Rural schools still facing ed-tech challenges

McLeod noted that most OER collections have so far been ad-hoc, with individual teachers organizing materials into small collections using social bookmarking tools and wikis. National attempts to do this, such as Curriki, are largely based on volunteers.

What is needed, he said, is an intentional, focused effort to compensate educators as they create a set of resources around topics or subject areas. For instance, a national science group might gather a group of high-level chemistry teachers, focusing on one topic, and ask them to find and create a collection of free and open resources, unit by unit, that might accompany a typical chemistry textbook. Those educators would work over the summer, so that the resource collection is available come fall.

“If we’re going to do what we’ve always done, we’re going to get what we’ve always gotten,” Scheivert said.

“We’re always trying to make sure the digital content doesn’t look like 20th-century print that kids could get by going to the library,” Moran said. “If you’re not integrating contemporary technology, interpreting content through contemporary lenses, and looking at pedagogy, you’re probably not doing 21st-century learning with your kids.”

Laura Ascione

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