How to sort the good from the bad in OER - The Hechinger Report
ab1630's bookmarks 2018-03-14
"Teachers often spend many hours at night or on weekends searching the internet for good instructional materials – or just good ideas about how to meld online learning into their classrooms. Sometimes, they consult curation sites that have evaluated these materials; sometimes they just consult other teachers on what they use.
The need for reliable evaluation has become more urgent with the flood of new, often free, online materials. These OER – open educational resources – may be good, bad or indifferent. How can school districts or teachers know?
“There’s more bad OER out there than good; that’s a fact,” said Rebecca Kockler, assistant superintendent of academic instruction for the state of Louisiana, at the annual SXSWedu conference last week in Austin, Texas. “We need to find the quality stuff and elevate it, for everyone.”
Along with quality classroom materials, there’s an urgent need for quality curricula, Kockler said. The idea of teachers searching the web for individual units of study, or even individual lessons, strikes her as a huge waste of time. When it happens, she said, “we try to weed that out of our districts.”
Instead, Louisiana’s Department of Education promotes an integrated curriculum and makes all parts of it available on the department’s website. When they have a whole curriculum, aligned to the state’s common core standards and flexible enough to be adapted for the schools’ own particular students’ needs, she said, teachers can spend the bulk of their time teaching. But she said professional development and support are essential, too. And they’re lacking....
She and her fellow panelists mentioned a few OER sources that do provide teacher support (aka professional development) in their offerings. Among them: UnboundEd, a nonprofit created to continue the work of the Engage NY curriculum developers; Open Up Resources, a nonprofit whose K-5 English Language Arts curriculum and middle-school math curriculum have both received top ratings from EdReports, an evaluator; Great Minds, which makes the highly popular Eureka Math curriculum, and IBM Watson’s Teacher Advisor, which offers content recommendations and individualized help with lesson-planning for K-5 math teachers...."