Posts Tagged 'OER Commons'

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

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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K12 Open Ed: Another place to find links to free education resources

Check out K12 Open Ed–a site filled with links to sites on the Internet that provide open source and free educational content such as Textbook Revolution and OERCommons. -Anna

OER Commons–More Great and Free Teaching Resources!

Today I was introduced to two of the organizing forces behind the OER Commons website (OER stands for open educational resources). The website explains, “OER Commons is a teaching and learning network, from K-12 lesson plans to college courseware, from algebra to zoology, open to everyone to use and add to.”

I found OER Commons immediately appealing because it is easy to navigate, it looks very Web 2.0 and it already contains thousands of free and useful lesson ideas and teaching resources. Check out the primary education resources! In particular I liked the learning object titled “100+ Web 2.0 Ideas for Educators: A Guide to RSS and More.” As a person relatively new to blogging, social bookmarking, tagging and more, this is an excellent, easy-to-reading guide to the world of Web 2.0. Thank you Quentin D’Souza (an elementary resource teacher from Toronto) for sharing this useful guide! -Anna



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