The concept of Open Education Resources came to the forefront of my attention yesterday. As defined by Wikipedia, OER are “digital materials that can be re-used for teaching, learning, research and more, made available free through open licenses, which allow uses of the materials that would not be easily permitted undercopyright alone.” Essentially these are resources that allow users to find content and materials for their defined objectives, they are typically free and not subject to strict copyright laws. While these resources are plentiful for higher education, the burgeoning field of resources for K-12 is about to explode.
Here is the article that added to my sparked inquiry today from KQED/MINDSHIFT.
Here are just a few resources found through a quick search:
- database of resources that can be searched via grade level and content area.
- from Creative Commons, this provides what, where, and why of OER.
- a slideshare with a ridiculous amount of resource options
- from JISC in the UK
I could go ON and ON about this topic and discuss Khan Academy, HippoCampus, CK-12, YouTubeEd, iTunesU or a host of other sites but it comes down to this… OER are a form of empowerment. By having open resources at the click of a mouse, we as teachers can be empowered to find our own resources, share our creations, and find the best fit for our individual students without having to purchase out-dated, expensive textbooks or buy pre-set materials. We must take advantage of this gift to glean resources that suit OUR kids and open the door for them to navigate their own learning process.
I’m planning to model this in my own practice by brushing up on my math skills. I am terrible at math. Yes, I admit it to the whole wide web world. Anyone who knows me professionally or personally knows that I am extremely math-phobic. A friend said today, “why don’t you take a course to catch up on your skills?” AHA! I can use OER to do this. I have created my own textbook using CK-12, made an updated account on Khan, and am going to download podcast/videocast options from iTunesU. This will allow me, the life-long learner, to remove the excuses of “I can’t learn that” from my vocabulary in direct practice.