During our grouping’s exploration of an Open Education Resource during class last week, my group randomly picked MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching). Subconsciously, I think this was because it shares the name of a fine wine. However, after some initial exploration, it didn’t leave me with a smooth finish of satisfaction like a bottle of merlot does. We compared it to the likes of shopping at Value Village due to having to tediously search through many options of a selected topic to find something of potential value. I also noticed that this resource is mainly geared towards those in secondary or post-secondary education. This was confirmed by WikiEducator for which they state that MERLOT is “designed primarily for faculty and students of higher education”. For this reason, I went on to search for an OER that was more geared towards my area of interest, elementary education.
However, much like Loreli identified in her post on OER’s, there is a lack of these resources for primary educators. To search for more relevant OER’s related to elementary outcomes, I typed into Google “open education primary school resources”. The first two that were listed were OER Commons and Open School BC. Allison had previously shared with me the Open School BC website when we had looked at OER’s earlier this term, so I thought I’d check it out for myself.
Making education and training effective is what we’re all about. We design and develop solutions for specific learning situations or needs – from math resources for first graders to online training for the workplace.Open School BC
As learned through their Explore Our History link, this Open Education resource is a continuation of the printed correspondence courses offered to students in rural BC areas started in 1919. First off, the site offers public sector online courses, most for a cost of $45 (listed below).
However, the section on this website that was most useful to me was the K-12 resources. Within this link, there are four areas:
- K-12 eTextbooks
- Adult Education eTextbooks
- Open Course Resources
- Teacher Support Resources
Upon going through the eTextbooks, I was immediately downloading ALL (yes, all) of the resources here. Unfortunately, there isn’t a large amount of them and they primarily only pertain to Math and ELA (not all grade levels but could be used in all grades). I will be sure to share some of these with my colleagues.
Next, I easily navigated to the Open Course Resources. Here, learners can study Grade 10 to 12 non-credit course resources. To get full credit for them, they need to register for each online course through a BC school. There are two options for online courses: Access Free Courses or Professional Learning for educators. I decided to see what the free courses were all about and I registered (as a guest) in English 10.
It was well laid out and easy to navigate through. However, I was disappointed to see that it required some resources to be acquired by the learner (ex. Sightlines 10). On the plus side, there is the option to print the lesson resources for those that prefer a hard copy to use.
Last, but not least, I took a stroll through the Teacher Support Resources, which were simply a list of websites for both teachers and students that are categorized under specific topics.
Now for my Siskel & Ebert OER review, but instead of thumbs, I’ll use a 5-star rating!
It is user-friendly?
The site itself is very simple and easy to understand how to use. It wasn’t overwhelming like some other sites that I explored. The descriptions of each section were brief but succinct to allow for easy navigation.
Is it well-organized?
The organization was spot on with the use of menu links at the topic to help navigate to the sections of interest.
Are the resources typically of high-quality?
The resources that I accessed ranged from print and use resources, online references, to full course content. The pdf’s were extensive and provided parent, teacher, and student-specific guidance with accompanied activities.
Is it easy to navigate/search?
Due to the simple organization, it was easy to navigate and look for available resources. There is a catalogue of resources to search through but again, because the resources are so limited, it didn’t offer much for my inputted search topics.
Is it visually appealing?
It is not visually overwhelming with visual and text overload. The use of drop-down menus for specific topics also allows for easy viewing and usage.
Would it be valuable to educators that you work with?
Yes, but it is not a one-stop-shop OER. As much as it says K-12 resources, it really only focuses on middle years and secondary content.
All in all, this website is worth a peruse if you are middle years or high school focused. Let me know if you find value in it.