Resources to Support OER Programming in Your Library

Last month, we talked about utilizing open educational resources (OER) in your school library programming, and we offered some simple suggestions for how to get started.

This month, we’re going to look at some resources you can utilize to find great openly licensed materials. We'll also share some programming ideas you can infuse with those resources. But first, we'll start by sharing our favorite OER resources.

Donna's favorite: CK-12

In my mission to be a guru and leader in OER, I spent this past summer becoming a CK-12 Certified Educator. With a goal of providing equal access and a mission to allow all students to learn their own way, CK-12 is an open education resource that has much to offer.

Here are some of the ways CK-12 can assist you with OER programming in your library:

  1. Flexbooks: Flexbooks are more than a textbook — hence the name, flexbook. Information is provided in multiple modalities to appeal to all types of learners, and true of every resource in CK-12, you can use as is, modify or you can make your own.
  2. Videos: Videos are another way for learners to explore information. CK -12 has curated videos on all topics. Videos are embedded in the flexbooks. You may also just search for a video and use the video by itself.
  3. PLIX: PLIX (Play Learn Interact and Explore) is an interactive feature of CK-12. The platform has over 1,000 math and science PLIX offering students the opportunity to interact with content.
  4. Simulations: Simulations are interactive real-world math and science applications.. CK-12 offers over 100 physics and chemistry simulations.
  5. Adaptive Practice: Adaptive is just like it sounds — amazing. This is a favorite feature of mine. With a goal of getting 10 questions correct, questions will adjust to the students skill level with easier or harder questions. If students are struggling, readings, videos, interactives or other resources will be suggested for students to review to better grasp the concept. Continual feedback is provided to the learner.
  6. Quizzes: Quizzes include a specific set of questions that can be selected from CK-12’s database of over 150,000 questions, and/or new questions can be created.
  7. Integration: Last but not least, CK-12 integrates into Schoology and Google Classroom. This means that if your learning management system talks to your gradebook, so do the graded activities, practice and quizzes assigned from CK-12. Teachers will love you for suggesting this feature in your programming talks — it makes their life a little less hectic!

CK-12 is a resource that is not just for teachers. This is an OER resource that can be offered to parents and students as way to support learning in and out of the classroom.

Jen's favorite: OER Commons

This is one of my go-to resources because it essentially curates much of the amazing open resources into collections and hubs. Happily, OER Commons does such a great job of curating resources that once you find what works for your lesson or unit, you can focus your efforts on creating and programming — not searching.

Clicking on the providers link in OER Commons shows an extensive listing A-Z of well known and not-so-well known content contributors. Contributors include KQED Education, Khan Academy, The Kennedy Center, Gay Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, GeoGebra, Exploratorium, NASA, The Carnegie Foundation and many, many more reputable and reliable sites. 

OER Commons allows you to create a username and password for the site or use it without one. One benefit of creating that username: you can save what you find in a convenient place for later use. 

A quick trip to the Hubs tab in OER Commons takes you to a listing of curated resources, including several specific to libraries. As you are thinking about programming you are providing in your library, think about using these curated lists of resources to assist you in getting started.

Conducting a search for digital citizenship teaching materials brings 54 resources quickly to your fingertips, where you can sort by standard, lesson plan, format or materials type. This makes it easy to spend time programming and less time planning. A search for information literacy brings back even more results — an astounding 422!

But there's more!

students looking at a computer
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of open education resources sites.

These two resources are just the tip of the iceberg! There are hundreds, if not thousands, of OER sites available. Here are just a few we like:

  • Gooru: A site that allows you to create personalized pathways for student learning.
  • Khan Academy: This is one of the most famous OER sites. Math, science, social studies and other contents are explained in short, to-the-point videos.
  • Open Ed: Open assessments.
  • Open Stax: Open textbooks for use in libraries, classrooms and colleges.
  • Open Library: A website dedicated to building a webpage for every book ever published (thrilling!).
  • Writing Commons: A site dedicated to assisting with writing and research skills.
  • Maryland’s OER Project: We would be remiss if we didn’t mention this one as it’s our home state!

Here are some OER for images:

Programming ideas

So, what should you do with all these great resources? Here are some great programming ideas for using some of the image sites.

  • Collaborate with social studies teachers to work with the Library of Congress images. Have students choose an image from a historical period and describe and/or research the image. The Library of Congress is a great resource to teach students how to examine a primary resource.
  • Encourage students to use open image resources when creating projects for class.
  • Collaborate with the art teacher who teaches digital photography in your building to have students take photographs, learn how to license them into the Creative Commons, and create albums to share.
  • With younger students, utilize the animal photo library to insert pictures into a research project about the animal of their choosing.
  • Teach students to understand Creative Commons licensing and to locate and use images legally. By providing this programming, we are teaching digital responsibility and preparing students for a time when the rules will have more serious consequences,

What’s your favorite OER? Tell us in the comments below.