‘The List’ for Educators: How to Find Almost Anything in Less than Three Clicks

3433081165_93315c9243_z ‘The List’ that provides educational resources at the finger tips—no searching, in less than three clicks—find instructive, rich content for instructional or personal use.

Something fresh, a collection of links that will direct readers to sites brimming with quality content in a breadth of disciplines. While participating in the MOOC over the past two weeks, Open Educational Resources 12 [OER] and reviewing comments from educators from various sources, I realized that finding open education resources is not only time-consuming, but can be a daunting task. Where does one begin? Even though numerous platforms are striving to streamline the search process for educators, it is a challenge. Resources are often buried deep, may take at least five clicks [if not more] to unearth something relevant. It can feel like being lost in a labyrinth of content.

Once it became apparent that numerous educators have similar challenges, time and a starting point for locating resources, I decided to create a list of links, categorized and organized in such a way that finding a tool, resource or content source is simple, easy and [hopefully] productive. With an upcoming break for the holidays, I hope you might have time to explore and locate at least one resource to incorporate into an online or face-to-face class, find something to spark an idea for instruction, or even for your personal and professional development. Enjoy!

How-to-Find: Movie Clips, Full length Movies, or Instructional Videos

  • MOVIECLIPS: Over 12,000 movie clips, to search for, find, view, discuss and share scenes from favorite movies. MOVIECLIPS has made movies searchable by actor, title, genre, occasion, action, mood, character, theme, setting, prop, and even dialogue. Also, clips are ‘legal’ and free to every user.

    Reel of Film

    Source: Free Images.co.uk

  • Khan Academy: Some educators are not fans of Khan academy [not sure why], yet the collection is an excellent supplemental resource to direct K-12 and college level students to for ‘extra’ help with key concepts, in math, science, U.S. government, finance and more. We use Khan academy as a resource in our college level math  and US Government courses. Feedback from students is very positive.
  • 500 Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Westerns. The collection is divided into the following categories: Comedy & Drama; Film Noir, Horror & Hitchcock; Westerns & John Wayne; Silent Films; Documentaries, and Animation.

How-to Find:  e-Books or Audio Books

  • 375 Free e-books [Open Culture]: Download to Kindle, iPad, iPhone and Nook:  An excellent list of books, mostly Literature Classics, i.e. Chaucer, Tolstoy, Austen, Dewey and more.
    6555466069_3246e8b54e_z

    Open, by opensourceway, Flickr

    Open, by opensourceway

  • 450 Free audio books:  [Open Culture] Download hundreds of free audio books, mostly classics to your MP3 player or computer. Includes great works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
  • 160 Free Textbooks: [Open Culture] Open textbooks written by knowledgable scholars are a relatively new phenomenon. Below, find a meta list of 150 Free Textbooks, and check back often for new additions.
  • Project Gutenberg is the first online collection of free electronic books. Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg continues to maintain the site, and continues to build the database. There are over 40,000 free e-books to download.

How-to Find: Open Access Journals

  • Directory of Open Access Journal. Free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals, covering a breadth of subjects and in six languages. Click on subject of interest, next click to expand subject tree.
  • Education Research Global Observatory ERGO is a project on the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder. As a signatory to the Budapest Open Access Initiative, ERGO is dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of open access scholarship in education
  • Educational Technology Journals provided by Northern Illinois University, Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center. Comprehensive collection of links to journals pertaining to educational technology and online learning.

How-to Find an Image: Photos or Illustrations

  • Humanline.com, just launched this tremendous site of high-quality, free images related to civilization’s history, art and science. An educator’s dream! Excellent site.
  • Microsoft Office Online provides downloadable clip art, photos, illustrations and even sound clips for free. Though the selection is somewhat limited, there are several excellent choices.

    MP900443345

    Source: Microsoft Office Online

  • Open ClipArt is the largest collaborative community that creates, shares and remixes clip art. All clip art is released to the public domain and may be used in any project for free with no restrictions.
  • Free Images.co.uk is a  high quality resource of digital stock photographic images for use by all. All images in the collection are free to use on websites, printed materials and anywhere you need photos for illustration and design use.

How-to Find Open Courses

  • The No Excuse List: A list of free courses available on the Internet from a vast list of providers by subject area.
  • The Open University: The first university to offer courses that we now are calling MOOCs. Incorporated by Royal Charter, an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland. Open University offers many short courses, including teacher skills training.

How-to Find: A Resource Using Google Search in 60 seconds by educator David Wiley

Related Reading

Photo Credits: Magnifying, by Clover_1, Flickr  & Open, by opensourceway, Flickr

One Big Happy Family of OPEN – How to Get Faculty to Embrace Open Educational Resources

6555466069_3246e8b54e_zGetting faculty to embrace open education resources takes more than directing them to a good search platform. In this post I suggest a two-pronged strategy to help faculty embrace ‘openness’.

