Utilizing the Commons for Common Core

As states put their plans into place for Common Core State Standard implementation, many are realizing how Open Educational Resources (OER) and open practices play an essential role in accessing the true power of the Common Core. The opportunity for sharing and collaboration in education has been amplified, because for the first time, 47 states share the same Mathematics and English Language Arts learning standards.

The creation of common learning standards across states also means that the work of an effective educator has the potential to impact an unprecedented number of other educators like never before through the sharing of resources and pedagogical practices.

Importantly, educators need a clear, concise way to access, vet, create, use, and share these resources. We are working with educators who are breaking new ground every day through the use of ISKME’s OER Commons platform and OER Training Program to support them across the following areas:

  • Access and Adaptability - ISKME has over 40,000 high-quality Open Educational Resources (OER) available on OER Commons. OER are freely available online to anyone, are openly licensed, and are able to be adapted to fit the unique needs of both states and individual educators. ISKME’s Digital Librarians have curated and categorized Common Core aligned resources and reference materials, such as the Common Core for English Language Learners collection.
  • Standard Alignment & Evaluation - Users can also contribute to the Common Core collection on OER Commons by using the standard alignment tools and evaluation rubrics to assess the quality of OER. Some example rubrics include the Degree of Alignment to Standards, the Quality of Explanation of the Subject Matter, and the Quality of Technological Interactivity. More information on the Achieve OER quality evaluation rubrics.
  • Organization & Collaboration - With abundant online resources available, we have developed a collaborative work space for educators to organize OER. This group feature is helping states organize Common Core aligned and evaluated OER exemplars by grade span and standard domain, so that they can share these resources widely with educators. Here is an example from the State of Hawaii’s Common Core English Language Arts Group.
  • Remixing & Authoring – And for those who are ready to create content and share it online, Open Author is a digital authoring and remixing environment where users can write, copy, insert media, align, license, and share resources. Here’s an example of a Common Core aligned resource created by an educator in Illinois: Patrick Henry's "Speech to the Second Virginia Convention".

In addition to providing these online resources, we have refined our OER Training Program to support the immediate Common Core needs of educators. During these professional development trainings, educators have the opportunity to enhance their open practice skills by utilizing the OER Commons resources, tools, and features mentioned above, and we provide ample time to work together to share best practices for creative implementation in the classroom.

We have also added a Common Core specialist to our OER Training Team, Kaycee Eckhardt, a former high school English teacher in New Orleans who was an early adopter of the Common Core in her classroom. She has been facilitating Common Core implementation efforts for educators throughout the U.S. over the past year and a half.

Reflecting on the potential of the Common Core to bring about increased collaboration and sharing, Kaycee states,This is a bright and pivotal moment in education reform. Teachers have the power, and increasingly, the support and resources necessary to make this happen. Even more significantly, they can reach out and share with each other, align and vet together, and improve the learning experience for all of our students.”

If you are interested in learning more about ISKME’s OER Training Program and bringing ISKME’s services to your school, district, county, state, or organization, please contact Megan Simmons, ISKME’s Education Program Manager, at megan@iskme.org. We co-design and customize each training to meet your needs and priorities.

February 11, 2013