Category Archives: EC&I 831

Ukulele Rock Stars!!!

Playing a song using the video

I cannot say how much I have loved the Kala app. It was well worth the $5.99 for a month subscription. I have been using it independently and in my classroom. Last post I showed some of the features of the apps, and I think the feature I like the most is the background music that plays during the song. It has really helped me keep time and it makes it sound more like the song since we are just using a simple strumming pattern. My class has absolutely loved playing the songs from the Kala app. We have been spending at least 20-30 minutes a day (sometimes more) playing our ukuleles. The first time we played a song using the video, my students thought it was too fast for them! The beauty of the Kala app is each tutorial video has the option to change the beats per minute. So I recorded a few songs with a slowed down tempo to ease the students into it. By the end of last week, most of my students were saying that the songs were too slow! So, we started to play some songs that have a quicker tempo and they are doing awesome! Here is a short montage of me playing some of the songs.

Unfortunately, this past week was a crappy week for getting anything done outside of school, so I wasn’t able to practice playing songs that use a different strumming pattern. I have been able to practice strumming the “Shoot ‘Em Ups” pattern and feel comfortable with it. The next step will be to start playing different chords while strumming the pattern.

This coming week I am going to make sure I carve out more time to work on my ukulele outside of school. I am also going to look into different apps that may be available on my phone or websites that have songs available on them. So far, I have been relying mostly on the Kala app. I am going to move away from pop music and learn some rock songs! Rolling Stones here I come!

Merlot…a fine wine???

Last week’s class was all about Open Education Resources (OER) and Open Education Practices (OEP). Like I said in my last post, I wasn’t really sure what OER’s were and didn’t have much experience using them. Our group last week mostly looked into Khan Academy during our time together and I have used that website quite a bit for math. So this week, I spent some time looking into Merlot. The MERLOT system provides access to curated online learning and support materials and content creation tools, led by an international community of educators, learners and researchers (taken from Merlot.org). I am not going to lie to you, I picked this particular website because of the name. I was really hoping that the website was going to be like the fine wine I like to drink, and not like the carbonated (although still tasty) wine. After looking through the website a bit, I quickly realized that it is not a resource that it was not going to live up to my hopes. The home screen of the website is neat, organized and user friendly, but once you move past the home screen, there are so many steps to take to find useful resources. I really like Daina’s comparison to the tedious process of shopping at Value Village. It takes a long time to work your way through this website to find a good and valuable resource.

The home screen has many different options for the user to search for resources. SmartSearch allows the user to search for open education resources using keywords, titles, URL of a website, ISBN or author. There is also two different ways to browse for resources on the home screen. Users can use the drop down Browse tab or scroll down and click the Browse by discipline button. This part of the search is easy to do, but I found the next part of the process to be pain staking.

When I started to look into the website, I decided to do a search for resources related to “gender identity”. I chose to look for resources on this topic because it has been a topic in the news a lot lately, and it is also one that is discussed in my classroom quite a bit. I was hoping to find some resources that would help me in my classroom (Quiet Elementary classroom with students in grade 7 and 8). I typed gender identity into the SmartSearch and 82 results popped up. Just for the sake of easiness, I clicked on the first resource on the page. The next page has the details of the material, which includes a description of the resource. To actually get to the resource, you need to click more buttons and warning about a new page opening. It is far too many steps to go through to actually get to the material. Also, like Mateo stated in his post, many of the resources that I clicked on were no longer available or had broken links.

I also agree with Mateo about the rating system on the website. Every time I was directed to a new website, Merlot would ask me to rate the material once going back to the website. I could have rated the material with 5 stars after only reading the title of the material. It makes me question the validity of the ratings.

The last thing that I would like to include in my review is that Merlot is not geared towards elementary schools. The materials that are gathered on Merlot would be useful for secondary and post-secondary teachers and schools. I may use Merlot for my university classes to help find resources that would be useful. I unfortunately did not have time to look into added materials, created materials and the course e-portfolio options on Merlot. I would hope that the process would not involve as many steps and searching for them. Has anyone out there used the other functions?

