‘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

How to Create Excellent Courses with Open Education Resources

What are Open Education Resources (OER)?  Where does one find open resources and under what conditions can educators use them? If you don’t have an answer to one or more of these questions, you are not alone. In fact you’re in good company. Thousands of educators across the United States, academic leaders and faculty, were surveyed for a study on open educational resources, Growing the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in Higher Education, (Allen & Seaman, 2012). Though respondents demonstrated a moderate level of awareness of OER, many were unclear on what even qualified as an open education resource. The uncertainty around OER is understandable given its newness, yet is a missed opportunity for educators.

In this post I’ll first define open educational resources and describe how educators can find and use high quality, robust content sources to enhance instruction. I am an avid user of OER. I frequently use OER materials as supplemental content to enhance the general education courses I develop with faculty for our institution’s online program. I’ve also used OER when creating enrichment programs for K-12 programming, and during research as a graduate student. There is a wealth of high quality content, available and accessible at our fingertips.

Definition of Open Education Resources (OER)
Open Educational Resources abbreviated as OER, are openly formatted and licensed documents and media accessed on the Web that are useful for teaching, learning, education, assessment and research that anyone can openly use and reuse, without charge. It’s not surprising many are confused about what OER really are, as this term is similar to open education, which refers to educational organizations that seek to eliminate barriers to entry. There is also open source, which generally refers to a [software] program or application where the source code is available to the public for use and/or modification from its original design.

The three terms all refer to distinct concepts, though the word ‘open’ is the operative word, but open does not have the same meaning as ‘free’. Open in these contexts’ refers to a level of collaboration, and is associated with an object, application or program that is accessible with few barriers. The level of ownership is also included in the term, where the creator [owner] is not working under a model of proprietorship but rather chooses the level of sharing he or she is comfortable with through a license. Usage guidelines are straightforward and I’ll review the different types in the next post.

OER Materials: Examples
OER can be video clips, interactive maps or timelines, e-textbooks, self-contained multi-media lesson units, and even complete courses. I use open resources as supplements to existing courses, and have eliminated the use of text books in two of our fifteen courses using OER. I’ll review two examples of open educational resources below, and conclude with where to find similar resources.

A screen shot of the DNA – Double Helix Game. Click the image go to the game.

1) The DNA Double Helix Game: This resource is used as a supplement to a module within a biology course. The game is used as an application activity, which students complete after they finish the assigned reading The Discovery of the Molecular Structure of DNA – The Double Helix. The game overview page provides information of what students need to know before beginning. The purpose of this activity is to reinforce key concepts by engaging the student in a low stakes activity (it is not graded, and can be completed as many times as the student chooses). This is an example of using an OER as a supplemental or even optional resource.

2)  World Literature: Bhagavad Gita. This resource is comprehensive, with numerous options for educational purposes. The first step to using any OER effectively is to identify the learning objectives of the specific unit or lesson. I will use a three-credit World Literature course that I am working on now for this example. I started by reviewing the instructional plan for this module, of which the Bhagavad Gita is one of the two topics. The objectives of the module [topic] are, 1) Identify three universal themes within the Bhagavad Gita, 2) Describe how the themes apply to current culture.

World Literature Resource from learner.org

Given there is much to choose from within this resource, I determine which content items will fit the needs, then select application activities, which will prompt the student to apply and use higher order thinking skills [which supports objective #2].  For our course, the student will read the Bhagavad Gita, watch a 20 minute prerecorded video of our professor discussing background of the story and introducing the themes. From this resource for content sources, we will 1) have students read the Background and Language sections under the READ tab, 2) review the timeline and map section under the EXPLORE tab, and 3) watch the slide show and listen to expert talk about each.

For the application activity, we want students to apply the content, use critical thinking skills and demonstrate they can meet the learning objectives for this module. For this module, there will be two activities, the first will be a graded discussion forum, where students will be required to respond to a question chosen from the Discussion Prompt section using two paragraphs. We will include one more activity, an assignment where the student will be required to describe and discuss the central themes, as well describing with examples how themes apply to today’s culture.

Where to Find OER
An excellent place to search for OER content is through OER commons, (I found the above sources through OER). It is platform that is open, you do not need to sign up to find content, but if you create an account you will be able to save content into personalized folders. There is a short learning curve to figuring out how to conduct a search. Though the site is easy to use, you can narrow the search by discipline, and grade level, primary, secondary and post-secondary.  Do be prepared to spend some time reviewing what your search turns up, there is a full and complete collection. Help is available through the OER help search tool. This video provides a quick overview of how to search using OER.

Conclusion
What meant to be a short overview, ended up being longer than I’d hoped. But learning how to use OER is important, and the time invested in learning how to incorporate open education resources is time well spent given the potential enhancements to student learning. In my next post I’ll review more options for sourcing OER, provide an overview of the restrictions so you can use OER with confidence, and discuss the potential barriers to using OER.

Resources and Related Reading
OER Commons, http://www.oercommons.org/
Babson Report on OER in US Higher Education, by Phil Hill, e-literate