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The trending librarian.


At the core of any Library Learning Commons is a mission to provide equitable, free access to quality, vetted resources that support a literate citizenry. In today's world, that mission cannot be realized without the appropriate digital content. Enter Open Educational Resources--or as most of you have seen it referred to in the literature--OER. As professionals with expertise in resource selection, meta-tagging, and organization, teacher librarians have a unique role and opportunity for leadership with this important initiative. The following provides an introduction to OER, Creative Commons licensing, the best sources for OER, the benefits and the challenges which they clearly present, and how teacher librarians can get involved.


The Open Educational Resources movement was introduced in 2001. As might be expected, higher education institutions first embraced it. Notably, M.I.T. introduced M.I.T. Courseware, which made 50 courses available to anyone free in 2002. In the past few years, K-12 districts have joined higher ed in making OER a short-term goal to replace outdated textbooks as well as less relevant instructional resources with materials available, openly-licensed and free through countless Open Content repositories. In addition, several high-profile vendors such as Follett and Amazon have begun providing access to the digital learning resources for K-12 educators.

Openly licensed educational resources can increase equity by providing all students, regardless of zip code, access to high quality learning materials that have the most up-to-date and relevant content.--Secretary John King (Office of Educational Technology Office, 2016).


Open Educational Resources (OER) are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes. According to The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Open Education "... is the simple and powerful idea that the world's knowledge is a public good and that technology in general and the Web in particular provide an extraordinary opportunity for everyone to share, use, and reuse knowledge. "Particularly important is the licensing of OER learning resources, which are based on Creative Commons.



Teacher librarians are well versed in copyright laws, specifically Fair Use. Commercially-produced content under Fair Use may be used for non-profit, limited to an educational setting; however, the resources cannot be altered or used for profit, permissions must be sought from individual copyright owners, and attribution is required. In contrast, most Open Educational Resources (OER) are published under Creative Commons License or are in the public domain. In practical terms, this means that educators may use, re-use, remix, and revise content under the least restrictive Creative Commons licensing available for most resources in Open Digital Content repositories. The result not only is budget-friendly but also makes local control of globally produced shared content possible. The promise OER brings is that, if curated and used properly, it supports educators striving to create a cost-effective learning environment that's interactive, dynamic, current, and relevant. Finally, the cost-savings of OER has often been touted as the answer to funding 1:1 digital learning initiatives while providing equitable access to quality information.


Creative Commons Licensing provides creators of content with a standardized, simple way to grant permission for their work to be shused, and even modified. The flexibility that is provided through Creative Commons also advances the mission to provide equitable access to quality instructional content. Finally, it is important to note that the least restrictive of licensing through Creative Commons is more adaptable and useful to educators and emphasizes the OPEN in OPEN DIGITAL CONTENT. There are several types of licensing available through Creative Commons but all provide more flexibility than standard copyright does. The following table summarizes the licensing attribution. For more information, visit the Creative Commons Licensing website.

Explore what is available through creative commons by searching https:// for Images (Flickr, Pixabay, Google Images), Videos (YouTube), Podcasts (SoundCloud) and more. Finally, explicitly teach students the concept of intellectual property through a hands-on experience of creating, publishing, and licensing their own work using Creative Commons licensing.


In the past year, K-12 schools spent $9 billion on textbooks. The availability of OER (openly-licensed works in the Commons) has surpassed one billion since 2015. Thirty seven states are now pursuing GoOpen initiatives making it more possible for districts to consider OER as an option to replace textbooks. Open Digital Content is not only cost-efficient in the short-term, it often stays current and provides longterm benefits. It can provide a muchneeded alignment of resources to new state and national standards, and, with Open Educational Resources, learning resources can be re-mixed and modified to support creativity and critical thinking and transform what students do with information from consumption to creation.


