Monday, March 20, 2017

Future Ready Librarians Hold The Key To #GoOpen & OER...Here's One Idea For Curating and Sharing These Too!

One of the things that is most important to me as a Future Ready Librarian and educator is making sure educational opportunities and resources are available to all students. With 1:1 initiatives and technology within school districts growing even more popular, the need for openly licensed educational resources is a must.  

And this is just what the 2016 National Education Technology Plan put into place. 

"The Department defines openly licensed educational resources as teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under a license that permits their free use, reuse, modification, and sharing with others.  Digital openly licensed resources can include complete online courses, modular digital textbooks as well as more granular resources such as images, videos, and assessment items." 

The openly licensed educational resources or OER have changed the way students learn and the way teachers teach.  They are making such an important impact on education by giving all of us open access to a wealth of amazing teaching, learning and research resources and content.  OER is free for us to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute. 

As stated on the Office of Educational Technology website, open licensed educational resources also...
  • Increase Equity – All students have access to high quality learning materials that have the most up-to-date and relevant content because openly licensed educational resources can be freely distributed to anyone.
  • Keep Content Relevant and High Quality – Traditional textbooks are perpetually outdated, forcing districts to re-invest significant portions of their budgets on replacing them. The terms of use of openly licensed educational resources allows educators to maintain the quality and relevance of their materials through continuous updates.
  • Empower Teachers – Openly licensed educational resources empower teachers as creative professionals by giving them the ability to adapt and customize learning materials to meet the needs of their students without breaking copyright laws.
  • Save Money – Switching to educational materials that are openly licensed enables schools to repurpose funding spent on static textbooks for other pressing needs, such as investing in the transition to digital learning. In some districts, replacing just one textbook has made tens of thousands of dollars available for other purposes.
To support the openly licensed educational materials, the United States Department of Education started the #GoOpen campaign. This brought support and encouragement to the integration of these resources and celebrated how the OER's were making a difference in the teaching and learning within libraries, classrooms, school districts and states. 

It has made a special impact on so many places and continues to do so.  You can find out how to be a #GoOpen District or State by visiting this site here

If you have questions about being a #GoOpen district, watch how Williamsfield Schools decided to #GoOpen.  

As the YouTube video states,  The Williamsfield School District is a small, rural district serving approximately 300 students in one building—Pre-K through 12th grade—with fewer than 100 students attending the high school. Building on openly licensed resources, the Williamsfield School District leveraged education technology to save families and taxpayers money while providing unique, targeted learning opportunities for each student.

Today, the use of openly licensed educational resources is a vital part of what it means for Williamsfield School District to be Future Ready.
You can also view and download the #GoOpen District Launch Packet to find all of the important steps when choosing to become #GoOpen with openly licensed educational resources.

I am enjoying learning more and more about #GoOpen and OER.  I hear stories, read, research and put all of this into play within my work as a teacher librarian and educator.

Also, everyday I find more and more openly licensed educational resources.  There are sources for lesson plans and activities, open alternatives to textbooks, websites that tie to all parts of the curriculum, online repositories, articles, cases studies and much more.  It is our job as teacher librarians and curation experts to organize and get this content to our teachers and students.

With all of these things, I put together a new Symbaloo....
The OER Resources and Tools Symbaloo.

As you take a trip around the Symbaloo, you will find the Department of Educational Technology website I shared above, plus the #GoOpen information.  There are videos, articles and lots of openly licensed educational resources.

Creating a Symbaloo is one way you can curate everything OER for your school and district too. Using Symbaloo is a great way to bring together these resources in a platform that can be easily shared and embedded on your school website, library blog and even on your Destiny homepage.

In my next post, I will also be sharing how Follett has embraced #GoOpen and OER by supporting us within our libraries and schools, leading to even more leadership, collaboration, and connections for our teacher librarians, teachers and students.

Please feel free to use, share and even take this Symbaloo as your own to make changes.  Together, we will continue to make a difference with the openly licensed educational resources and for the children that we serve every day.

You can read all about the Open Education initiative on the Department of Educational Technology website here.

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