Historically, textbooks and many teaching and learning materials in K-12 classrooms are copyrighted and cost a great deal. The open education movement was founded on the principles of reducing those costs by sharing teaching and learning materials created by educators freely online, leveraging the internet to exchange ideas and resources that can be adapted to your classroom and teaching practices at no cost to you, the students, or the school.
At the epicenter of the open education movement are open educational resources (OER). OER include textbooks, topic-specific learning tools for classwork, syllabi and lesson plans, videos, assignments, worksheets, and tests created by professional educators and shared openly for others to modify and reuse in their own teaching.
They are published under open licenses that describe how materials can be used, reused, adapted, and shared in your classroom.
The benefits of OER for teachers are significant. They include:
When using OER, there are five aspects of use that make it so flexible. They are the Five Rs.
This material is an adaptation of Defining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational Resources, which was originally written by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at http://opencontent.org/definition/.
All classroom materials come with some level of challenge. Commercial textbooks are expensive and can't be modified. Creating your own teaching materials takes a great deal of time and effort. OER have challenges of their own. Below are some tips for overcoming them to make your use of OER in the your classroom smoother.