I am presently participating in an OER STEM train-the-trainer project with a team of educators to explore the value and usefulness of using Open Educational Resources (OER) in adult education. This training includes a course in the LINCS Learning Portal: Open Your Classroom to Open Educational Resources. I was invited to post here and report a bit of my experience with OER.
OER have had a real impact on my own professional development and in training instructors, especially adult ed instructors, in the past couple of years. Adult ed programs are characteristically poor, so OER provide ideal tools to save teachers time in developing materials, to open them to new ideas, and to hone in on and address specific student needs.
Last year, I presented a workshop on OER, providing adult ed instructors in the Four Corners region with links to sites that specifically addressed a few student and teacher needs. Participants not only happily explored content-area resources, but also accessed free image and media sites that they could use in their practice.
I create a lot of curriculum for a largely ignored niche in adult ed: the need for (1) low-level, high-interest reading materials and (2)work-based instructional content that embeds specific academic skills related to occupations. I also create credit and non-credit courses for adult ed instructors, some of which lead to state adult ed certification. I would really love for all of that material to be licensed under CC (Creative Commons), but since I am paid to develop much of the content, I need permission from contractors to do so. I am in the process of asking for those permissions.
In an online course I created and am teaching for a community college, I am having teachers explore the 80 OER sites that were shared in my current training. They will then post comments describing at least three that they will find useful with their students this year. We'll start a webliography. That site is http://oedb.org/ilibrarian/80-oer-tools/. Thought I would share!
Thank you for sharing this website! I will be looking at this website very intently because I want to begin using them at my adult education school. If you have any links regarding your work with OERs in STEM. Having a background in STEM, this is something that I am passionate about.
-Alfons I. Prince
Hi, Alfons. I will have a lot more to share once I complete this training, when we will be not only exploring more sites, but also developing resources. More to come! Thanks. Leecy
Hi, Leecy -
Thanks for sharing some of the work that you're doing independently, and with your learners. I appreciate the approach to asking teachers to to evaluate OER resources and discuss how they will use them in their classes. I think this has the potential to create rich dialogue and support teachers in considering how to incorporate these resources into their teaching practice.
Also, thank you for working with your employers to pursue Creative Commons licensing for your work. We need more instructional content in the areas you mention. As a vocational evaluator, I also struggle to find current, work-based, instructional content that embeds specific academic skills related to occupations. One resource I've found useful is the Vocational Evaluation and Career Assessment Professionals Association: http://vecap.org/. VECAP is a member-supported organization that works to help consumers identify career-related interests and aptitudes.
Leecy, I hope that your efforts will pay off and that these resources will prove useful to the spectrum of adult educators, working across populations.
Thanks for the link, Michael. I see the site has several helpful resources. When I see the light at the end of my work tunnel in February, I will dive in for more treasures. I'm interested in their certification resources. I appreciate the encouragement. We'll certainly talk more! Leecy