Educators will find this list of OER tools useful as they explore and expand OER use
As educators and students clamor for relevant and engaging digital content, many are turning to open educational resources (OER)–educational materials that are free to use under a special license.
These materials can be organized into content repositories that make it easy for others to locate and use them. In fact, several states are doing just that, as they make efforts to curate and catalog OER into large content repositories available to educators, students, and parents.
On the following page, you’ll find OER tools, reports, and information, as well as resources where you can search for materials that suit your specific needs. Each resource features a short description taken from information provided online.
(Next page: 15 OER tools)
Below you’ll find great sources for K-12 OER. Need some higher-ed OER tools? We’ve got a ton of them on eCampus News.
This is just a sampling of the OER tools available. Do you have a favorite OER tool or guide that isn’t listed here? Let us know in the comments section below.
1. OER Commons
Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse, without charge. That means they have been authored or created by an individual or organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights. For some of these resources, that means you can download the resource and share it with colleagues and students. For others, it may be that you can download a resource, edit it in some way, and then re-post it as a remixed work. OER often have a Creative Commons or GNU license that state specifically how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared.
2. Open Tapestry
This site features higher education courses, but advanced high school students may find the information engaging and useful. Open Tapestry is all about discovering, adapting, and sharing learning resources, whether you’re a teacher, an instructor, a professor, a corporate trainer, a learner, or just a curious mind! We help you organize your content into categories–or Tapestries–that you create. Open Tapestry’s toolset allows instructors to develop course materials in a fraction of the time, while invigorating and enhancing learners’ experience. We give you the tools to mold and shape content already on the web to exactly how you want it.
3. Creative Commons
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Creative Commons is a globally-focused nonprofit organization dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. Creative Commons provides free licenses and other legal tools to give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions and get credit for their creative work while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make specific uses of it.
EDSITEment is a partnership among the National Endowment for the Humanities, Verizon Foundation, and the National Trust for the Humanities. EDSITEment offers a treasure trove for teachers, students, and parents searching for high-quality material on the Internet in the subject areas of literature and language arts, foreign languages, art and culture, and history and social studies. All websites linked to EDSITEment have been reviewed for content, design, and educational impact in the classroom. They cover a wide range of humanities subjects, from American history to literature, world history and culture, language, art, and archaeology, and have been judged by humanities specialists to be of high intellectual quality.
OpenEd is a K-12 educational resource catalog, with over a million Language Arts and Math games, video lessons, assessments, and courses. While it integrates with all popular Learning Management Systems it offers its own simple “flipped classroom” LMS oriented to using resources.
6. Utah Education Network
UEN connects all Utah school districts, schools, and higher education institutions to a robust network and quality educational resources. UEN is one of the nation’s premier education networks.
7. Washington Department of Public Instruction OER
In April 2012, the Washington State Legislature passed bill HB2337 (RCW 28A.300.803), directing the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to create a collection of openly licensed courseware aligned to the common-core standards and an associated awareness campaign to inform school districts about these resources.
WatchKnowLearn has indexed approximately 50,000 educational videos, placing them into a directory of over 5,000 categories. The videos are available without any registration or fees to teachers in the classroom, as well as parents and students at home 24/7. Users can dive into our innovative directory or search for videos by subject and age level. Video titles, descriptions, age level information, and ratings are all edited for usefulness. Our web site invites broad participation in a new kind of wiki system, guided by teachers. WatchKnowLearn does not itself host videos—we serve as a library for links to excellent educational videos that have been selected by educators.
9. Net Texts
The Net Texts system is a free, web-based solution that provides teachers access to a vast library of innovative, curated collections of high quality content, which they can then manage and combine with their own resources to create, publish and deliver lessons directly to students’ iPads, Android tablets, or computers. More than just a content management system, Net Texts is a powerful teaching and learning tool that helps schools maximize their investments in tablets and 1:1 computing initiatives, while improving instruction and learning outcomes with up-to-date educational resources. Courses contain teacher-created material as well as Creative Commons-licensed and other open education resources from the web.
10. Achieve OER Evaluation Tool
To help states, districts, teachers and other users determine the degree of alignment of OER to the Common Core State Standards, and to determine aspects of quality of OER, Achieve developed rubrics in collaboration with leaders from the OER community. ISKME subsequently developed an online OER Evaluation Tool, based on the Achieve OER Rubrics. The rubrics evaluate OER: Degree of Alignment to Standards, Quality of Explanation of Content, Utility of Materials as Tools to Teach Others, Quality of Assessment, Degree of Interactivity, Quality of Practice Exercises, and Opportunities for Deeper Learning.
Gooru is a free search engine for learning, has organized OER into easy-to-locate categories and collections to help teachers and students make the most of what’s offered online. Users can search for resources, collections, or quizzes; study individual resources or entire collections; practice with an adaptive assessment system; interact with peers or teachers; and save and customize their favorite learning materials.
SchoolForge’s mission is to unify independent organizations that advocate, use, and develop open educational resources. We advocate the use of open texts and lessons, open curricula, free software and open source in education.
An expansion of Pearson’s online learning environment OpenClass, Exchange allows educators to search for and access thousands of resources, including videos from TED-Ed, Kahn Academy, and YouTube EDU, as well as courses from the Open Course Library. The resource is available to all users free of charge.
14. Curriculum Foundry
Curriculum Foundry from Learning.com provides a searchable content repository that includes vetted OER tools, as well as a district’s existing digital content. Through this solution’s comprehensive set of tools, districts can build and share their own curriculum. Curriculum Foundry also features single sign-on enabling students and teachers to easily use digital content.
15. Guide to the Use of Open Educational Resources in K-12 and Postsecondary Education from SIIA
This guide provides a framework for understanding open educational resources (OER), and it examines development and implementation costs, current business models, government and philanthropy’s role, and other considerations around the use of OER.