#CurateOER: What are we seeking to learn about K-12 librarians and OER?

Through open licensing, Open Educational Resources (OER) enable possibilities for new, more collaborative teaching and learning practices—because the materials can be used, adapted and shared across learning communities. Realizing the potential of OER, school librarians have begun to play an ever-increasing role in enabling its use by working to curate OER to meet specific teaching and learning needs in their schools. But what do these nascent practices look like, and how might they be further enabled within and across schools?

Exploring OER Curation: School Librarian Practices and Enablers

ISKME, in partnership with Florida State University School of Information, is currently conducting a national study to explore the OER curation practices of school librarians.

The study seeks to document what OER curation looks like for school librarians who are leading the way in OER curation practice. And for school librarians who are new to OER, the study seeks to assess how OER might fit into, and potentially advance, their current work and practice. The study also seeks to explore the supports that are needed to enable school librarians to deepen their OER curation practice, if they wish to do so.

Scope of the Study

The study began in 2017 by surveying a group of 95 school librarians from five states—including California, Michigan, New Hampshire, Florida and Washington—about their awareness of OER and engagement in OER curatorial practices in their schools. In early 2018, ISKME’s researchers observed 30 of these participants to see what OER curation looks like in their daily school environments. The study also encompassed interviews with district leaders about existing policy and supports to enable the curatorial role.

Early Insights

Our early analysis of the study data reveals that OER curation expresses itself in varied ways for participating school librarians, ranging from the creation of OER “playlists” to supplement core curriculum materials, to the development of annotated, bundled collections of resources on topics mandated by new curriculum policies in their state (such as materials on LGBTQ contributions to history to meet the requirements of California's Fair Education Act). Some librarians are also finding, evaluating, and adapting OER to build lessons and units that meet content gaps in their district. Each of these practices is exciting, and we look forward to reporting on them more fully as our study progresses.

We are also learning that the school librarian does not work in isolation. Although they are not typically part of a formal OER implementation team in their schools, they rely on teacher and student collaboration to enable their curation work; many also have support from school or district administrators in their OER curation effort.

Next Steps for the Study

As we learn more, we ultimately aim to build a framework to guide K-12 OER curation that is built on an understanding of the varied needs and contexts of the school librarian’s work. The framework will be co-developed with input from the study’s participating school librarians and their teacher colleagues, and will be shared widely as an openly licensed, reusable resource in early 2019.

Stay tuned to learn more through upcoming blog posts and social media by following  #CurateOER.

More About the Study: The study is being led by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (www.iskme.org), and is titled “Exploring OER Curation and the Role of School Librarians.” The study is supported by the Institute of Library and Museum Services (www.imls.gov), under grant number LG-86-17-0035-17. For additional information, please write to amee@iskme.org or cynthia@iskme.org


July 02, 2018