Beyond the Technology Shine: Content Standard Nouns Meet 25 Free OER Education Resources, Part 2

Beyond the Technology Shine: Content Standard Nouns Meet 25 Free OER Education Resources, Part 2

Welcome to a series of posts that are dedicated to going beyond the shine of technology by examining ways to use digital tools to engage students in real learning. In this second post you will discover how careful examination of the nouns in a standard can help you find resources to assist in proper technology integration.

Past Series Articles

Link: Part 1…Beyond the Shine : Authentic Technology Integration and Content Standards

Part 2… Beyond the Technology Shine… Content Standard Nouns Meet 25 Free OER Education Resources

In this post I would like to investigate how examining the nouns in curricular standards helps teachers investigate ways to integrate technology in order to facilitate student understanding of curricular content. It all really begins with something that has been around for quite awhile. You probably know them as the curriculum standards.

A portion or foundation of a curriculum is the standards. Standards make up the general knowledge of what educators want students to know. Standards are a great starting point and through careful examination, exact content and skills can be aligned with technology integration. Simply stated, examining or unpacking a standard allows a teacher to see what a child will know and be able to do. It can also help educators determine what digital resources may work best to help support learning. Now, the phrase “unpacking the standards’ may not bring out the smile you want from teachers. For this reason I will refer to it as finding the technology in the standard. Let’s take a look!

I provided five steps in the last post which you can read about in a little further depth here. The point of emphasis for this article is item number three below.

  1. Identify the standard
  2. Reflect on the standard
  3. Determine the content by reviewing the standard and circling the appropriate nouns.
  4. Investigate the skills by reviewing the standard and circling the appropriate verbs.
  5. Create Learning Targets demonstrating what students will be able to do.

In the last post I provided the following standards and listed the nouns I thought might be important:

Example Standards

  • Students will be able to research and record key facts involving the planets of the solar system.
  • Students will explain orbit, gravity, and gravitational pull.
  • Students will be able to collaborate on a presentation that provides what they have learned in their own words

Relevant Nouns – planets, solar system. orbit, gravity, and gravitational pull

By examining the content appropriate nouns in the standard it is possible to identify key concepts that students should learn about and show an understanding of. While all areas of Blooms can be applied for deep understanding, a good starting point might be the areas of Blooms regarding understanding and remembering. Please note that the higher levels of Blooms can help fosters learning in these two areas. By identifying content appropriate nouns it is possible to search for both resources available at a school district along with some amazing free resources found on the web.

That’s right, the identified nouns can give you keywords that will allow you to search a wonderful world of OER (Open Education Resources) on the internet. You will find a wide assortment ready for you as you begin to design lessons, activities, or 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 possibilities. Remember OER resources provide curriculum that:

  • Makes learning more authentic by giving the teacher the ability to localize learning
  • Contains formative learning and assessment opportunities
  • Is based on standards
  • Is often amplified by technology
  • Vetted by organizations and individuals
  • Can be used in whole or in parts
  • Provides free content… it fits the budget and provides opportunities to spend money on needed resources and money that allows for teacher creation in the district
  • Can provide differentiation and allow educator to adapt to their students’ needs
  • Will provide a foundation for further learning opportunities
  • Is flexible for mixing with other resources

A Listing Of 25 OER (Open Education Resource Sites)

How might your identification of the curriculum standard nouns along with OER fit into a classroom ? 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. Send me some others that I should include in a future post.

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.

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! – 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!

International Children’s Library – At the ICL educators can search for books by genre, age level, length, keyword, by collection, and more. Many books are in multiple languages which fits into world language instruction. All students have to do is open and read the book… no download needed. It is even possible to create an account to set up a bookshelf if desired

Wikipedia – Not only does Wikipedia have awesome vetted content, it also has a way educators can make their own books with Wikipedia Content. These books can be distributed in numerous digital content, or printed as hard copy. It is a great way to put significant content on any LMS. For articles with easier reading possiblities check out Simple English Wikipedia… and yes it is still possible to make a free book.

FreeReading (pk-3) is a free, high-quality, open-source reading program addressing literacy development for grades K-3. Leveraging the collective wisdom of researchers, teachers, reading coaches, and other education and industry professionals, FreeReading provides a high-quality, cost-effective alternative to static materials. By establishing a foundation of hundreds of research-based lessons and materials that users can download and use for free, FreeReading has created the framework for intervention programs supporting K-6 literacy. The collective wisdom within FreeReading is invaluable and can be more beneficial than any one reading program..

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 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.

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.

SmartHistory -(K-12) Smarthistory at Khan Academy is the leading open educational resource for art history. They make high-quality introductory art history content freely available to anyone, anywhere. Smarthistory is a platform for the discipline where art historians contribute in their areas of expertise and learners come from across the globe. We offer nearly 500 videos and these are being translated into dozens of languages.

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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