BCcampus OpenEd, A Great Resource

“Open Educational Resources” flickr photo by Eugene Open Educational Resources shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

Working on online courses in a post-secondary institution, I am very interested in OERs.  Some online classes don’t require textbooks, but lots do.  I think it would be amazing if we could use more open textbooks, and reduce the cost of taking classes for students.

I decided to explore and review the BCcampus OpenEd site to see what resources are available and how easy they are to find and use.  This collection of OERs fits my needs perfectly because its focus is on open textbooks for the most popular first and second-year classes in post-secondary education.

The first thing I noticed about BCcampus OpenEd is that the whole site is about educating people about open education and answering any questions they might have about why or how they should use open textbooks.  It answers the questions, what is open education, how to use open textbooks, how to create open textbooks and how to advocate for open education.

Once you are ready to discover the resources that are available, there 304 open textbooks to choose from. On the Browse Our Collection tab, there is a large search bar with filter options.  On this page, it clearly lists all of the filter options with descriptions, so you know exactly what each term means.

Filter options include:

  • Faculty Reviewed – choose open textbooks that have been reviewed and approved by instructors and faculty from B.C. and other provinces
  • Adopted – find open textbooks that have been selected by instructors and added to their curriculum
  • Accessible – open textbooks that meet the accessibility requirements outlined in the BCcampus Open Education Accessibility Toolkit
  • Ancillary Resources – open textbooks with additional components, which could include quizzes, case studies, simulations, multi-media content, and other tools to help the learning process

One thing that encourages instructors to use publisher textbooks is the additional resources that are available when they use that textbook.  Such as question banks, lesson plans, and learning activities.  So I was happy to see that there are 149 textbooks with ancillary resources on BCcampus OpenEd.  This is a great start to making open textbooks more appealing to instructors.

Another way to search the catalogue is by using the accordion menu on the left hand of the search bar.  I really like the accordion menu because it allows you to easily browse through the collection of textbooks and resources if you aren’t sure what you are looking for.  Or if you just want to see what is available.

BCcampus OpenEd

Once you find a textbook you are interested in, you can then choose from multiple formats to download it in for reading, editing or printing.

BCcampus did a great job when they created the OpenEd website.  It is very clearly laid out, and it highlights why open textbooks are important.  It explains how to adopt an open textbook and has lots of resources if you would like to create your own.  There are two different ways to search for a textbook and both were easy to navigate.  The one thing I would recommend is allowing users to rate textbooks.  That wasn’t available, but you were able to filter your search based on whether or not a textbook is Faculty Reviewed, which is a similar feature.  There also aren’t a huge number of resources available, but it is currently focusing on popular first and second-year classes and trades for post-secondary education.  If that is the area that you are in, this is a great resource and I would recommend it highly.

Week 6: How to Play Jazz Piano (without chord roots!)

This week was all about rootless voicings on the piano.  I carried on with my work on ‘Misty’ from last week and tried a different style of comping.  I originally planned on introducing another song this week, but I found the rootless voicings to be challenging and require more time.  I tried figuring out the voicings in my head at the piano, but it was too much to think about. So I decided to break it down by going back to the theory basics and writing out each chord, determining the root, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 13th.  Then, I wrote out the chords transitions so that there would be nice voice leading and common tones between the chords.

A side note about voice leading: I studied a lot of Bach chorales in my first and second year of music school, with the goal of understanding proper voice leading. There are lots of “rules” with voice leading, but they help with problems like:

“smoothness, independence and integrity or melodic lines, tonal fusion (the preference for simultaneous notes to form a consonant unity), variety, motion (towards a goal)” – Open Music Theory

Open Music Theory is an open source textbook (open educational resource). Cool!

In short, good voice leading makes music sound pleasing to the human ear! I really like the end result of my progress this week:

What I worked on:

  • continued with “Misty” – added a separate recording of the bass line in the left hand so I could comp using rootless voicings
  • rootless chord voicings – figuring out which notes to play and using good voice leading

Wins:

  • Starting to incorporate good voice leading
  • Overlaying multiple videos in my vlog

Fails:

  • I had to write out the chords this week (instead of figuring out the chords in my head). Although not my original plan, it allowed me to really understand the theoretical sides of rootless chords and good voice leading.

