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Open Educational Resources (OER): The Benefits For Your Classroom

Open Educational Resources (OER): The Benefits For Your Classroom

Open Educational Resources (OER) are a growing trend in Oklahoma schools and around the U.S. 


What are OER?

According to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, OER are "teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions."

There are literally tens of thousands of free learning resources that teachers and others have created that teachers and school districts can use in their classrooms. These resources can be used to supplement existing physical textbooks, or they can be used to create complete textbooks to replace aging textbooks that you may already own.


Why would you want to use OER?

Broken Arrow Public Schools has been using OER to create school resources for several years. It started when the district’s science teachers couldn’t find textbooks that perfectly matched the new Oklahoma science standards. So the teachers received district approval to find resources and create their own textbooks. It allowed the teachers to create textbooks that match exactly what lessons they taught and in the order they taught them in their classrooms. Using OER also allowed them to easily update their textbooks each year, removing the content they didn’t find effective and replacing it with better materials. OER also provides the students a benefit, as they have their own copy they can keep. Whether digital or printed copies, the students can write in the margins and make notes as needed to further their education. This effort also saved the district money. 

Broken Arrow is an ambassador district with the U.S. Department of Education’s #GoOpen program. Read about their journey here: https://tech.ed.gov/stories/brokenarrow/. 

If you would like to see Broken Arrow’s resources or make a copy of them for your own use, visit the school district’s OER page. Since these resources are free, you can copy them, replace the Broken Arrow logo with your district’s logo and start using them. You do need to be aware of Creative Commons licenses and know how to give appropriate credit to Broken Arrow and the providers they used.

If you would like to see additional resources, visit these websites:

www.oercommons.org

www.ck12.org/teacher/ 

www.uen.org/oer/ 

If you would like more information, PD for your staff and teachers or any other help with Open Educational Resources, let me know.

Kurt Bernhardt

Director, Technology

Kurt serves as OPSRC's technology director.

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