Teacher librarians currently provide services to their school community in resource selection, curation, organization through appropriate technology tools, and the instruction in the use of resources with all content areas as part of information literacy units. Traditionally, teacher librarians purchase subscriptions to databases that organize and provide access to students on reference materials, subject-specific periodicals, eBooks, nonfiction texts, and multimedia services. To augment purchased digital resources, teacher librarians also work with teachers to identify websites--trusted resources such as PBS, Discovery, and Library of Congress to name a few--which provide free content that needs to be selected, curated and made available through appropriate digital channels. In some cases, organizations that provide free content also make premium content available through a paid subscription. In all these cases, the materials are available through standard copyright laws. The good news for teacher librarians is that the same expertise with paid and free resources applies to Open Educational Resources, meaning that their leadership and support of OER initiatives in their schools and districts is critical.


The Office of Educational Technology in their #GoOpen website provides a downloadable report on steps for districts interested in pursuing a #GoOpen Plan. In the report, districts are encouraged to convene a team of educators including teacher librarians, to help with providing the needed expertise in vetting the quality, appropriateness and alignment of OER.

* Vet the quality of OER using the same criteria teacher librarians use to teach students how to evaluate websites. The process is to review resources for their Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose (CRAAP). CRAAP worksheets are useful to evaluate websites and are a good place to start vetting Open Educational Resources.

* Use specific criteria developed to ascertain the usefulness, alignment, and interactivity of OER. Use rubrics developed for OER. One great example is provided through Achieve--the rubric is available at: http://www. achieve. org/files/AchieveOERRubrics.pdf



Open Educational Resources exist in numerous platforms. The most popular are listed below and include such repositories as OpenEd, Gooru, CK-12, and many more. Each includes thousands of possible excellent instructional resources and their own platform for delivery of the content. Each district, after convening a team, should decide on one platform for delivery of instructional content made available through Open Content. Districts may use a variety of Learning Management Systems including Google Classroom, Edmodo, Schoology, and others. After a decision is made regarding which system is adopted for the district, then the teacher librarian, along with the GoOpen Team, should support teachers and students in the delivery and access of the resources. Using OER with Schoology, Google Apps, and other delivery tools requires technology skills on using the platform as well as the following:

* Knowing the Type of Digital Resource (File, Image, Video, Course Module) and how it is best delivered, including learning design for most effective student learning.

* Ability to organize the Content in an easily accessible structure whether for a single lesson, a tutorial, presentation, or a full course.

* Ability to use the Learning Management System to handle interactive features, files and assessments.

* The ability to continually review, reflect, and re-do units, lessons, and courses that use OER.


Most educators are unfamiliar with copyright, creative commons, vetting resources, and using technology to deliver and organize content. Teacher librarians are in a unique position to support colleagues by providing professional development on these topics. Workshops on OER should lead with the research-based pedagogical strategy to address a strategic district goal. As an example, a workshop related to inquiry-based learning might include a background and best practices related to inquiry-based learning, a discussion of specific curriculum topics that align to the practices, and then an exploration of the OER resources for lessons, assessments, videos, audio, and more to support the topic.


OER Commons

OER Commons was created by ISKME, the Institute for the Study of Knowledge, and provides hundreds of thousands of resources that are supported partly by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Feature highlights of OER Commons:

* Search filter by subject, education level, standard, format of digital resource, ratings, and licensing

* Includes tools to evaluate and align resources (Uses eQUIP Rubric)

* Align tool for each resource (crowd-sourced alignments)

* Share resources through Google Classroom as an assignment, announcement, or assessment

* Network dedicated to Primary Sources! Check out the OER Commons Primary Source Hub at https:// www. oercommons. org/hubs/primary_ source



Gooru provides:

* Full courses on a variety of lessons for K-12 educators

* A platform that is extremely valuable for blended learning, exploring sequenced resources

* Courses have a "Remix" button that allows any user to add, delete and modify content to meet individual educator needs.



