Amy Pace is a Presidential Award winning science teacher. She is using “free” OER textbooks for all her courses. OER stands for Open Education Resources which are often curated by experts via grants and other means. Of course, nothing is free. These textbooks take time, curation, and customization. Visionary states, districts, and schools might find a money-saving resource with OERs.
Amy is on the textbook approval committee in Utah. The Utah Open Textbook project teams up top teachers to curate and create OER textbooks. These textbooks meet state standards. You can print them for $5 a piece. Amy says,
“Teachers across the state appreciate the work that was put in by the team of teachers to create a high quality product that is ready for them to use.”
There are limitations, however. Those who like a “classroom in a box” or want every single ancillary created and done for them, may not find a good fit in OER. But for those of us who take the teacherpreneurship approach, OER can be perfect.
Revision is the key success factor for standards, textbooks, and practices that will succeed in the 21st century.
If you don't revise, it dies.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@coolcatteacher”]MY MESSAGE ON STANDARDS & TEXTBOOKS: If you don't revise, it dies. Vicki Davis[/tweetthis]
Notice how the State of Utah had the teachers create the textbook and then revise it just one year later. Teachers give feedback and it is fixed. A five to ten-year textbook revision cycle is no longer acceptable.
Today's show is an incredible collection of best practices and thoughts around Open Education Resources. Using OERs will help many struggling districts if they'll take the time to understand and use them properly.
[tweetthis ]If students are learning the information they need using OER, there’s no argument about quality. Amy Pace[/tweetthis]
Take Aways from Today's Show
- CK12.org http://www.ck12.org/ – The nonprofit textbook organization that Amy uses to customize her textbooks
- OER Commons – Index of OER Resources
- OER Resource Roundup by Edutopia
- Utah's Open Textbook Project – for states or district who want to follow this model
Tips for minimizing teacher stress
- Discover 10 stress-busting secrets for healthy teachers. What simple routines will help you handle the stress?
- Simple advice for coping with stress at work.
- Learn tips to help you deal with difficult colleagues and students (even those who "hate" you -- yes it is possible!)