Start the Facebook live broadcast. #Check
Get the app loaded to take audience questions. #Check
Start live-tweeting the discussion. #Check
Welcome your panelists and attendees to your SXSWedu panel. #Check
The best laid plans can fail when you overlook the simplest of details. As the moderator of a SXSWedu panel covering the Challenges of Curation in K-12 Schools, I held several brainstorm calls with the panelists, sent them thought-starter questions, solicited feedback from teacher and librarian contacts in the industry, and thought I was as ready as I could be. That is until about five minutes into the session, when a hand in the audience went up asking, “Can you define what you mean by OERs?”
Define OERs. #Fail
As the teacher leading my SXSWedu classroom, I made a wrongful assumption my entire class entered the room with the same knowledge base. So I explained to my class that Open Educational Resources (OER) could be most easily defined as “free stuff on the Web.” OER Commons defines them more eloquently as, “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.”
Teachers have been surfing the Web for lesson plans and ideas for their classroom for years. But as more districts sign the #GoOpen initiative to replace a traditional textbook adoption with OERs, the challenge of combing through a world of content and finding the best resources that align to a district’s curriculum becomes more difficult. And how can OERs supplement the print and digital resources already purchased by the school? If you think about the origins of a traditional textbook, the publisher did the curation work for you. Taking on that task can be daunting, especially if OERs are new to your acronym vocabulary.
Back to the discussion at the SXSWedu panel, my panelists advised attendees to start by having a conversation with your librarian. Librarians are trained master curators. At Follett, we wanted to make it easier for librarians and teachers to search for OERs right from Destiny, the most popular library management system in K-12 schools. So, if you’re looking for resources on “molecules” you can find the print materials in your library that talk about molecules, the databases your school owns that support information about molecules, as well as all of the free resources on the Web. In the July release of Destiny, teacher and librarians will be able to partner to build Collections within Destiny to house all of the great resources in one place so teachers can use the Collection in the classroom.
But just like the beginning of my SXSWedu panel got off to a rough start, there’s a learning curve to bringing new resources into the classroom. If you want to integrate OERs successfully, I’d suggest starting here…
Talk to my librarian. #Check