This month as we have been focusing on how school librarians can provide equitable access for all students despite financial challenges many school libraries are experiencing. My fellow bloggers have discussed human resource sharing, partnering with nonprofit organizations, and sharing with non-school libraries.
When I think about providing resources for students I immediately think about how many great free resources are out there. Recently there is a good bit of buzz in the school library world about OER: Open Educational Resources, which are “are freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes. Although some people consider the use of an open file format to be an essential characteristic of OER, this is not a universally acknowledged requirement” (“Open Educational Resources”, n.d.).
Just last month the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSO) reported on their survey that examined the state of Open Educational Resources in K-12. They found that:
- Twenty states are currently planning OER initiatives.
- Sixty percent of SEA respondents recognize the value of OER in school districts in their state and are promoting OER as either a supplement and/or replacement for traditional instructional materials.
- States with existing OER programs are utilizing a variety of online methods to develop, curate, and access OER materials and integrate them within school programs. (p. 4)
They are also launching the K-12 OER Collaborative and are currently asking for people to participate.
OER provide benefits to teachers by providing them with cost-effective materials that are available for sharing, accessing and collaborating for personalized learning (Bliss & Patrick, 2013). There are lots of resources out there to get you going using OER in your school library:
- WikiEducator has an OER Handbook that provides a nice introduction to OER.
- Edutopia has Open Educational Resource Round Up that was just updated last month.
- Also OER Commons is a wonderful site that you can browse by content area and set up your own “My OER” where you can save and create resources.
- And finally, there is also a new book out by Marcia Mardis, The Collection’s at the Core: Revitalize Your Library with Innovative Resources for the Common Core and STEM, which focuses on using OER for building your collection to support STEM learning and the Common Core Standards.
OER definitely has the promise to assist in our efforts as we strive to provide resources to our students and teachers!
Bliss, T. & Patrick, S. (2013). OER state policy in K-12 education: Benefits, strategies, and recommendations for open access, open sharing. International Association for K-12 Online Learning. Retrieved from http://www.inacol.org/cms/wp-content/ uploads/2013/06/inacol_OER_Policy_Guide_v5_web.pdf
Council of Chief State School Officers. (2014).Open Educational Resources in K-12. Retrieved from http://www.ccsso.org/Resources/Digital_Resources/ State_of_the_States_Open_Educational_Resources_in_K-12_Education.html
“Open Educational Resources.” (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_educational_resources