Resources Used:

Next week I am going to begin my final piece as part of my learning project. I am looking forward to learning my favourite jazz standard, “Autumn Leaves”.

Open Education

This past week was a new teacher in my school asked if I could help out with his Theory of Fight unit in Grade 6 Science. I was excited to lend a hand talking about something that I have some experience with. Although I don’t do a lot of flying anymore, it used to be a big part of my life. After talking to him about how I would approach this unit and looking for a few resources, I thought it would be a great opportunity to explore some of these OER sites.

Within an hour we had searched through several of the sites and put together a resource list based on some ideas I had and connections to curriculum outcomes. Many of the sites I looked at were easy to navigate and I was able to find relevant lessons and resources for the flight unit. I believe these are very valuable resources especially when used in conjunction with one another. I was able to build a nearly complete unit of study from nothing but these OER sites, youtube and a few other internet searches when specific information was needed to supplement info found on ck12 Foundation or other sites on the list provided.

OER education is something that I think most educators find useful. Resources are often expensive or unavailable so it often falls on teachers to find resources that connect to the curriculum while flowing in a way that allows for some personal creativity. After chatting with other teachers, it seems that they share my sentiments, they spend far to much time searching for usable resources that are cost effective and fit into Canadian content. If more places adopted OER resources, we would see an increase in both content and usability.

combine art

 I really like the idea of some of these OER sites that allow users to edit or upload their own content. I think this is a great idea and would help create a sense of collegiality that could lead to a society where open collaboration is a more common goal. With that comes some challenges. When you have a site that encourages people to edit and upload their own content, there will be a need to fact check things. This type of infrastructure would have a cost, which makes it difficult to be a free resource. This is where I think sites like teachers pay teachers are terrific. You have talented people creating resources that teachers can view and purchase. The monetary value of these lesson/unit plans encourages the buyer to use due diligence to critically analyze before purchase. The cost of these lessons/units are reasonable enough that the teachers/schools purchasing them can do so and stay within budget constraints. However, this cost benefit is also encouraging talented people to create better than average unit plans, which is in turn putting better resources in our classrooms. This is a win/win situation in my mind.

Supporting these websites and increasing the number of users is likely the best way to help these types of resources improve. As these become more mainstream and expand their user base they will also increase their funding and ability to maintain their sites.

Increasing OER raises another interesting question, if information is available freely online how long will schools, especially Universities stay open? There will always be a need for teachers, and education but what will it look like in the future. I believe that our economy will the brick and mortar schools open for the foreseeable future. Our modern society forces most families to be duel income, so the brick and mortar school is needed as lack of supervision in a “home school”, wouldn’t be realistic in most cases. That being said; post secondary education would be an easy transition to become OER, the people that want to learn will continue to do so. The only problem being, in a competitive job market, how do you prove you have the required education to apply for a job. The entire structure of post secondary education would be re-imagined and many economic barriers could be knocked down. If education was available to everyone that wanted it, and not just to those that could afford it… A lot could change.

This is only a rough document, but this is a good start on a flight unit resource list featuring many of the sites on the list provided that you are welcome to have/edit or share with others.

Theory of Flight

OEP

This week we had Verena Roberts as a guest speaker. Verena’s presentation about OEP was fascinating and intriguing for me. I chose to talk about OEP because I feel it will be kind of a continued discussed from my last post on OER

According to WikipediaOpen educational practices (OEP) is the use of Open Educational Resources for teaching and learning in order to innovate the learning process (Ehlers 2010). They are represented in teaching techniques that draw upon open technologies and high-quality open educational resources (OER) in order to facilitate collaborative and flexible learning.[1][2] They may involve students participating in online, peer production communities [3] within activities intended to support learning [4] or more broadly, any context where access to educational opportunity through freely available online content and services is the norm.”

