Maine Dept. of Ed: Open Education Resources Project

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May 19th, 2011
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The Maine Department of Education has selected Edmodo as the platform to share their results of their recent Open Education Resources research project with the education community.  We think this will be a great opportunity to expose the Edmodo community to the wealth of high quality open resources, and hope you will join in the discussions in the communities (topic: Open Resources) and share the resources with your peers!

Following is a guest post from the OER Team with further details on the project and results.

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In 2009, nine research grants, funded by US Department of Education through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title IID Enhancing Education Through Technology and the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, were awarded by the Maine Department of Education to support the research of open educational resources. These grants support the identification of on-line educational resources and professional development to assist teachers in developing the skills and knowledge to more fully utilize rich technological resources to enhance teaching and learning. Maine DOE’s goals for the research effort include:

  1. Enhance the awareness of Open Educational Resources (OER).
  2. Identify existing OER.
  3. Foster the creation or development of content-specific asynchronous and synchronous communities.

Why are OERs significant tools for schools?

  • They include learning objects such as simulations, representations, software tools, data sets, lesson plans, etc;
  • If appropriately targeted to a grade level and learning goal, they can be used to supplement, enrich and in some cases serve as an integral part of a curriculum;
  • They make great tools for differentiation;
  • They allow for higher-order thinking, particularly those resources that encourage independent application of concepts by students; and
  • OERs are not static—a true OER can be modified and adapted by educators (or students in some cases), these resources may be updated to reflect the latest research about thinking and learning.

The effort brought together teams of educators to identify high-quality OER in each of the following content areas: Career and Education Development, Health Education/Physical Education, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science and Technology, English Language Arts, Visual and Performing Arts, and World Languages.

Each of the teams identified criteria for quality and alignment to Maine learning standards as they began to select OER recommendations for Maine educators. During this work, the teams also noted the areas (e.g., grade levels, learning standard indicators) where quality OER were lacking. The OER identified by these teams are posted in various locations. Look for links to these in the discussion threads.

Over the coming weeks, the teams assigned to each of the grants will be sharing the results of their research in the Edmodo subject area communities. Some of the findings they will share include:

  • Links to the online home of all the resources the teams compiled
  • Sharing of best practices for evaluating quality OER.
  • A sampling of favorites, look for the MaineOER tag on resources

To support this effort, the Edmodo team has added a new Topic of “Open Resources” within each of the subject area communities. The grant teams will add this topic to each of their posts to allow you to easily filter to view the grant related materials. We encourage all members of the Edmodo community to follow the discussions around Open Resources in the content areas. Try out some of the resources and offer feedback. Share experience with OER in the classroom and how they were aligned to meet standards. In general, contribute to the OER conversation. As educators become savvy about what they are looking for in an OER it will force a higher quality OER in the future.


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