Open Educational Resources
The first official Educational Technology Summer Institute has come and gone. Fifteen teachers with various backgrounds gathered for one week to improve how they use technology in the classroom. We focused on technologies that don’t regularly appear in the classroom. Technologies included virtual reality, augmented reality, QR codes, and a list of others. If you are looking a these ideas and thinking “Hey, I already do that stuff” then congrats. You are ahead of the curve. However, many are not. Because of this, each student submitted a teaching unit with their ideas incorporated into OERCommons. OERCommons is a great resource for submitting or locating OER resources. Open educational resources are teaching materials that can be used freely without a cost. They can also be modified to fit specific educational needs. OER can include anything from a video to an entire lesson plan. Educators are the main contributors to the OER supply. Connecticut, where I work and live, has recently become a #GOOPEN state. There are several benefits to submitting material to OER repositories.
- It improves the supply (and hopefully quality) of available resources.
- It allows teachers to be part of the solution and add resources that are more likely to be relevant to other teachers.
- More high quality OER resources improves the argument for districts to commit to OER.
Districts committing to OER give their teachers access to current high-quality materials that better suit the needs of their students. This is in contrast to the usual textbook cycle. Hard copy textbooks can become outdated much quicker than most districts can afford to purchase more current editions. Transitioning from textbooks to OER may not be an easy process for some because it is not what they are used to, but there are many benefits. There are still many questions educators need answered to demystify OER like what it is and what kind of resources it can provide.
There are two upcoming workshops that can help teachers better understand the benefits of OER:
Fairfield University is offering a free introductory workshop on Thursday October 12 as part of an educator series they are doing this year. Digital professional badges will be given to anyone who attends. The event will also be streamed live on the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions (GSEAP) Facebook page.
NERCOMP is offering an online course: OER: It’s as Easy as 123. This is a paid course but will offer a much more in depth comprehensive look.
The Fairfield University Library also has a webpage dedicated to OER resources that is worth checking out.
I hope you find this useful. If you do, please share with others who may also benefit. Don’t forget to also follow me on Twitter @JoshuaElliott3 for more tips and ideas.