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:

(I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but Leigh feels like the guardian angel of our class, asking good questions and posting helpful stuff on her twitter for us to check out so we can all be better)

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.


First impressions:

  • 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 thoughts:

  • 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!

3 Replies to “oer’s”

  1. Very detailed and thorough post, Riley! I struggle to find quality art assignments without having to pay for them as well, and also noticed some quality art and science assignments in my searches too! Especially because they are free, these resources are very adaptable for our classrooms – a great jumping-off point to create fun and engaging projects for our students! I agree with you, that these tools are great for new teachers starting out – I wish I knew about them when I started my career. Thanks for a detailed post!

  2. Riley, a common theme that I have noted in a few blog posts is the need for educators to promote OER resources. I really agree with your comment about the need to provide new teachers to the profession with access to OER as it could help to eliminate some of the costs associated with purchasing resources. I also think that having easier access to high quality resources could help new teachers focus on things like developing and fostering relationships with students, rather than stressing about resource development. A new teacher at our high school recently stated that if it wasn’t for the teacher support and resource sharing, he would not be able to be as involved with extracurricular and community sports.

  3. Riley, this is a great post. I too looked into OER Commons and felt many of the same things that you did. Maybe it’s because I am used to using the Internet, Pinterest, or TPT to find resources, but not necessarily using an OER. I found it frustrating and time-consuming, but I like how you discussed the potential of it if more people were contributing and adopting this same philosophy.

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