There’s a lot of information out there on the interwebs. (See also: understatement of the year). Among all of that information, there’s good stuff and lousy stuff, and among it, lots of stuff that you can use in your classroom assignments and activities, right? These are Open Educational Resources (OER), a buzzword of sorts that we’ve been seeing a lot of these days. But how do you know what’s ok to use, adapt, and build upon for your exact needs and what isn’t? We’ve looked before at how to find openly licensed education resources and have listed a whole bunch of different resources, but we wanted to take a look at some of the biggest and best that are sharing their stuff.
These days, I often feel like there are a lot of companies out there who are trying to monetize everything possible, with the goal of making as many buttloads of money as they can. Taking a look at the resources below is a good reminder that resource sharing is for everyone – not just small name, newer companies or groups who are trying to get their name out there and their hooks in people so that they can buy something later. These have a lot to offer!
Khan Academy sounds like old news in the edtech world, doesn’t it? We’ve talked about it before (and we’re certainly not the only ones!) but consider this: Khan Academy offers over 3,000 educational videos covering an extremely wide range of topics. Math and science topics are particularly well represented on the site, but it also offers videos on things like finance and economics, humanities, computer science, test prep (like SAT, GRE, etc), and even animation! The video tutorials bring an overview of the topic at hand, and they even offer a section of the site where you can practice many types of skills. The site checks your answer, offers you hints, and makes suggestions for things you should review. All for free.
MIT OpenCourseWare was one of the first (big) universities to begin offering its course materials online (they started in 2004). Currently, they’re averaging about a million visitors per month, from users across the globe, and many of the courses have been translated (into Chinese, Spanish, Portugese, Thai, Persian, Turkish, and Korean). According to their site statistics (which they offer on the site for your viewing pleasure), only about 9% of the users are educators, though 96% of those educators say that the site helps them improve their own courses. The most popular courses are (unsurprisingly) math and computer science courses, though they offer a lot more than just that.
Haven’t heard of Bloomsbury? I’m willing to bet you actually have, since they are the Publishers of Harry Potter, and I’ve yet to meet someone other than my mother who hasn’t read the series or at least watched the movies (Hi, Mom!). But they’re way more than Harry Potter – they publish a whole lot of academic research, much of which is available for free on their website. You can also opt to purchase either a printed or electronic copy if you choose/need.