Free online resources increasingly popular as classroom supplements
- One Tennessee district has created its own free online educational resources — namely, digital math and social studies textbooks accessible from various devices.
- The digital texts were made using free online curriculum resources exclusively, according to District Administration.
- There are also resources for parents online, including simulations and videos, enabling them to brush up on math and other subjects to better help kids with homework.
When using Open Educational Resources (OER), it's important, just as with any ed tech, to make sure that teachers have the proper training first. It's also important for districts to clarify their needs and expectations, as Barbara Soots, OER program manager in Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, told District Administration. That way, many problems can be pre-emptively avoided.
The U.S. Department of Education’s #GoOpen campaign and OER advisor Andrew Marcinek have encouraged some schools to cut back on textbook use, opting instead for the utilization of more digital resources. But the trend has been slow to catch on. Some teachers are unaware of OER, with a recent national survey finding that 75% of 2,000 educators were clueless about such resources and how to use them.