Websites such Curriki, Gooru, CK12 and Khan Academy have long been repositories for free objects such as videos, PDFs, simulations, web sites, assessment items, etc. In the "early days" of OER (around 2015), gooru.org reported that it held 5 million OER objects. But, studies found that K-12 teachers were spending six to 10 hours per week searching for OER objects — for supplements to their existing curricula. And, while there are exceptions, the dominant view is that teachers are not equipped by temperament or training — nor do they have the time — to stitch OER objects together into coherent OER lessons. Bottom line: OER 1.0 sounded like a good idea — free educational resources — but objects that are only supplemental to the curriculum and require considerable search time to find just didn’t/don’t sound like a cost effective use of a teacher’s time.
OER 2.0 – From Objects to Digitized Curriculum
Hearing from their "customers," OER sites started putting up whole OER courses. In 2016 Gooru listed 35 OER courses — semester-long curricula. More recently, Open Up Resources, a leader in OER curricula, raised $10 million and used a portion of that to commission Illustrative Mathematics to develop award winning math curricula for middle school (grades 6, 7, and 8). Bill McCallum, CEO of Illustrative Mathematics insists that these materials will remain free OER and are posted with the least restrictive Creative Commons licensing — "CC-BY." Users may take them — and do whatever you want with them! While OER 2.0 resources are no longer just objects, the problem — as we see it — is that OER 2.0 curricula are, by and large, designed for a paper-and-pencil classroom, for a classroom where student access to computers is limited, at best. Yes, OER 2.0 curricula are on the computer, but they do not take advantage of digital resources. OER 2.0 curricula are just digitized versions of paper-and-pencil resources.
We do understand where OER 2.0 curricula creators are coming from: equity is a real issue in America’s schools, and today it is estimated that 1-to-1 is in 50 percent of America’s classrooms. So, to maximize impact, design for paper-and-pencil classrooms.
OER 3.0 – From Digitized Curricula to Deeply Digital Curricula1-to-1 is happening.
1-to-1 is the new normal. Chromebooks can be purchased for $60 apiece. Fifth-graders now are smartphone owners. Providing speedy WiFi in classrooms is no longer rocket science engineering, nor is it cost-prohibitive. Yes, some educators warn that computers in the classroom can be distracting; students can move from reading on a website to playing games too easily! Keeping students on task on the computers is sincerely challenging just as keeping students on task has always been.
But, there is no going back to paper-and-pencil! The "kids these days" are digital; they are "picting" — not writing. Time to produce OER 3.0 — deeply digital curricula! Time to push schools along; time to show schools exciting new opportunities for teaching and learning. Enter, stage right, Michigan’s GoOpen OER Roadmap Initiative!
Michigan’s #GoOpen OER Roadmap Initiative: Realizing the Promise of OER 3.0
To make a long story short, CN & ES are working with Michelle Ribant (Director of 21st Century Learning at Michigan Department of Education), Ann-Marie Mapes (Educational Technology Manager at Michigan Department of Education) and Tina Tribu (Instructional Technologist and Data Specialist KRESA, REMC 12W Director) to support — read: paying — Michigan K-12 teachers to create deeply digital, lessons and units (multi-week curricula!) — implemented as visual, interactive, browser-based, device-independent Roadmaps.
20+ teachers met at the Regional Media Center in Ingham County, MI, on Dec 1, 2018 for a day-long workshop on how to use the Collabrify Roadmap Platform (a device-independent, collabrified, free tool that supports the full life-cycle for digital lessons) to build Roadmaps. (Interestingly, Ms. Mapes officially dismissed the teachers at 2:30 — but virtually no one moved; some teachers were still there at 4:30 when ES and CN left.) This "Roadmappers" group has since been busy creating, aligning with Michigan’s standards, evaluating against the Achieve Rubric, classroom testing, and finally posting Roadmap lessons and units onto Michigan’s #GoOpen OER microsite.
Michigan’s #GoOpen OER Roadmap Initiative: Next Steps
Be involved and join the team on May 4, 2019. Learn and create for professional growth to benefit teachers and students around the world! And, get paid to do so. Check out this flyer for more information.