I joined a Micro MOOC this week, LOER12 [Learning Open Education Resources] and discovered that the scope of open education resources (OER) is far beyond what I imagined; the number of dedicated educators and researchers working worldwide to expand, promote, and collaborate to advance the OER movement is extensive. One such group Evidence Hub for Open Education aims to promote and build a community of educators globally that work on Open Education initiatives that collaborate and build a collective memory. One project currently underway is OER mapping of institutional initiatives, an effort to track OER projects worldwide, a starting point for coordinating research efforts. The research in ‘open is a worthy one. Educators working on this project are eager to move open education forward, enhance the impact it has on teaching and learning, and determine its effectiveness.

And there is progress with OER, as evidenced by institutions implementing OER initiatives, such as University of Michigan with its Open.Michigan, an initiative that encourages faculty and students to share their educational resources and research with the global learning community. In the government sector, numerous states in the U.S. see OER resources as an opportunity to lower costs in the cash strapped education system. In California, legislation was signed last month that will provide college students text books at no cost, by way of openly licensed digital textbooks in three higher education systems.

What does it mean to Educators?
But, what do open educational resources mean to educators and institutions who have yet to implement OER initiatives? Should we as educators, be involved in adopting OER, even make a concerted effort to do so? What about higher education institutions? Without hesitation, I say yes and yes. Open education resources are more than digital text books, they have the potential to provide quality, diverse, media-rich courses, content and/or research materials that have the potential to transform education. It’s helpful to view OER not as stand-alone components, but as part of a bigger picture. OER overlaps with MOOCs, with competency based learning with learning analytics and other initiatives emerging in higher education. All are part of the ‘open’ movement.

800px-Global_Open_Educational_Resources_Logo.svg‘Open’ as a  Movement
The open movement is influencing all aspects of education. MOOCs are examples of open learning, defined as an approach that seeks to remove all unnecessary barriers to learning. And then there is open source, software applications open for use and improvement, for example the learning platform Moodle. There’s open data and even open access which gives unrestricted access via the Internet to peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles. It’s one big happy family of open, that when working together, functions as a collaborative system. Open is changing how we educate, how learners learn and how instructors teach.

So back to the question, how can we encourage faculty, and educators to embrace open as a movement, including OER? I suggest a two-pronged approach.  First, for educators the concept of open needs to presented from a professional development standpoint— promoting OER ‘training’ as personal development that becomes part of the educator’s personal learning network. This is not all my idea, but advice from Stephen Downes, co-founder of the concept of the MOOC. In a post I published recently Why Tech Training for Faculty is a Waste of Time, I suggested that when training faculty in using the LMS platform Moodle, the focus should not be exclusive to the technical aspects, but include the why, and address pedagogical training. Stephen Downes commented suggesting that training of faculty be approached from a development perspective.

I think it [training in LMS] should be tied to learning. When I teach people about technology, my focus is on how they can use it for their own professional development. The application of that learning to the classroom will follow. (OlDaily, Downes, 2012)

Personal Learning Network
If an educator [or learner] views and uses open education materials as a means to enrich  their own personal learning, or to develop a skill set, or in the case of an instructor enhance his or her teaching, motivation is triggered. The educator then wants to learn how to use the resources, is motivated to search for content that meets his or her course needs. Furthermore, the educator will invest the time needed to find the resources, as he or she is vested and interested in learning. In a report released recently Growing the Curriculum: Open Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education (Allen & Seaman, 2012), several  barriers to adoption of OER were mentioned by faculty including, [lack of] time to learn and use OER (59%), and difficulty in searching. Though there is validity to these issues, in the bigger picture it is about the mindset of the individual and the institution.

Institutional Culture
The second critical part to increasing the adoption rate of open is consideration of the culture within the institution. The survey mentioned above listed ‘lack of support for non-local curriculum’ as another barrier. This speaks to the culture that the faculty works within, which must have the conditions necessary to support the adoption and implementation of OER. If the culture is open to change, conducive to experimenting and learning, to creating and sharing, the chances of success with the concept of open are increased. Though this is not to say that individuals cannot be champions of openness. It is possible, that champions can influence others, though alone they cannot change the entire culture of an institution without support from leadership.

Closing Thoughts
Times of change can create feelings of excitement, maybe even fear yet the rewards can be great. Adopting a culture of ‘openness’ requires a new mindset for teaching and learning. Incorporating OER as discussed here requires a different approach, one that supports educators in creating their own personal development, where each can determine how OER can be used to fit his or her own teaching and learning needs. Educators can become highly motivated through this kind of professional development, and combined with a supportive institutional culture, one that creates conditions for  learning in the open, a win-win situation ensues for students, instructors, the institution and the Community of Open Learning.

Photo Credits: Open, by opensourceway, Flickr, and Open Education Resources, by Jonathasmello, licensed under Creative Commons