Thursday, April 18, 2013

Step 1: Finding Open Educational Resources

(Some of the information in this post came from a session at the iCon 2013 conference.)

Thanks to the Internet, there are endless resources out there for you to integrate into your curriculum. The first step is to search for these open educational materials (OER). Materials can include videos, songs, podcasts, handouts, lesson plans, digital textbooks, simulations/interactives, websites, handouts, primary source documents, etc. Keep in mind that not all resources can be accessed using an iPad! Many of the simulations and interactives in particular run on Flash. These must be accessed on a computer.

The list below is just a short list of what's out there. If you know of other sources, please leave a comment and share them!

OER Commons

This site offers educators a place where they can connect and share resources with other educators. OER Commons offers a vast database of teacher-created curriculum. The content is vetted for credibility and provides citations for reference. Users can sign up for a free account, share their own work, and access and curate their own content via their account.

YouTube EDU

Despite a lot of junk being on there, YouTube has a LOT of excellent educational videos. YouTube Education further weeds out a lot of the garbage and still manages to provide thousands of educational videos that can be narrowed down by grade level and topic. 

*Two popular collections of YouTube videos are Khan Academy and Ted Talks. Click on the links below to visit them directly.


"Create lessons worth sharing around YouTube videos."

Khan Academy

MIT + K12

MIT + K12 is an MIT project that has MIT students create videos to explain math and science concepts for K-12 students. The videos are engaging. They demonstrate the science taking place through experiments while explaining the concepts that are taking place.

Gooru is a "free search engine for learning". We shared this great search engine previously, but it's worth mentioning again. Search results contain millions of 5th-12th grade resources in math, science, and social studies. These educational resources range from videos and interactives to lessons and assessments.

CK-12 Foundation

The CK-12 Foundation offers FlexBooks, full digital texts that students and teachers can access on multiple devices. FlexBooks are available in PDF, MOBI and ePub formats. This gives many different devices access to rich content. You can create your own from scratch, use others "as is", or compile different FlexBooks together to make your own.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg has a collection of 42,000 free ebooks. These books were all previously published, but their copyrights expired and can now be shared for free. Project Gutenberg offers a variety of file formats for users, so they can be read on iPads as well as other devices.

It's important to note that any works by Shakespeare do not have line numbers. However, you can add your own! It's a bit time consuming but teachers will then have their own copy to use every year.

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress gives access to many digital "primary source" resources including photographs, historic newspapers, sound recordings, maps, and manuscripts.

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