Back to school: A list of free educational materials

7 resources for open education materials

7 resources for open education materials
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Shrinking school budgets and growing interest in open content has created an increased demand for open educational resources. According to the FCC, "The U.S. spends more than $7 billion per year on K-12 textbooks, but too many students are still using books that are 7-10 years old, with outdated material." There is an alternative: openly licensed courseware. But where do you find this content and how can you share your own teaching and learning materials? This month I've rounded up a list of seven open educational resources for K-12 and higher education:

  1. OERCommons offers Open Author, which is platform agnostic and can be used to create media-rich documents simply by opening an account on the site. A lesson builder for K-12 content and a module builder designed specifically for higher education are also available on the site. Follow OERCommons on Twitter: @oercommons.
  2. National Science Digital Library (NSDL) is a free site where teachers and students can share lesson plans. Joining the National Science Digital Library is easy—simply become a member of OERCommons, a digital library and resource. Resources from preschool through adult education are available in 26 different resource types and 15 subject areas. Follow NSDL on Twitter: @nsdl.
  3. The CK-12 Foundation is a California-based nonprofit organization with a mission to reduce the cost of textbook materials for the K-12 market both in the U.S. and worldwide. Key benefits include: access to free textbooks; access to high-quality, educator-created content; support for publishing tools that make content creation easy; and licensing via Creative Commons CC BY-NC. CK-12 Foundation is providing us with the textbooks of the future, which are free, open, and remixable. Follow CK-12 on Twitter: @CK12Foundation.
  4. The Khan Academy site explains its mission as, "Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom." All material is openly licensed via the MIT Open License. Follow Khan Academy on Twitter: @khanacademy.
  5. The MIT Open Courseware site provides a web-based publication of virtually all of the 2,340 courses offered by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Follow MIT OCW on Twitter: @MITOCW.
  6. Merlot is a curated collection of free and open online resources for teaching, learning, and professional development in higher education. Content is licensed under Creative Commons CC NC-ND (with some exceptions noted). Merlot offers a free content builder for registered site users. Follow Merlot on Twitter: @MERLOTOrg.
  7. Saylor Academy provides free online courses and an Open Course Option pathway to a free Associate in Science in Business Administration degree. Follow them on Twitter: @saylordotorg.

What additions do you have for the list? Let me know about them in the comments.

 

About the author

Don Watkins - Educator, education technology specialist,  entrepreneur, open source advocate. M.A. in Educational Psychology, MSED in Educational Leadership, Linux system administrator, CCNA, virtualization using Virtual Box. Follow me at @Don_Watkins .