OER (or Open Educational Resources) is a new term in education. It basically takes the idea of content that has been created for schools and allows others to access it. This includes items such as primary documents, creations that are licensed under creative commons, and educational materials developed using federal grant money.
Great, but why should you care about this? BECAUSE IT IS FREE AND AVAILABLE FOR YOU TO USE. Also, because these are things you AND YOUR STUDENTS can use without worrying about copyright issues. So, today I will cover two main aspects within the #OER discussion.
1. Finding images/graphics for you and your students to use
2. Using #OER resources to develop and supplement your curriculum
While I know that most of you would never send a kid out to just screenshot an image or item they found on a generic google search, that doesn't mean the kids aren't doing it. If you or your students require images for a project, please use the following sources:
This is a site that allows you to choose clip-art style graphics, and also edit them to your needs (changing colors, etc) without requiring a sign-in. There are some paid items, but the VAST majority are free.
The Noun Project
Similar to Flaticon, this is a site where you can get graphics without needing a log in. There are not as many choices as Flaticon, but still plenty of variety. Plus, there are some cool graphics/options. Try searching the "Lego" one for fun.
This is great resource for you to use when finding photographs for class projects. The first line of results is always advertisements, but the rest are great to use with class. Be aware that this site might be blocked for students.
Photos For Class
This is another great resource for students to use. I have this linked/embedded on my Research page as well. It is a fantastic option for kids to use on class projects.
While there are many sites out there that provide OER resources, the main I am going to focus on today is OER Commons.
This site allows users to search by content area, standard, level, and key word. There are also HUBS that have been created by specific educational institutions. Nebraska's Dept of Ed is working on one; it will be available hopefully sometime this summer. Until then, Iowa and Pennsylvania are two good examples that we will look at today.
As with anything, you might have to do a search or two before you find something you want to use. Also, you might find an idea for something that you will still have to remix and recreate, or you might find something that is perfect for you to use "as-is." There are also other sites that have full curriculum already developed-we will look at those more at a later date.
It has been a while since I posted one of these, but I have been reading a ton. So, here's a quick update on what I've recently finished and what I am working on next:
I just finished eARC copies of both of these books (to be published this Spring) and they were VASTLY different. The Summer of Broken Things by Haddix was a sweet, MG read about two girls who aren't friends but discover they both have a family secret that will connect them in unexpected ways. Perfectly acceptable for middle school students, but a little lackluster in my opinion. Monday's Not Coming by Jackson was OUTSTANDING. After reading this and her debut novel Allegedly, she is on my "must-read" author list. Monday has been friends with Claudia since they started school, and now Monday is missing. But only Claudia seems to be worried about it. This was a stunning look at how kids fall through the cracks, and the pain of losing a friend.
I just started this series after seeing Margot, formerly of Epic Reads, talk about it on her YouTube channel. It is AMAZING, but definitely adult in content and nature. Be warned. I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of the series.
I'm working my way through both of these right now. Devils Within is great, and I'm excited to see where it goes. The Innovator's Mindset is our staff book club Professional Read, so I need to get through it to lend my copy to a coworker.
Has anyone out there read anything FANTASTIC recently that they want to send my way. Even if I am drowning in my TBR stacks, I'm always on the hunt for the next great read. Happy reading all!