3 vocabulary, comprehension and morphology activities and printables! In addition, we just added 60 new illustrated beginning readers that focus on advanced phonics (compound words, word families, etc.), fluency and comprehension skills!

Vocabulary lessons target tier 2 vocabulary words from ~150 popular children’s stories including books like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Fancy Nancy. To see all of the Vocabulary graphic organizers and build mastery activities click here. You can also find vocabulary activities by common themes such as family and friends and my world here.

Comprehension lessons focus on important skills and strategies such as identifying a purpose for reading, story elements, prediction and more. For links to all of the comprehension printables click here.

Morphology lessons include activities for the most popular prefixes and suffixes K-3 student encounter in texts and everyday conversations. For links to all of the morphology printables click here.

Finally, you can find links to 60 new illustrated FreeReading beginning readers here. I particularly like A Firefighter’s Thanksgiving and Transportation.

Check the new FreeReading resources out and tell your friends about FreeReading by sending them a link to FreeReading here.

Enjoy!

Anna

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Inviting book authors into your classroom

Last week I attended the International Reading Association Annual Conference in Atlanta to present FreeReading. While I was there, I met Nick Glass, founder of TeachingBooks.net. I love the concept behind his site–to invite book authors into your classroom as you read their books! The site states:

TeachingBooks.net specializes in creating original content with award-winning authors and illustrators to enable you to connect with the author the moment you are reading a book — for any subject area you are teaching.

Authors talk about journaling, doing research, bringing history to life, and working with inspiring ideas. Illustrators show techniques they use to create picture books, graphic novels, and more. TeachingBooks.net original content highlights the opportunity for you to have the author as a primary-source resource, sharing the professional work they do.

TeachingBooks.net original content includes:

Although I typically don’t talk about for-fee sites, this one is too good to pass up! To get a glimpse of what the site is about, check out the FREE author name pronunciation guides or start a free trial here.

Happy author studying!

Anna

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The New Face of FreeReading!

The new FreeReading site design just went live! Check it out! Thanks to everyone that worked so hard to make this happen!

Anna

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Endless String and Other Illustrated Children’s Texts

I never cease to be amazed by the talent and enthusiasm displayed by members of the FreeReading Community! Thanks to Cheryl Johnson for contributing 15 illustrations to the previously unillustrated texts on FreeReading! Below is her cover to the short story Endless String. To see the other story illustrations she’s created to-date (including Fran’s Magic Blanket, Festival Fun and Rat’s Candy Plan), click here. Feel free to print these stories for your students. They are great for practicing decoding, fluency and comprehension. Thanks Cheryl! -Anna

Seeking Imaginative Artists to Illustrate Open Source Children’s Stories

Promote your artwork and help children around the world learn how to read! The FreeReading.net development team is currently seeking artists to create illustrations for the short children’s texts on FreeReading.net.

FreeReading is a high-quality, open-source, free reading intervention program for grades K-1. Developed by a team of instructional designers at Wireless Generation and teachers across the country, the FreeReading site has a community of over 100,000 educators in all 50 states and 167 countries. In addition, FreeReading is the first open-source instructional program to be approved through an official state adoption. The state of Florida recently approved FreeReading as a supplemental reading program that state schools may use during the 2008-2009 school year.

 

If you are artistically inclined or know people that are, feel free to pass along this opportunity. More information can be found here:

 

Seeking Imaginative Artists to Illustrate Open Source Children’s Stories

 

Cheers,

Anna

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Illustrated Decodable Texts

We are beginning to add illustrations to the decodable readers on FreeReading.

Click here to look at the decodable fiction texts.

Click here to look at the decodable non-ficiton texts.

There are still many stories on FreeReading that do not have illustrations. Please feel free to send the FreeReading Development Team your own illustrated versions so that we may add them to the list. You can email us at help@free-reading.net.

Anna

capture.jpg

FreeReading Live Webcast Tuesday February 26, 2008 (4pm EST)

Please join me and my colleague Tonika as we present FreeReading next Tuesday during a live Webcast at 4pm EST! We will give you a tour of the FreeReading site as well as ideas for implementing the FreeReading literacy intervention program in your literacy classroom.

Register for the Webcast here.

Anna

FreeReading is a high-quality, open-source, free reading intervention program for grades K-1. Schools and teachers everywhere can use the research-based FreeReading program, selecting lessons to supplement basal curricula, or working through the complete 40-week scope and sequence, which currently focuses on phonological awareness and phonics. Vocabulary and comprehension are coming soon. Developed by a team of instructional designers at Wireless Generation and teachers across the country, FreeReading has been reviewed by an advisory board of the country’s leading reading researchers, who also guide the expansion of FreeReading content.

 

Open-source-based instructional programs such as FreeReading offer schools significant benefits. Open-source technology makes it possible to update and change an instructional program in real-time, without the 5- to 7-year wait between new textbook editions. FreeReading is significantly less expensive to produce and distribute, enabling widespread access to a high-quality instructional program at no charge. The growth of FreeReading.net and open-source instructional programs has the potential to free up billions of dollars annually earmarked for textbook purchases, giving school systems the opportunity to spend instructional dollars on what they decide is important for improving teaching and learning — materials, tools, or services.

 

Open-source and Web 2.0 technologies also enable FreeReading users to easily adapt the content to their needs, contribute and share their own materials as supplemental lessons within the scope and sequence, and participate in discussions about early literacy. As a result, FreeReading always reflects the collective wisdom of a worldwide community of educators who understand how children best learn to read. Since its introduction in November, the FreeReading community has grown rapidly to include educators in all 50 states and 165 countries. In addition, FreeReading is the first open-source instructional program to be approved through an official state adoption. The state of Florida recently approved FreeReading as a supplemental reading program that state schools may use during the 2008-2009 school year. 

A Jingle about Reading!

My friend Eli wrote a very cute jingle about FreeReading that is guaranteed to make you smile. Listen to it here. Thanks Eli! -Anna

Florida adopts free open content reading platform–FreeReading.net

The state of Florida officially adopted www.FreeReading.net (a free open source literacy program) as a K1 supplementary intervention for its 2008 instructional materials adoption process! Learn more about it:

eSchool News: Florida adopts open-content reading platform

USA Today: Fla. approves free, online reading program

FreeReading.net adopted by the Florida Department of Education

 

FreeReading.net

 

Today EdWeek posted the following article:

Florida Approves Free, Web-Based Program for Struggling Readers.

As a member of the FreeReading.net team, this is very exciting news! For Literacy is Priceless Readers that want to learn more about FreeReading.net, click here.

At FreeReading.net, educators everywhere can access a free, high-quality, sequential, research-based reading intervention program for grades K-1. Open source and Web 2.0 technology enable educators to adapt FreeReading content to their needs, add their own lessons within the 40 week scope and sequence and participate in discussions about early literacy and best practices in the classroom. -Anna

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