OAS Eastern Caribbean Training Module: OER Discovery


These Organization of American States (OAS) Eastern Caribbean Training modules aim to support the need for country-specific OER implementation while taking advantage of shared knowledge, resources, and tools that can be accessed and contributed to by all educators across the region. The Training Modules offer a blended approach, combining live webinars and self-directed online practice activities to give participants the flexibility of exploring the tools and resources at their own pace and personalizing them to best suit the needs of their community. The course webinars will be hosted by ISKME, recorded and posted in the Hub, along with all online course materials.

ISKME brings a comprehensive OER toolset and immersive professional learning program to assist educators in enhancing their capacities to use, evaluate, curate, and create OER. Leveraging its teaching and learning network and digital library, OER Commons (oercommons.org) launched in 2007, ISKME advances collaboration and continuous improvement of high-quality curriculum. 

This is the first of two custom module trainings that will provide participants a demonstration and discussion of how to navigate OER Commons and create collaborative workflows to identify resources, assess their quality using rubrics, and organize materials for use. Participants will get an opportunity to practice using OER tools and begin to design their plans for OER implementation, specific to their immediate OER needs. An important outcome for educators will be a shared understanding of OER practice and specific next steps for OER adoption in their work.

We have designed these modules to first spark the learner's interest in the topics covered and then dig deeper into the content through presentations, storytelling, and demonstrations of the tools. We will offer opportunities for learners to practice exploring the resources and tools, and reflect on how they might use them in their work. 

Optional pre-activities:

To participate in group discussions during the REFLECT sections you will need to create a login and join the OAS Group. Please see instructions below

CREATE A PROFILE on OER Commons to be able to contribute to the discussions in our group, and to save and organize resources. Click "Register Now!", fill in the necessary information, and click register. You will receive a confirmation email with a link to log in.

JOIN OUR GROUP Once you've logged in successfully, join the OAS Group by clicking "Join This Group"

Lost in Search?

With an overwhelming number of sites to search for teaching and learning resources online, it can be very time consuming and sometimes you can feel lost.



REFLECT Before we explore search strategies and evaluation criteria for finding resources online, we'd like to know more about how you are currently searching for resources to you use in your teaching. Take a moment to reflect on your current process for searching and provide two or three examples of the criteria you use to help you assess if the resources you find are acceptable to use in your classroom. Reply here

For example, I’ve been searching youtube for various videos to introduce new content to my students. Videos must have clear and concise presentation of the content with easy to understand visuals because my students will be watching them on their own time. Videos must have accessibility supports like closed captioning for my hearing impaired students.

*Reminder: you will need to be logged in to OER Commons and join the OAS Group to reply to the discussion.

OER Search Strategies

ISKME's OER Commons digital library is designed to support you in easily accessing resources that are related to your desired topic area or keyword. We offer various discovery tools that allow you to type in a keyword for a basic search, or add additional search criteria like Subject, Education Level, and Learning Standard, Material Type, and Media Format in Advanced Search and Refine Search modes. Before we begin our searching, it is important to consider what our current instructional and curricular needs are. Here are a few questions to ponder to help you identify some potential topic areas and keywords:

  1. Are there any specific content gap areas in my existing curriculum? For example, I might have an urgent need for math modeling or STEM literacy resources.
  2. Are there new types of digital materials that I would like to integrate into my existing curriculum? For example, I might want to offer my students more opportunities to use interactive games and simulations.
  3. Are there innovative teaching and learning strategies and styles that I would like to incorporate into my instructional plan? For example, I might desire to try some kinesthetic learning or guided inquiry activities.
  4. Are there current events and news topic areas that I need resources for? For example, I might be interested in finding the latest resources on climate change or refugees.

OER Discovery in Action

Join Science Teacher and OER Trainer, Joanna Schimizzi as she walks us through her process of thinking deeply about what types of resources she currently needs to support innovative teaching and learning in her class (considering the questions above), identifying a keyword to type into the search bar (kinetic energy), then exploring the results, refining her search, and reflecting on the resource she discovered.

WATCH Joanna's Search and Discovery below.

Joanna's Search and Discovery

PRACTICE: Now it’s your turn to practice using the Search, Advanced search, and Refine Search tools on OER Commons. To get started, go to OERCommons.org and type your keyword into the search bar. Explore the resources and select one that you might be able to use in your teaching.

REFLECT: Hopefully you were able to discover at least one resource that you might be able to use in your teaching. While exploring the resource you discovered, consider how might you use it in your teaching. Did this resource meet the quality criteria you shared earlier? If yes, what specifically stood out to you about the resource that made it high-quality? If not, what changes or additions would need to be made to make the resource high-quality? You can add your response to these questions directly on the resource description page by writing and submitting a comment below the description. Here is an example of the comment Joanna shared on the Wind Turbine resource she found: https://www.oercommons.org/courses/build-a-wind-turbine-2

PRACTICE: Once you have added your comment, we invite you to save your resource to our shared resource folder in our OAS group. Simply click the green save button on the resource page and select the OAS Group to put it in our shared folder.

*Reminder: you will need to be logged in to OER Commons to add a comment to the resource description page.

Evaluation Supports

OER Commons has additional supports to help us assess the quality of OER we discover. To help schools, teachers, and other users determine the degree of alignment of OER to college- and career-ready standards and to determine other aspects of quality of OER, Achieve developed rubrics in collaboration with leaders from the OER community. Achieve partnered with OER Commons to develop an online evaluation tool to allow users to apply these rubrics and evaluate the quality of instructional resources. We won’t be using the tool today to formally assess OER, but we wanted to give you an overview of the seven quality areas that the rubric assesses with the hopes that this will inform your own quality criteria for selecting resources to use in your teaching.

  1. Degree of Alignment to Standards - How closely aligned to the learning standard is this resource? Standards could be common core, next generation science, or other.
  2. Quality of Explanation of the Subject Matter - How thoroughly is the subject matter explained in this resource?
  3. Utility of Materials Designed to Support Teaching - Is this resource designed to support teachers in planning and presenting the resource? Is it easy for teachers to understand and use?
  4. Quality of Assessment - Are there assessments included in this resource that determine what a student knows before, during, and after the subject is taught?
  5. Quality of Technological Interactivity - Is technological interactivity included in this resource?
  6. Quality of Instructional and Practice Exercises - Are exercises designed to provide an opportunity to practice and strengthen specific skills and knowledge?
  7. Opportunities for Deeper Learning - Are students engaged in any of the deeper learning skill areas below?                                             Think critically and solve complex problems. Work collaboratively. Communicate effectively. Learn how to learn. Reason abstractly. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. Apply discrete knowledge and skills to real-world situations. Construct, use, or analyze models.

Any OER Commons user is welcome to assess and evaluate resources using the Achieve OER Evaluation Rubrics. While not all of the resources on OER Commons have been evaluated with these rubrics, some of them have been evaluated and you can search by rubric in Advanced Search.

REFLECT: Given everything we have shared and explored today, if you were to add an eighth quality area to the Achieve Rubric, what might you recommend? Add your suggested quality area description in two sentences or less with your Reply Here

Next Module

Our next module will explore OER Curation and present best practices and recommendations for curating high quality content. We will demonstrate tools for saving and organizing OER in private and shared groups. Then, we will have time to practice using the tools to curate OER for immediate use in the classroom. 

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