Tuesday, March 29, 2016

OERs and You

Amy Jessica McMillan
INFO 266
March 29, 2016

Valenza, J. (2016, Feb. 28). OER and you: The curation mandate. Neverending search. Retrieved from http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2016/02/28/oer-and-you-the-curation-mandate/

Summary: In this short blog post, Valenza gives an overview of #GoOpen, a U.S. Department of Education-endorsed initiative in favor of open education resources, and explains what this means for school librarians. According to OER Commons, "Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost" (qtd. in Valenza). Valenza challenges librarians to prepare themselves for this movement and to enhance it by curating quality OER collections in our schools. In other words, teacher librarians need to make OERs discoverable, select and curate appropriate resources, promote inquiry using OERs and preexisting purchases, and educate people about Creative Commons.

Evaluation and Analysis: OERs have the potential to make up the majority of our "connections" as school librarians, and possibly for other types of librarians as well. As noted by Valenza, OERs might be the "game changers" or our profession. Through OERs, students might really be able to access multiple perspectives and unlimited content without worrying about textbook biases or payment. I am particularly interested in Amazon Education's initiative to provide teachers with a database in which they can upload, search, and manage educational resources for free. Right now the #GoOpen initiative feels a bit disorganized and overwhelming, but the movement shows no signs of going away. In fact, it seems to be growing In her blog, Valenza writes, "It's our gig," when explaining why OERs need to be curated by librarians. I agree. School librarians can start now by adding OERs to their virtual learning commons and by publishing the best ones to staff and students.

Next Steps: I have already created a short list of OERs relevant to my K-12 school district. Click the link OER Source Page to see what I have so far. If you know of any I missed, please add to the comments below.

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