E-Curriculum: Exploring 24 Free Open Education Resources- Digital Curriculum Part 2

7/30/2013 12:00:00 AM

Exploring 25 Free and Colorful Open Education Resources (OER)

Did you know that there are a wide variety of free curriculum on the internet? That’s right, and it is known as OER (Open Education Resources). You will find a full color assortment ready for you as you begin to paint lessons, activities, and even a textbook! Best of all they are free and contain quality resources. Take a moment to check out the wide assortment of possibilities that you can mix into brand new hues! Remember OER resources provide curriculum that:

  • Provides  opportunity to make learning more authentic by giving you the ability to localize learning
  • Contains formative learning and assessment opportunities
  • Is based on standards
  • It is often amplified by technology
  • Vetted by organizations and individuals
  • Can be used in whole or in parts
  • Free… means it fits the budget and provides opportunities to spend money on needed resources and teacher creation
  • Can provide differentiations and allow educator to adapt to their students’ needs
  • Can provide a foundation for further learning opportunities
  • Flexible for mixing with other resources

How might some of these fit into your curriculum? You will never know until you begin your exploration. The links below provide you an opportunity to learn more about Open Education resources. Please enjoy and share with others. Perhaps you will soon be contributing to one of these communities!

The Index of Open Educational Resources - Open Educational Resources come in many shapes and sizes. This partial list of sources introduces the scope of OER and the organizations cultivating its increasingly vital role in opening higher education up to the greatest number of people worldwide.

CK12.org - Imagine creating your own textbook. Better yet, think about a wonderful base of a textbook that is already created, vetted, and matched to standards. Now, what if you could add to it, localize it, widen or deepen scope, and individualize it for your students’needs? Best of all, what if you could now make it your own and share it with your students? It is all possible with  CK-12. This wonderful OER makes it easy for teachers to assemble their own textbooks. Content is mapped to a variety of levels and standards including common core. Teachers can start from scratch or build from anything in the FlexBooks library.

Curriki - What happens when classroom teachers from every country in the world take part in a global community of sharing curriculum and best practices?  You can imagine that teachers are empowered to create extraordinary learning experiences for their students. As Curriki states, “Barriers to equal access to education begin to lift—geography and politics become immaterial. And the economy benefits from a highly educated population.” That’s the basis of Curriki, a nonprofit K-12 global community for teachers, students, and parents to create, share, and find free learning resources that enable true personalized learning. It is their mission that free and equal access to the best curriculum materials is possible. Take some time and explore how Curriki is leading the way.

SAS Curriculum Pathways - Actually a resources from one of my first blogs and has it come a long way! Year after year, SAS Curriculum Pathways earns numerous awards for educational technologies. It has also earned the support of teachers, students, and parents across the nation. The approach is innovative, but the goals are traditional. Teachers, developers, designers, and other specialists clarify content in the core disciplines. SACS than targets content difficult to convey with conventional methods. This includes topics where doing and seeing provide information and encourage insights in ways that textbooks cannot. As stated on the website, “The products make learning more profound and efficient, not simply more entertaining.” Discover this special place where  audio, visual, and interactive components all reinforce the educational objectives identified by teachers

Concord Consortium - What an amazing place for those individuals working in STEM Education.  At Concord Consortium you can help your students learn with hundreds of interactive, research-based resources covering a huge variety of science, engineering, and math topics. You will note that many activities let the teacher see assessment results after student completion of an activity. This allows for outstanding formative learning and assessment which makes alignment with lessons quick, easy, and rewarding!

North Carolina Lesson Plans - LEARN NC’s lesson plans span the wide range of curriculum areas for every grade from K to 12. This amazing  collection includes the best instructional plans that have been  created by North Carolina educators as well as high-quality materials from state and national partners. A great place to explore some vetted instructional material.

MERLOT - This is an organization that states its mission, “Putting Educational Innovations Into Practice.” At this site you will find peer reviewed online teaching and learning materials. Share advice and expertise about education with expert colleagues. Best of all you can be recognized for your contributions to quality education. Take some time to take a look!

Connexions - As stated in the title… an awesome place to connect with free and open source lessons! This site allows you to view and share educational material made of small knowledge chunks called modules. These chunks can be organized as courses, books, reports, etc. Anyone may view or contribute:

  • authors create and collaborate
  • instructors rapidly build and share custom collections
  • learners find and explore content

Open High School Of Utah - The Open High School of Utah is a public charter school.  Its mission is to meet the needs of the 21st century student. It is  an online school serving numerous students. This organization combine state of the art curriculum with strategic one-on-one instruction. The technology employs a most important role. stated on the site, data drives the process in a way that there is real time information that instantaneously tracks the student and their learning. n important vision to OHSU is the commitment to share the curriculum developed as an open educational resource.