I see OEP as a fascinating and an important approach that matches the current trend in education specifically, where all people have open access to voluminous content through  internet tools and social media.   I see more connection and interaction between  participants (learners and facilitators) that would lead to more engagement and sharing of knowledge, resources, and work experiences. ECI 831 is a perfect example of OEP where all the students are connected and are able to share resources openly and engage in fruitful discussions on various topics.

Starting with the benefits of OEP, as mentioned in the 7 Things you should know about… Open Education: Practices, “OEP help faculty develop more agency and autonomy by providing new tools and a broader framework to help them revise, remix, localize, and contextualize pedagogy and curricular re- sources. OEP also give agency to students by giving them more control over the structure, content, and outcomes of their learning and by creating opportunities for them to create learning materials.”

Providing all these capabilities to learners and educators would help achieve many of their objectives.    OEP participants would be able to draw on their professional experiences in discussions, therefore, keeping learners updated on new technologies, processes, techniques, topics, material, etc, in addition to allowing  learners to make more solid connections between theory and the practical world. OEP  also provide participants with networking opportunities with professionals in the field. I believe OEP help change an instructors’ way of thinking about their pedagogy and content. This explained in the following video.

OEP can be fundamental in specific situations. I asked an instructor to provide an example of how OEP can be best applied from his perspective, his answer was:  Let’s take for example developing a new course on “climate change for policy makers.”  Such courses would involve content that spans multiple disciplines such as environmental science, chemistry, engineering, economics and social sciences.   For example, to the transportation sector is known to be a major contributor to pollution. Although transportation is mostly an engineering discipline, it has a direct impact on economy and societal dynamics.   It would be difficult for a single instructor to have enough background in each of these various fields. OEP produced by a community of experts can be enabling in such examples.

However, there are some risks associated with OEP as mentioned in Wikipedia, such as the lack of certainty about its pedagogical value, which could be attributed due to the possible subjectivity of some of the participants. Another concern is related to the overuse of social media and the potential risk of learners using low-quality information sources (as covered in my previous post on OER.) OEP also requires more discussions and engagement from student, the overwhelming majority of whom have very limited time Student personalities may also play a factor, for example, introverted students or students with limited social media knowledge would be at a disadvantage with OEP. Loreli Thibault touched based on a very important risk when she said “Another issue that was voiced in our class group discussion, related to the primary school system, was lack of age-appropriate internet resources, especially for the younger students, such as in grade one. Additionally, teachers are not given adequate prep time to find appropriate resources.

I believe that integrating OEP into the classroom or into the educational system in general doesn’t have to start by completely revamping our way of teaching.   In some examples, OEP is almost a must as it enables covering the content of today’s complex topics (e.g. climate change for policy makers). OEP allows educators to cover multi-disciplinary topics efficiently, but this may have ramifications on students. I believe small starting steps can have a significant impact on our students, educators and open pedagogy. Further steps can be taken as the pros and cons are well understood by learners and educators.

 

 

Let’s Talk About OEP

This week in EC&I 831, we were fortunate to have a guest presenter, Dr. Verena Roberts, speak to us about Open Educational Practice (OEP) and examples in a K-12 educational setting. Prior to this class, my knowledge and exposure to OEP was very limited, as well as my understanding of the concept in general.  I am going to explore:

  • what is open educational practice?
  • what are the pros/cons of OEP?
  • what should OEP look like in an elementary (primary grades) school context?

What is Open Educational Practice?

First, let’s consider Dr. Roberts’ very thorough definition:

Open educational practices (OEP) in K-12 learning contexts can describe an intentional design that expands learning opportunities for all learners from formal to informal learning environments. Individualized open readiness can be demonstrated contextually, as a result of  teachers and students co-designing for personally relevant learning pathways where learners can collaboratively and individually share their learning experiences, that encourages communication of meaning through multiliteracies, that blends curriculum and competencies and that promotes community and networked interactions with other learners and nodes of learning from multiple cultural perspectives in digital and analog contexts (Roberts, 2019).

