54% of students believe that open educational resources are very or extremely important to their academic success. This stat comes from 2013’s ECAR study which takes a look at exactly how students today are using technology in the classroom.
With 71% of students using open educational resources its clear that OER’s (open educational resources) are having a major impact on how students are learning as well as how educators are teaching.
What are OER’s?
According to The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation OER’s are high-quality, openly licensed, online educational resources. This includes resources such as open-textbooks, documents and other online media.
What are the benefits?
One of the main benefits of OER’s are the savings. Using open educational resources can save students hundreds of dollars on traditional textbooks. The other most important advantage is that teachers can now offer a unique, more personalized and engaging learning experience to their students.
Below are 7 amazing sources to help you find a wide-range of tools and content for implementing an OER program in just about any subject.
1 - OER Commons
A dynamic digital hub serving up 73,000 kinds of open educational resources. Containing a suite of OER implementation tools form “roadmaps to training” and more. One very cool feature is that you can browse OER’s by topic be it arts, applied sciences, mathematics and more.
2 - Open Text Book Store
Geared especially towards math this simple but effective site offers an extensive catalog of high-quality open textbooks. The site was created by educators who wanted to make it easier for other educators to find quality open textbooks. Their catalog comes complete with descriptions and a editors rating.
3 - Learningpod
A partnership with OpenStax and Kaplan, Learningpod is a collection of online practice questions and touted as the largest in the world. A cool feature and a unique solution is that with this particular partnership many of these question sets are specific to their own open textbooks, making this a very convenient option.
4 - Lumen Learning
Offering “no cost textbook costs” Lumen Learning is a nonprofit who say they have seen textbox cost reduction of up to 90%. This is a fully supported OER option that is community driven and offers complete OER solutions.
5 - MIT Open Courseware Online Textbooks
If you are looking for more advanced, higher-education material this is your place. This is one of the few places where you can find open textbooks featuring subjects in civil engineering, astronautics and aeronautics. This is a simple site that is offering up some huge content.
6 - Saylor.org
Believing in breaking down the barriers that get in the way of quality higher-education content such as time, cost and location. Covering OER content from the college level and the K-12 levels. Using a nice set of search filters it is very easy to find the right material for almost any subject.
7 - College Open Textbooks
If you are looking for college level OER’s geared towards the community college experience then this is a must stop location for great content. Created from a collaboration of 29 educational organizations with affiliations of more than 200 colleges. Offering a huge list of OER’s grouped by subject that have been peer-reviewed.
With all of these different open education resources it has to be said that none of them work if you are not ready for their implementation at your school. Not only does this mean from a methodology and curriculum point of view of but probably more importantly from a functional and wireless infrastructure point of view.
eBooks have been around for awhile now and more and more online content is becoming more attractive and the norm. The next thing in innovative classroom technology is just around the corner and that is interactive learning, for example taking an eBook and giving it a true interactive feel through tablets like iPads.
Now is the time to start taking a look at your school wireless network to make sure you can offer your students the best learning experiences possible.
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