Open Education Resources - Talk about big, this network brings together 44,129 OER tools for sharing curriculum. It also provides a host of world and news and training on the amazing  arena of open education!  Great place to investigate whether you have an hour or a month!

Open Course Library - A collection of high quality, free-to-use courses that teachers can download and use for teaching and learning. All content is stored in Google docs. This  makes  it easy to access, browse and download for use anytime, anywhere, regardless of connection.

Wisconsin Online Learning Objects - It is so true, learning objects add flexibility to the teaching and learning experience. In this site teachers have the opportunity to use learning objects when teaching a basic concept, applying concepts in “real world” applications, checking and testing true learning, providing understanding through simulation, and giving essential remedial instruction.

Vision Learning - This organization has  developed a set of peer-reviewed materials for learning science including modular readings, interactive multimedia, and a glossary. Best of all, it is available for free on the web in both English and Spanish. Note that as emphasized in the Next Generation Science Standards, Vision Learning emphasizes science as a process, not just a collection of facts. You will find that these resources can be used individually by anyone and can also be combined and customized within online classrooms by teachers.

Textbook Revolution - A student-run site dedicated to increasing the use of free educational materials by teachers and professors. This could really change the way the whole textbook systems works!

Community College Consortium for OER - The Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) is a combined effort involving individual community colleges, regional and statewide consortia, the Open Courseware Consortium,  the American Association for Community Colleges, the League for Innovation in the Community Colleges, and many other educational partners. The mission is  to develop and use open educational resources,  open textbooks, and open courseware. It is the desire of CCCOER to expand access to higher education and improve teaching and learning.

NROC - Take a moment to visit a place that truly rocks! You will find it at The National Repository of Online Courses (NROC). Here you will discover  a growing library of high-quality online course content for students and faculty in higher education, high school and Advanced Placement.  For all of you Hoosiers… NROC is provided to you free in the state of Indiana by the DOE.

Flat World Knowledge - This is a website that is authored by  the industry’s top authors. These textbooks are helping improve teaching and learning at more than 2,500 leading colleges and universities worldwide.

Hippocampus - This is a project of the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE). The goal of HippoCampus is to provide high-quality, multimedia content on general education subjects to high school and college students free of charge. If this fits in your budget than be sure to visit a discover a wide selection of excellent lessons, inter actives, and activities.

Georgia Virtual - You will find a wonderful collection of resources from the Peach State. The content available on this Shared Resources Website is available for anyone to view.  Courses are divided into modules and are aligned with the Georgia Performance Standards.

Moodle Share - MoodleShare is a community of Moodlers sharing their Moodles, Moodle Sites, and Moodle Lessons.

Moodle Exchange - Shares Moodle courses and other content useful for Moodle teachers.

Open Source Physics Project -  Physics teachers will measure a great equation of material. This wide range of curriculum resources both involve and engage students in physics, computation, and computer modeling.

California Learning Resource Network Digital Initiative - Take a moment to review results from all three phases of the Digital Textbook Initiative are listed separately in this report. Each link will take you to the full CLRN textbook review. While digital textbooks were reviewed for their alignment with the content standards, California’s Social Content Review criteria were only applied during Phase Three. Districts, schools, and individuals planning to take advantage of these books are reminded to conduct their own reviews to determine whether these resources meet their needs.

Khan Academy – One cannot forget the Khan Academy. The Khan Academy states a desire to provide “free world-class education for anyone anywhere.” Perhaps the academy is best known for its collection of over  3,000 videos covering K-12 math and some topics in science, history, business, art history and test preparation. Please note that Khan is going beyond Math. There are also more than 300 practice modules contained in the Khan Knowledge Map. This map orders the learning  modules by concepts.. Educators and students can view a wide variety of data in regards to student progress.

While doing research for this article I found even more sites which I will be publishing towards the end of this series. Make sure you sign up and please pass this site on to someone in your PLN.

cross-posted at 21centuryedtech.wordpress.com

Michael Gorman oversees one-to-one laptop programs and digital professional development for Southwest Allen County Schools near Fort Wayne, Indiana.  He is a consultant for Discovery Education, ISTE, My Big Campus, and November Learning and is on the National Faculty for The Buck Institute for Education.  His awards include district Teacher of the Year, Indiana STEM Educator of the Year and Microsoft’s 365 Global Education Hero. Read more at 21centuryedtech.wordpress.com.

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