In Dr. Roberts’ presentation, she highlighted a few key elements in her definition: intentional design; expands learning opportunities; and formal to informal learning environments.  Open educational practices focus on the process over product and the idea that learning happens everywhere.  Furthermore, she discussed the importance of collaborative opportunities to create meaningful learning experiences that are personally relevant.  Finally, learning takes place in a community of networked learners blending curriculum and competencies.

To try and wrap my head around OEP, I did some more research to understand the goal of OEP.  Luckily OER Commons provided a specific definition:

The goal of Open Educational Practice (OEP) is to build the knowledge, skills, and behaviors that support and improve teaching and learning. Using open educational resources (OER) presents unique affordances for educators, as the use of OER is an invitation to adapt, personalize, and add relevancy to materials that inspire and encourage deeper learning in the classroom and across institutions. –OER Commons

This definition highlights how OEP can support teaching (as well as learning) and allow educators to differentiate open educational resources (OER) for their diverse student needs.  The key factor here is that by adapting material, teachers are able to provide relevancy that will allow for quality learning experiences.

Although this is not a review of a specific Open Educational Resource, I found OER Commons to be very useful in my perusal of OEP.  In particular, there is the ‘OER Commons Virtual Academy’ with a series a modules to help “advance your open educational practice”. I recommend checking this area out if you are not sure where to start or are new to OEP.

oer commons

A few pros of OEP:

  • ability to adapt material for relevant learning experiences
  • collaborative learning opportunities
  • high engagement among students

These are only a few of the positives of OEP, but they resonated with me as the focus is put on the learning experience of the student.  This relates back to Dr. Roberts’ explaining a flipped learning environment – from formal learning to informal environments as a way to engage students and focus on the process rather than the product. Teachers are able to design learning opportunities with students using open educational resources.   BC Campus Open Ed states:

When you use open pedagogy in your classroom, you are inviting your students to be part of the teaching process, participating in the co-creation of knowledge.

The idea of co-creating knowledge with your students sounds fulfilling and dreamy. But also a little “pie in the sky”, which leads me to some potential drawbacks of OEP.

A few cons of OEP:

  • learning curve for teachers to understand how to use OEP with students
  • limitations in certain classroom settings (ex. primary students vs. high school students)

In a small group class discussion, we talked about how exciting and meaningful these kinds of learning experiences would be with our students, but that the thought of using an OEP was a little daunting.  It feels like it would be a lot of effort to get set up using OEP with our students, and as Loreli mentioned, teachers may not have adequate time to find good open educational resources.  Teachers need to be very invested and see the potential benefits in order to take the time to learn and implement OEP.  Furthermore, it appears to be difficult to find resources appropriate for primary students compared to the vast array available for middles year and higher students.

But, luckily Dr. Roberts introduced our class to her framework, Open Learning Design Interventions (OLDI) to facilitate this process.

What should OEP look like in an elementary (primary grades) school context?

 OLDI (Roberts, 2019) takes place in four stages:

  1. Building Relationships
  2. Co-Designing Learning Pathways
  3. Building & Sharing Knowledge
  4. Building Personal Learning Networks (PLNs)

Using this framework, teachers can begin the process of incorporating OEP in their classroom.  Dr. Roberts also explains that younger learners (up to age 11) experience a “Teacher-Led Walled Garden of Open Exploration”.  This means the teacher helps provide different experiences for their students through inquiry-based learning opportunities. Some examples that could work for primary grades include: Skype in the Classroom, LiveArts Saskatchewan broadcasts and PenPal Schools.

Amanda tweeted asking her followers this question:

Including the image in her tweet helped show educators that they may already be using open educational practices without realizing it!  Amanda has some great ideas of how to use OEP in the primary classroom.

While this is by no means an exhaustive look at OEP, it is a start and will hopefully encourage you to learn more about how you can include open educational resources in your teaching practice.  We have to remember that our roles as educators are shifting to teaching students how to access, assess and apply knowledge by allowing creative learning opportunities. OEP is great direction to move towards if we want to continue to engage our students with personal, collaborative and meaningful learning opportunities.

Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

 

OPEN to the Possibilities!

