Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Open Educational Resources (OER)
If it's free, can it be any good?
Bill Schmidt from Michigan State talks about the majority of teachers go to textbooks as their first resource a majority of the time. Then they go to supplemental resources. As we continue to move away from mass textbook adoptions in my district, questions arise about quality of open source materials. Teachers feel overwhelmed in creating everything on their own. How do we know what we find online is of quality though?
Open Educational Resources (OER) are readily available and many states are individually tackling the issue of quality. The CCSSO hopes that this work start to come together and states share the load, but in the meantime, there are a variety of places teachers can go to get a sense for quality open educational resources. In listen to these states talk about their work at today's conference, each would give caution to considering a few things before blindly accepting their evaluations and resources.
First step before evaluating any tool? "You have to first understand the Common Core," said one state of Washington representative. "None of this works if you don't understand what you are evaluating or looking for," notes Sandra Alberti (@salberti) from Student Achievement Partners. The work is not around the score, it's around knowing the tool you are using (what criteria is uses to determine quality), knowing the terms and focus of the tool (different groups may look at the same resource differently), and then trusting the scores given (inter-rater reliability that comes through common training). Here are some sights that have evaluated different open educational resources. Don't reinvent the wheel, but be a savvy consumer.
Two sites for tools to use to evaluate any OER
Sites that have searchable resources based on evaluation (note: criteria used in evaluation may differ)
http://myoer.org/index.php (South Dakota)
I wrote this post from my learning at the CCSSO Instructional Materials work group held in Chicago on March 12, 2014. I represent the state of Iowa on this work group and hope to provide one district's perspective to common issues teachers face when implementing the Iowa Core.