Friday, February 10, 2017

“OPEN” the Window to a World of Digital Possibilities

Today our blog post comes from a team of media specialists and Rockstars of Curation from Noblesville Schools: Erin Freestone from White River Elementary, Jamie Harris from North Elementary, and Sherrie McGovern from Stony Creek Elementary. Noblesville Schools was the first school district in Indiana to commit to being a #GoOpen district, meaning they are committed to using openly-licensed educational resources. This blog post coincides with the #GoOpen Summit being held at MSD of Warren Twp. Schools today, February 10, 2017. Be sure to follow the #GoOpen hashtag today and everyday to connect with other educators utilizing open resources.


Last year, three media specialists with a passion to support teachers and learn more about curating digital resources were attending a video conference with Kristina Peters, K-12 Open Education Fellow with the US DOE. Our district level team identified social studies curriculum that was due for renewal and decided to transition to openly licensed educational resources. The concept of #GoOpen seemed a bit foreign and overwhelming, but we decided to dive in and have been swimming through “open” waters ever since.

As the hub of learning in our school, our goal as media specialists is to support teachers as we collaboratively curate digital resources. This work is extremely important as we continue our transition away from print instructional materials. As stated on the Open Education - Office of Educational Technology website, openly licensed educational resources are defined as “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under a license that permits their free use, reuse, modification, and sharing with others. Digital openly licensed resources can include complete online courses, modular digital textbooks as well as more granular resources such as images, videos, and assessment items.“ As media specialists, we are well positioned to be the leading edge of digitally transforming our students learning. Becoming Future Ready Librarians means making connections between curriculum and resources to create innovative learning experiences and environments for our students.


Why use openly licensed educational resources? These resources increase equity, keep information relevant, engage students in learning, promote inquiry, create customized learning experiences, save money for schools and districts, and the list goes on! Our openly licensed educational resources are almost a one stop shop tied to standards, grade appropriate curriculum and digital content activities.

How are we using openly licensed educational resources? Here are a few resources that we have had the opportunity to sit side by side with teachers to use to enhance their instructional practices.

  1. Library of Congress (LOC) - Below is a process of inquiry that uses student thinking and an analysis tool for collaboration. Students analyzed 2 primary sources of pictures to determine patterns of behaviors. This ties to Standard 4.1.7 Explain the roles of various individuals, groups, and movements in the social conflicts leading to the Civil War.
  2. Destiny Follett - teachers have access to Open Educational Resources through our system. This gives teachers and students access to a wealth of learning experiences using videos, interactive simulations, virtual field trips, reference materials, images, etc. and the list goes on.
  3. HEPL (Hamilton East Public Library) - Researching the kid-friendly way - many online database opportunities for students to drive passion-learning. Check out your public library to see what open educational resources they have available to your community.
This is the OER Rubric we used to evaluate the quality of the instructional resources we found. Modeling the use of an OER rubric helps teachers learn to evaluate instructional resources independently. 

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