The power of technology and the possibilities that technology opens for education are boundless.  We were recently reminded of this during our EC&I 831 class with guest Dr. Verena Roberts.  With my classmates, professor and our guest scattered over three provinces, we were all able to “meet” in our virtual classroom and learn together.  What a time to be alive!

Truly, everything I have learned in taking Dr. Couros’s EC&I classes has changed my professional life – the infusion of ed tech, the collaboration of ideas, blogging, using Twitter to build a PLN, attempting new apps and programs, becoming more comfortable with stepping outside of my comfort zone to help engage learners… I am so thankful that I enrolled in these classes.  But the biggest paradigm shift for me has occurred around the topic of Open Education.

A Quick Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER)

According to the OER Commons website, “The goal of Open Educational Practice (OEP) is to build the knowledge, skills, and behaviors that support and improve teaching and learning. Using open educational resources (OER) presents unique affordances for educators, as the use of OER is an invitation to adapt, personalize, and add relevancy to materials that inspire and encourage deeper learning in the classroom and across institutions.”

I have been grateful for the sharing and collaboration I have enjoyed with friends and colleagues over the course of my teaching career – using the internet to expand our knowledge and collaboration opportunities has opened up numerous possibilities.  From pen pal projects to having “experts” join our classes… and perhaps, most importantly, the opportunity to see how other teachers teach.  As an educator, time is our most precious commodity – and it has a price tag.  Having the time and ability to witness other teachers in practice is a luxury not many schools or school divisions can afford.  With technology opening up these possibilities, it has created an even more connected world for us.

I recently joined a Facebook group that is specifically for Advanced Placement English Literature teachers.  The sharing and collaborative aspect in this group is astounding.   I am absolutely learning so much from the discussion and sharing of resources with these educators, with the only stipulation being “please use and adapt as you see fit.”  Some ask that if we use, we mention them as the original creator but we can adapt as needed.  Some don’t mind if they receive no attribution at all.  Though some of these educators do sell their products on Teachers Pay Teachers or directly on their own websites, for the most part the resources and ideas that are shared within the group are without limitations.

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them.” (source)  When we utilize and share what others have created, students truly reap the benefits.  Being able to adapt or remix lessons and content shared freely by other educators means that I maintain small shreds of my sanity and can fool myself into thinking that I may have achieved a minuscule shift in the work/life balancing act.

I have been extremely thankful for Open Education over the past few months as I embarked on my learning project for EC&I 831.  I enrolled in a MOOC on Indigenous Canada.  Through videos, readings, and quizzes, the MOOC lead me through a series of lessons and gave me a good background on the history of Indigenous peoples in the comfort of my own home, at a pace dictated by myself, and – best of all – it was free.  Cost does not have to be a discriminatory factor for learners any longer – many of the MOOC topics I have investigated over the last few years have been available free of charge.  Granted, sometimes you get what you pay for … but my experiences with the three MOOCs I have taken have been very positive.  The learning platforms were easy to use and I found that even though the MOOCs I was enrolled in were non-connectivist, learning a topic of interest in a self-guided environment was beneficial to me.  My interest in the topics and my desire to learn made working through the courses enjoyable.

One of the drawbacks to Open Education, as my classmates Daniel and Loreli both mentioned this week, is adequate access to technology, both within school and outside of school in the community.  This may continue to be an issue for some learners, simply due to socio-economic reasons, or where they are geographically located.   It could also be an issue where schools or school divisions have restrictions on the types of websites, programs, or resources that they will allow students (and teachers!) to use within their learning environments.  This is definitely one area where our school divisions have not caught up to what might be considered best practice for student learning.

