Administrators Should Adopt OERs Only After Careful Vetting
While open educational resources (OERs) are a fantastic well of lesson plans and materials that can benefit teachers and students alike, there remains a troublesome question about their use in schools – who exactly is vetting the information presented by these resources?
Because standards for open educational resources often do not align with the standards of school districts, state educational departments and the like, there is often dissonance between the information available and the information that will actually be useful for a school’s curriculum.
In order for open educational resources to truly be beneficial to teachers, administrators, and students, there needs to be a careful vetting process in order to ensure that the resources align with the educational aims of the institution adopting them.
The Perils Of Blindly Adopting Open Educational Resources
While open educational resources are definitely drawing plenty of support from administrators and teachers alike, there are plenty of potential pitfalls. Because there truly isn’t a central source who vets these materials before they hit the web, there’s no telling if the information provided is fully accurate or if it aligns with what needs to actually be taught.
There aren’t a lot of preexisting requirements for open educational resources to be published. No secondary vetting is truly required. Therefore, open educational resources could potential prove counterproductive and counter-intuitive.
There’s no telling if the information provided will align with the consistencies of a curriculum, or if the resources provided will align with state standards for educational materials. If an administrator blindly adopts these resources, they run the risk of sabotaging themselves and hurting their teaching aims.
In order for these resources to truly be useful, administrators must take an extra step or two to ensure that they are vetted properly.
Vet The Material To Ensure It Meets Standards And Guidelines
Before administrators adopt open educational resources for classroom use, it behooves them to take the time to carefully review the materials. The quality of open educational resources varies wildly, so it’s important to take this step to ensure quality educational materials (and those alone) are being provided to students.
This process takes a lot of time to work through. There are a ton of open educational resources out there. To combat this, there are catalogs of quality open educational resources out there such as OER Commons that have already done some of the parsing work.
Administrators must vet these materials with students in mind, ensuring that only information and educational resources that align with student needs are utilized. Taking this step is crucial to ensure that teaching efficacy is achieved and students are placed on the right paths to succeed.
Open educational resources are full of possibilities. There is a wealth of great information and lesson plans out there that could truly be beneficial for students around the globe. However, there is also a wealth of misinformation and bad resources, which may not be aligned with standards in certain districts and states.
Therefore, it’s essential for administrators to look over the OERs and comb through them before allowing for their adoption at the classroom level.