School is OPEN!

Seven Tips for Using OER in Your Classroom

Open Education Resources (OER), like those in OER Commons, are part of a worldwide movement that is making educational content openly available to all. OER are lessons, course materials, and other content that is created, adapted, and shared to serve the needs of teachers and learners. With increased expectations and diminishing resources, now is the time, more than ever, to build “open” into your school culture.

1) Discover OER. OER extends your creativity and expands the walls of your classroom. OER content is strong and can integrate technology into your practice. In fact, some schools are building their entire curriculum using OER. Resource idea: Written in Bone: The Secret in the Cellar is a forensic study based on a 17th century body discovered along Chesapeake Bay and includes Smithsonian teacher resources, a web comic, and student activities. Smithsonian in OER Commons.

     Challenge: This year build at least one new OER into your instructional design. Search OER Commons for ideas.

2) Share OER. Teacher selected resources are what is needed to build the OER ecosystem. Share your favorite resources with other educators by simply dragging the Add OER button to your browser toolbar. When you find an outstanding resource, just click the button to share the resource with others in the OER community.

     Challenge: Share with other educators by adding three of your favorite resources to the OER Commons.



3) Organize OER. Don’t forget about the great resources you want to use on a regular basis. Use the OER toolbar to organize your favorite resources in OER Commons and they will be easy to find next time you need them.

     Challenge: Organize your online resources for increased efficiency.

4) Rate, Tag, Comment, Standards Align OER. User feedback on resources ensures their best use. You will benefit from the ratings, comments and standards alignments of other teachers and they will benefit from yours. Use the tools in OER Commons to add your feedback on resources and to build a useful environment for educators. 

     Challenge: Use the OER Evaluation Rubric and the Common Core Standards alignment tool to evaluate and align resources.

5) Engage in Social Learning. OER engages learners in citizen science and service learning, building global connectedness, awareness and social responsibility. OER can take your students into the world of engaged learning.  Resource idea: Journey North is one of many citizen science resources in OER Commons.

     Challenge: Expand the walls of your classroom and participate in citizen science or another participatory learning project.

6) Leverage OER to Provide Alternative Pathways to Learning. Educators teach to classrooms divided by ability. OER also provide supplemental resources in the forms of instructional media, educational games, interactive lessons and quizzes that support all learners.  Resource idea: Explore Science Web Adventures is an engaging immersive learning environment in OER Commons.

     Challenge: Discover engaging OER that provide extended learning opportunities for your students.

7) Be an OER champion. Be an educational leader and learn how to create dynamic new curriculum, create and share OER, and encourage the use of open education resources in your classroom, school and district.

     Challenge: Learn more or bring customized OER Training to your organization. Contact ISKME’s Education Program Manager, Megan Simmons.

Invent, Design, Discover, Share, Make at the Big Ideas Fest, December 4-7, 2011

Discover Open Education Resources: OER Commons


August 23, 2011