Because Verena’s chat with our class really got me thinking about a few different aspects of my teaching (specifically the development of a new online class), I read a few of her blog posts.  One of the posts that made me really excited and hopeful that I may be on the right track is Proposing OLDI (Version 1): An Open Learning Design Intervention for K-12 Open Educational Practice.  The post discusses the the K-12 Open Learning Continuum as “an ongoing, iterative continuum that has formal learning on one end, non-formal learning on the other end and a pile of learning in between” using Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of social interactions as the basis of learning with four iterative cycles:

Stage 1: Focus on Learner Context – Build Relationships

Stage 2: Development of Digital Literacies

Stage 3: Find Your Yoda

Stage 4: Be a Yoda

Focus on Learner Context – Revisit Relationships

Image result for stages of Open Learning Design Intervention

 

All of the things I am learning about Open Education make me question my face to face teaching practices and learning design.  Knowing what I would like to accomplish within my online course and the parameters within which I must design it is also frustrating!  For the time being, I will have to abide by the wishes of our school division and the tools it has the capacity to support for our students, and be thankful that I have colleagues who are willing to share and collaborate with me.

Do you have experience in developing Open Educational Resources or do you have experience with teaching online and developing online content?  I’d be very interested to hear about which LMS you use and why as well as what you would use “in a perfect world”?

 

11 Reasons to Use OER Commons in Your Classroom

Definition of OER:

According to OER commons, an OER is “Teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.”

What is OER Commons:

OER Commons is a free digital library of resources for teachers.  OER is a part of the worldwide movement that states, “Human right to access high-quality education.” Teachers can search for resources or use the Open Author tool to create lessons or documents.

Open resources are always free, but free resources do not always mean open.  For example, OER commons explains that free resources may introduce fees to access these resources.  Furthermore, free resources that may not be modified, adapted or redistributed are not considered to be OER.

Instructional Videos on How to Use OER Commons Effectively

ISKME has curated a list of How-To videos on navigating OER Commons.  This list provides teachers with the necessary videos to navigate the 30,000 resource database.

OER Commons Connecting with Each Other To Provide Cross-Curricular Learning Experiences

Why Should You Use OER Commons?

1.  Saved or shared through Google Classroom.

OER Commons allows you to create your lessons within their platform and then transfer the lessons, modules or resources to your Google Classroom.

2.  Can search by education standards (Currently only common core)

While searching for resources within OER Commons it allows the user to filter resources through searching by specific standards. Currently, you can only search by the standards used in the United States, but educators in Canada may find it useful to filter to certain standards that match to their outcomes.

3.  Can search and filter by subject area, education level, material type, language, and provider.

Due to the volume of resources that are found on OER Commons, it is important that you filter your resources the best that you can.  As it takes time to go through all the resources available.

4.  1000s of resources make it crucial to filter out resources in order to find quality resources.

OER Commons features over 30,000 resources that educators can use to meet their classroom needs.  As said previously, be sure to filter, and use the user rating to find resources that are quality resources rated by other educators.

5.  Promotes Collaboration between educators

One of the 21st century learning skills is collaboration.  OER Commons allows educators to collaborate with one another through the creation of groups.  If educators are promoting collaboration with their students, OER provides opportunities for educators to collaborate together.

6.  Educators are able to adapt for their own as the resources are through the public domain.

OER Commons should be the first stop shop for teachers looking for resources.  OER Commons allows educators to adapt their content to the needs of their students.  The ability to use their built-in lesson editor provides an easy way to alter lesson plans and resources.

7.  Access to textbooks, multimedia, and research-based practices for free.

Not only are their lesson plans available for use, but there is access to textbooks, multimedia resources, research-based practices for free.  These resources provide educators with additional resources to supplement the learning already in the classroom.

8.  Keep information current, by adapting information people can keep their information current and up to date.

Due to the ability to adapt the information in OER Commons many resources are fairly current and up to date. It is important that we are providing students with relevant information.

9.  You can take training and PD through ISKME, the group that created OER commons. View webinars and other resources.

OER Commons provides PD training and offers webinars about their services in addition to learning more about Open Educational resources in general.  They pride their PD as educators teaching educators about OER.

10.  Build your own modules, resources and lesson builder

The ability to create and share modules, resources, and lessons is built into the program itself. This provides an easy way for educators to share what they have created with other teachers.

11.  View collections of resources such as STEAM, Ancient Civilizations, and various educational textbooks.

OER Commons has curated resources around popular subjects such as STEAM, Ancient Civilizations, and countless others.  This provides educators with easy searching by providing fully indexed collections of resources.  To find exactly what educators want and need.