Efforts to help connect students and teachers to organized open education resources are increasing.

As educators push for more and better access to open educational resources (OER), or content that is available free of charge online, new efforts are helping classroom teachers find and use these resources as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Open Education Week, taking place March 5-10 online and locally around the world, aims to raise awareness of the open education movement and its impact on teaching and learning.

Participants will find speeches, webinars, and descriptions about projects such as university efforts to expand OER offerings.

While free and open resources can be found all over the internet, often it can be hard to assess the quality of a resource or whether it aligns to certain standards.

Announced in November, the OER Evaluation Tool, from the nonprofit education reform group Achieve Inc. and the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), lets users rate the quality of OER materials for teaching and learning, aligns the resources to the Common Core State Standards, and helps users determine how each individual resource aligns with specific state standards.

The tool is available in the OER Commons, a searchable library and database of open educational resources that ISKME launched in February 2007. Users refer to rubrics to help them evaluate the quality of instructional resources they might want to use.

The tool boosts the value of open educational resources because of its alignment with the Common Core standards, said Lisa Petrides, president of ISKME. “Now, educators can use curated lesson plans, courses, and learning modules with readily available information about how these materials meet the highest standards for learning,” she added.