As schools and districts try to reduce textbook costs and digitize instructional resources, one of the struggles many teachers have is finding good repositories of open education resources (OER). The first step is to know how to access OER resources. However, access itself isn’t enough and the sheer volume of materials can be overwhelming. The second challenge is knowing how to curate or organize the materials you find into useful groups. The term curate comes from the museum world where for eons, curators gathered artifacts and arranged them to tell a compelling story or to otherwise educate.
Recent scholarship further hints that teachers are not embracing digital resources in ways to make an impactful difference, even though we know that digital materials engage students and help improve student time on task. It is imperative that schools and districts work to make the process as simple as possible so teachers can experience success with digital resources.
The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) recently released a Guide to Quality Instructional Materials to support the move from print to digital materials. The U.S. Department of Education has its #GoOpen District Launch Packet, and Open Learning has a free online course (about 15 hours) on how to develop OER content. You can take the course online or download it to study offline. In total, Open Learning has more than 800 professional development courses to support teacher development.
How to find OER
Once teachers understand how to put online courses together, there are a variety of tools to assist in finding OER resources.