So, after learning about open education resources (OERs), we’ve been asked to evaluate some of the platforms offering these resources to users across the internet. As I said in my previous post, I have never heard of these resources until taking this course. I still am in disbelief that people create and provide educational resources, without expecting any compensation in return. So in order to evaluate an OER, I felt a bit overwhelmed as to how to begin.
Leigh, somehow sensing mine, and some others discomfort, posted this tweet because she is a sweet baby angel:
Leigh’s link included lots of content on why these resources exist, how to evaluate them and how to create them, as well as copyright and licensing information.
I decided to evaluate one open education resource, OER Commons. As I am getting closer to having this baby over here, I decided this was a reasonable task for the minimal energy that I currently possess at this time.
- The homepage seems very well laid out. It explains the purpose of the site and has the search laid right out on the homepage.
- It appears user friendly, we’ll see what happens when I attempt to search for some arts education resources.
Search 1: “arts education”
- I searched “arts education” under the “education” tab, and chose “lower primary” (there were many options for grade level, which is very nice to see).
- The “standards” tab is for curricular standards, based in only certain American states, like North Dakota and Pennsylvania.
- My search yielded 193 results, very general results (arts education is quite vague of a search).
- I liked how along the left side of the results page, you could continue to refine your search.
- Some of the results actually looked very promising, and some looked completely unrelated (meaning that the tags for the lesson were not very specific). I am sure some creators want their lessons and units to come up on as many searches as possible, but why a “Field Trip to Honey Harvest Educators Guide” came up on my search is beyond me.
Search 2: “dance education”
- I got less results doing this search (73), however the results seemed better suited for what I was trying to find.
- I quickly noticed looking on the left side that you could refine the search based on the material type, license type, language, and many others which is very handy as well.
- I opened up a lesson called “Creative Dance Handshake Dance” and I loved how there were places to save and share right at the top of the page, including a link to export directly to your own Google Drive. Other saving options want you to create your own account on the site, which I think would be worthwhile and I will plan to do in the future.
- I also found a really cool dance/physical education resource for kindergarten to grade 2 and the way it is laid out to show the unit is very cool:
- My main thoughts are that I plan to tell every educator about this resource. Especially people who are new to the profession and are just starting out. I know how expensive being a new teacher can be.
- It appears from my surface-level detective skills that there are even arts education resources on this site, which is very encouraging. Arts education resources that are usable can be more challenging to find than say, a social studies resource. This is very nice to know. Sometimes we (arts educators) find resources that are “good enough,” and reuse them even though they may not serve a great purpose for our students, simply because it is too difficult to find or make something newer and better. This has also been a challenge for me in the past when I have been tasked with teaching core french.
All in all, OER Commons is a great starting place for those new to open education resources, and I fully intend to use it in the future!