Wednesday, February 6, 2013


In my class we are learning about Open Educational Resources... A great concept which is all about taking resources and making them free and accessible on-line, thereby bringing resources and educational opportunities to the world. It's funny, I always thought I was somewhat "Tech-Savvy", now I know that I am definitely not!! 

Here's the introduction to Open Educational Resources... the history (short version) and basic philosophy... 

"Open Education Matters: Why is it important to share content?"

They are about collaborating and sharing....
Redistribute - People share copies with others
Remix- People combine resources to create new content
Revise - People translate or change the work; people can modify and adapt
Reuse - People are allowed to freely use all or part of the unaltered, verbatim work

OERs are about teaching, learning and researching - accessible to everyone.... Knowledge as a public good. Knowledge as a public good. Everyone has the right to be educated, yet not everyone has the access to school.

Here's a good introductory video, "Why Open Education Matters" created by Flat World Knowledge.

Here's a video that was a TED talk from 2006, with Richard Baraniuk on Open Source Learning which are closely linked to OERs...This new emergence of on-line sharing of free resources could really help our world. Of course there are barriers such as language, cultural contextual differences and cultural teaching styles... but it's a beginning. Most OERs if implemented well allow teachers to reuse or remix ideas, basically adapt to the needs of the culture or context.

The job you have today may not exist in 5, 10, 20 years from now. So how will you prepare and adapt for this change? This is where the possibilities of OERs can really make a difference, not just from a global equity perspective, or to ease the cost of higher level learning, but for everyone who might be looking at changing positions or jobs in the future. How can we adapt and be able to afford to go to school continuously? Does it have to have a cost?
See the video below, "Education Without Limits: Why Open Education Matters" with Mitchell Levy, College Open Textbooks Co-Director... really reinforces this mindset or mindshift...

Video published on Jun 5, 2012 with Creative Commons (

Other organizations that support the OER and Open Source Learning

Twenty Million Minds FoundationThis organization founded by Dr. Gary Michelson was created to provide the use of comprehensive, digital, higher education textbook library to help reduce the costs of textbooks. His website  has the following mission... (see info direct from their website below).

OERs - Is this the way of the future in Higher level education??
Are on-line classes the future of higher education? Dean Florez, the President and CEO of 20 Million Minds Foundation and former state senator explains.
See link:

Here's a blog on latest news from the Twenty Millions Minds Foundation... Check out the videos on the blog (many are TED talks... Really cool!)

Want to sign up for OERs? It's a fairly new OER site (it doesn't have many resources - yet)

Doug Belshaw on TED talks on Open Source Learning and Digital Literacy

"Why Open is Important" video on open educational resources at the University level. He explains how OERs can provide opportunities and mechanisms for students and faculty to embrace the concept because it can improve the world by sharing knowledge. If the cost to produce something is $0, then the price of it should be $0...( Still trying to get my head around the price of planning documents to be shared.)
Dr. Paul Courant, Dean of University of Michigan Libraries, discusses why the concept of Open is important within academia.
Visit to learn more.

OERs at U of MICHIGAN - "It's all about collaboration and sharing"
Collaboration worldwide - Student's perspective video

Check out OER sites...
Creative commons

Powerful TED talk

Ooooooh I LOVE TED Talks. So many interesting perspectives on true reality. Maybe TLC should pick up TED Talks rather than shows about pageant toddlers or housewives who-have-too-much-money-and-too-little-education-or-class....

Anyways the TED talk that captured my attention recently was the "Reimagining Learning" by Richard Culatta.

or check out his video on Games used for Education and his research.
On the Innovative Learning site it states...

Games are powerful platforms for learning. They provide a highly motivating environment with lots of opportunity for repetition and feedback. In addition they give learners opportunities to make choices and embrace failure as an opportunity to improve.

Innovative Learning - Research and sites for Games

Big Ideas and Understanding by Design

Maybe you have heard of Grant Wiggins? Maybe not?? He is an advocate and creator of the "Backward Planning" model. Hmmmm... Sound familiar now??

If not, well he is the one who created the "Understanding by Design" framework. Here is a bit about it straight from his blog, just so I don't need to summarize it!

You will note that there is stuff to sell on the site, but I think that these books seem pretty worthwhile. Anyways... off to purchase a book or two, or find out if our library has them... ;-)

Understanding by Design® (UbD™) is a framework for improving student achievement. Emphasizing the teacher's critical role as a designer of student learning, UbD™ works within the standards-driven curriculum to help teachers clarify learning goals, devise revealing assessments of student understanding, and craft effective and engaging learning activities.

  • A primary goal of education should be the development and deepening of student understanding.
  • Students reveal their understanding most effectively when they are provided with complex, authentic opportunities to explain, interpret, apply, shift perspective, empathize, and self-assess. When applied to complex tasks, these "six facets" provide a conceptual lens through which teachers can better assess student understanding.
  • Effective curriculum development reflects a three-stage design process called "backward design" that delays the planning of classroom activities until goals have been clarified and assessments designed. This process helps to avoid the twin problems of "textbook coverage" and "activity-oriented" teaching, in which no clear priorities and purposes are apparent.
  • Student and school performance gains are achieved through regular reviews of results (achievement data and student work) followed by targeted adjustments to curriculum and instruction. Teachers become most effective when they seek feedback from students and their peers and use that feedback to adjust approaches to design and teaching.
  • Teachers, schools, and districts benefit by "working smarter" through the collaborative design, sharing, and peer review of units of study.

Be sure to also check out his Big Idea posts...

Big Ideas Blog Posts by Grant Wiggins...

Explore +4

My husband recently showed me a new math classroom organization strategy and it's known as the "Explore +4". After viewing the video I was blown away... So much in fact, I want to try this format asap! The video highlights a first year teacher, Aaron Warner, who implemented the strategy with some of his own twists, namely the integration of technology.  Although I see that it would take considerable effort to organize, once the structures are in place - it would run itself... Well, with lots of teacher planning!

One other thing, as you watch video, take a look at the long range plans for math planning, how the front white board is organized, bulletin board "I can..." affirmation statements. Pretty cool!

Here's the video, brought to you by my husband and his team of consultants...

Take the time to watch it... I'm sooo impressed with the work that has been done here, as well as a little jealous! ;-)

Grant Wiggins - Big Ideas... Listen to his podcast...