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How Open Educational Resources Can Enhance Curriculum

The mantra “you get what you pay for” has its truths.  If I pay $1 for a cheeseburger, then I would not necessarily expect the same quality as if I ordered a $10 cheeseburger.  However, this does not mean that the low cost option is always a “bad” option.  The world of Open Educational Resources (OER) is blossoming.  Educators and those concerned about quality and cost of education have banded together to create and share content while still holding onto legal rights of authorship (to varying degrees) for little to no cost to the end user.  This content will be clearly marked as to how the content can be used, edited and shared.


Resources range from entire courses from elite universities (MIT’s OpenCourseware) to individual tools and resources (Desmos, an online graphing calculator with teacher resources and classroom activities).  For the educator interested in using OER, s/he must first ensure the technology resources are available; not all activities/resources require the use of computers or internet to engage in the activity or resource.  Then, the quality and appropriateness must be judged.  For the concept at hand, how can this tool/resource be used to support students? 


Here is a sampling of some OER for various disciplines:


OER Commons:
A great first stop for your research/educational needs.


Open Content Alliance:
A digital archive of sorts.


Educational resources sorted by discipline and grade level.


Written by Ryan Grossman
Evansville Day School
Upper School Math Instructor