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Open Educational Resources and the OER Summit

By CUE Member Michael Simkins @edtech101

OER Global Logo by Jonathas Mello

OER Global Logo
by Jonathas Mello

Where do you stand on the Open Educational Resourses (OER) continuum?

  1. Huh?

  2. OER? Original Equipment Reproduction? Office of Extramural Research?

  3. Do you mean Open Educational Resources? Sounds familiar.

  4. Duh, you don’t know what OER means?

  5. Heck, I and/or my staff use them all the time; couldn’t teach without them.

Regardless of where you place yourself on this tongue-in-cheek continuum, let’s all get on the same page. Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials freely available for use, reuse, adaptation and sharing—without charge. They are already a mainstay for many creative teachers and resourceful students, but as school Internet connections become faster and more students have access to laptops, tablets and other personal technology, interest in OER is burgeoning! Some schools and districts are even considering doing away with proprietary materials from educational publishers and using OER exclusively.

Boon and Challenge

From a school administrator’s point of view, the expanding use of OER is both a boon and a challenge. The range and diversity of OER make them the perfect tool for creating meaningful, engaging and personalized instruction, and being free, they can have only a positive impact on the school budget. At the same time, how do you know if a given resource truly is available for free use? Might you or your teachers be violating copyright law?

What about the quality of the resource? Before a textbook can be adopted it has to go through a rigorous, documented vetting process. There are safeguards in place to ensure it’s authentic, accurate, correct, aligned to standards, unbiased, reflects the contributions of subgroups and individuals who may have been excluded from earlier textbooks, and is appropriate in as many ways as possible for your student audience. Are open educational resources subjected to such scrutiny? How would you know?

Open Educational Resources Summit

Are you interested in these questions? Do you want to learn more about open educational resources and whether or not they are for you and your students? Do you want to better understand the challenges and the possible solutions? Would you enjoy just exploring some great examples? Then come to the Open Educational Resources Summit on April 10 at the San Mateo Marriott/San Francisco Airport hotel—an event being held in conjunction with the Leadership 3.0 Symposium and co-sponsored by CUE, ACSA, and TICAL.

Join your colleagues for a thorough briefing and introduction to the world of Online Educational Resources. You’ll hear from leaders in the OER field just what OER is and why we should use it, how to implement it, and the pedagogical opportunities made available by these additional resources. The day’s program costs just $49 and includes lunch!

Here’s the program:

Morning Program: OER 101

The morning program will provide an introduction and overview of OER. Tentative topics include identifying resources, understanding licensing, OER and Common Core State Standards, policy issues at the national, state and local level, and approaches to the implementation process, with specific reference to the California context.

Afternoon Program: Deep Dive into OER

The afternoon program will provide an interactive exploration of OER including implementation planning and long-term implications. Topics will include: how to find and ensure the quality of resources; assessing their impact; the vetting process to ensure accuracy, appropriate representation of different points of view, gender, racial and ethnic issues, and the like; how OER can change the pedagogical opportunities in the classroom; and how teachers can ensure they are teaching to the Common Core State Standards. Note: attendees are welcome to register for the afternoon program only, but should be aware that the workshop leaders will assume participants already have basic familiarity with OER.

Attend AM or PM or both: $49 with lunch no matter what!

Learn more and/or register at http://www.lead3.org/program/oer-summit.

Simkins_Michael_lres-80-croppedMichael was an elementary school teacher for 15 years and an elementary school principal for 9 years. He directed the nationally acclaimed Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project as well as TICAL, California’s statewide professional development program for school administrators. Currently he consults, writes, and directs the annual Leadership 3.0 Symposium. In 2014, CUE recognized him with the “Making It Happen” award.

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