* Provides the tools and resources to create K-12 FlexBooks (Flexible, Online Textbooks)


* Great access ... Flex Books can be accessed through Google Classroom, Edmodo, Schoology, Canvas, Blackboard, Nearpod, Windows 8, and through a Chrome Extension

* Customize courses, units or lessons--ability to add content through Word, Google Doc, or other modality

* Extensive library of STEM Teaching Resources includes simulations.



* OpenEd includes great collection of assessments, homework, videos and lesson plans

* Now integrates with all major learning management systems

* Includes Master Chart with assessments, exportable gradebook

* Provides top lessons, videos and resources by grade (top rated and most used featured)

There are many other sources for locating OER, too numerous for the educator beginning with OER. The sources provided above such as OER Commons also include resources from sites such as:

* Curriki

* Learning Registry

* PBS Learning Media

* EDSITEment

* Khan Academy

* Ted-ED Videos

In addition to the OER repositories listed above, large companies such as Amazon, Follett, Edmodo, Schoology, and Google Apps understand the importance and now are providing a platform to integrate with OER or a learning registry to search, locate, and deliver digital content. Finally, there is a small but growing number of state-based OERs.


Download the packet and follow directions in the report on implementing Open Educational Resources in your District--and #GoOpen. The link is located at: The steps for districts to take are detailed:

1. Set Goals

2. Organize a Team

3. Determine the Infrastructure

4. Ensure Quality

5. Design Professional Learning

If your school or district is interested but unsure about OER, convene a small study group to research and learn more about OER. In addition to studying the Office of Educational Technology report, take a MOOC course (Massive Open Online Course) such as "Enhancing Education through OER" available at https://www.edx. org/. Also, explore OER HUB which provides presentations, reports, research, datasets, infographics, and much more.


Office of Educational Technology. "Open Education--Office of Educational Technology. " Office of Educational Technology, n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2016. <>

"The roles of libraries and information professionals in Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives." Publications, 29 Jul. 2013. Web. 16 Sept. 2016. < uploads/2012/08/OER-Libraries-Survey-Report.pdf>


Reid Goldsborough: Author of Straight Talk about the Information Superhighway., http:// reidgold.

Sara Catherine Howard: Adjunct instructor, Department of Library Science, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville,

Fran Kompar: K-12 Coordinator for Library Media Services for Greenwich (CT) Public Schools. She serves as an Educational Consultant for the Fairfield County Regional Educational Service Center (R.E.S.C.), Cooperative Educational Services (C.E.S.). She is the recipient of the Connecticut Association for School Librarians (CASL) Administrator of the Year Award (2007) and the 2015 Hilda and John Jay Award from CASL for significant contribution to the Library Media profession. Twitter: @ fkompar, e-mail:

Debra Rachel: Nationally recognized leader of library advocacy; instructor at Antioch University, Seattle; recipient of the 2014 AASL Distinguished Service Award,

Kristin Fontichiaro: Teaches at the University of Michigan School of Information. She is the principal investigator of the Making in Michigan Libraries project (made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services RE-05-15-0021-15), serves as series editor for Cherry Lake Publishing's award-winning Makers as Innovators series, and is a judge for the U.S. Department of Education's 2016 CTE Makeover Challenge.

Annette Lamb: Senior Lecturer, Department of Library and Information Science, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, IN.

David Loertscher: Former editor of Teacher Librarian; professor, School of Library and Information Science, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA; president of Hi Willow Research and Publishing; and past president of the American Association of School Librarians.

Kathleen Odean: Librarian, speaker, and author of Great Books for Girls (revised 2002) and other guides. Rhode,

Betty Winslow: Media Center Director at Bowling Green Christian Academy, Bowling Green, OH.
License        Icon   Description

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Commons               the licensing they prefer. See licensing tool:
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                      the only icon dis- played with Creative Commons
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Share-         [??]   This is one of my favorite aspects of Creative
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Non-profit     [??]   Educators are accustomed to being granted ad-
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Title Annotation:RAISE THE VOLUME; Open Educational Resources
Author:Kompar, Fran
Publication:Teacher Librarian
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2016
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