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Open/Edu Continues
to Grow

Open Education Taking Whole Cities at a Time

Discouraged with the Texas State School Board, and their Indoctrination Curriculum, and the only available school books being erroneous (at best), El Paso schools knew they had to do something to protect their students. What? And How? were the issues though.

How could they supply, with the little budget they were given, materials, lessons and books for the whole city? Where would they get them? It really didn't look good. Even if they were willing to accept used books that were out of date, they couldn't find the quantity they needed in time. Then they discovered cK-12, an OpenEdu collective and repository. cK-12 supplied them with full curriculum, books, materials and a huge repository of lesson plans, all fully Core compliant. cK-12 also introduced them to the vast resources that OpenEdu could offer them, and showed them the level of development these resources offered.

All They Needed Was A Standard to Work From


If you are going to develop lessons for public schools, you want to develop to the largest audience as possible. Before Common Core, every state had a different system. Some didn't even really have true standards. All of these opponents to Common Core harp (erroneously) that CCSS wasn't tested -- What Was Five Years Ago? Nothing! it was all crap and changed all the time. It wasn't just different between states, in some areas it was different between School Districts! Chaos is what it was. OpenEdu couldn't help either -- since there were no Standards that were stable.

El Paso, TX is full OpenEdu now. This is exactly how to do it. This is why I was so excited three years ago when I learned about Common Core. Being an OpenSource guy, fully active through the nineties and the first decade, I knew as soon as there was a stable, standard shared by the states, the OpenSource community would dive in without hesitation. It was going to change everything. The quality of the materials and lessons would reach heights that private schools couldn't even afford. School books would be up to date all the time. Errors would be corrected at near instant rates.

The real advantage, I believed, was for the teachers. Watching several of my friends spend nearly every weekend, and many unpaid hours during the week, correcting papers and developing lessons for kids in their class who weren't "getting it", I knew this was the solution they were waiting for. Month after month they would pull out of their own pockets the cash to buy materials the school system couldn't afford. And yes, they were all willing to do the extra mile for the kids who didn't get the information presented by the regular methods -- hours on hours spent doing research for those kids, questing for methods of learning that might work for them

The rub though was Peer Reviews and Creating the actual lessons using the described methods. Always the high level of doubt too. Was this a good lesson? Had anyone actually used it in a live class? And who to talk to about application? No one, that's who.

And then there was the desire for Relent lesson, Current Event lessons. Like when Ebola hit Texas. There was a lot of fear being spread with that. All of my friends talked about wanting to do some lessons in class  about Ebola and epidemics, and pandemics, if for no other reason than to lower the fear level, but who had time to develop them from scratch? Reading those posts on my FaceBook, I jumped into the OpenEdu repositories. I'm not a teacher, I'm not an Educator. I can't develop these lessons for them even if I wanted to. But I can research, and check sources.

It took me less than an hour to find three, week-long lesson plans on Ebola, the differences between epidemics and pandemics, and one on how epidemics spread with some great materials on what viruses were, how they differed from bacteria, all with high-quality images. I found videos to watch, full books, class activities, science projects. I even found a lesson resource with some kick to it in the math area from Scholar Commons -- Incorporating Quantitative Reasoning in Common Core Courses: Mathematics for The Ghost Map -- a little advanced perhaps, but it was nice to see that even the Scholar Communities were getting into the OpenEdu.

Who made these? Was the information accurate? How could I know? Well, first off the development sources were pretty good. PBS's were from a group of Doctors Without Boarders who put together the epidemic lessons. The CDC put together one of the others. And then on many of the repository sites, you could find the same lessons, but also find comments from teachers, and moms and even students -- but also you could find actual peer reviews on the quality of the lesson and verification of the information. A whole community is out there.

Now, with everyone running the same standards, there are thousands of teachers to talk to across the Internet. There are Master Educators out there making some of these lessons. There are lessons on "How to write a Novel" Created by best-selling novelists! Teachers in about 30,000 school districts across the country use CK-12 content.

Teachers in about 30,000 school districts across the country, currently use CK-12 content. EngageNY.org has amazing materials, as well as videos which show you how all the math lessons work, if you decide to use them, as well as ... just check it out.. they have so much waiting for you that listing it would take days.

Homeschool moms have to love this stuff. Cost alone has to be saving them a fortune. Hell, they can put together a College Fund from what they are saving with material alone. And a whole world of teachers and moms to talk to as well?

This is where it is at. This is the real future of Education. No fed controls, No more budget cuts removing book budgets, no more second class learning materials.

Open Education Resources, K-12

Postsecondary OER
Anytime Learning
  • Coursera: the world’s best courses for free *
  • General Assembly: learn from experts on business, tech & design *
  • Udemy: online courses from expert teachers *
  • LearnZillion: great instructional resources for teachers *
  • edX: non-profit created by Harvard and MIT
  • Udacity: IT and coding nanodegrees
  • Canvas: open online courses #
  • MentorMob: education search engine
  • TED-Ed: create customized lessons around TED videos
Some High Caliber resources

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