Open Educational Resources (OERs) are freely available, openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing. OERs are part of the movement for open access to code, data, and information, and have the power to revolutionize how you teach.
If you’re new to OERs, a really great starter kit explaining the concept has been assembled by the folks at Edutopia, available here. They go over the terms used in OER discussions, such as explaining what “creative commons” licensing is, and introduce resource collections. More resources are also available from OERCommons and from the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER).
While WorldView Software’s programs are not OERs (they are copyrighted), they are still free to preview, which means that teachers can access the material — which is up-to-date, written by content-area experts, and has been correlated to state and national standards in social studies — and use it in the classroom or assign it individually to students. Because it’s software, it’s able to handle much more content than a regular print textbook, yet flexible enough to use as workbook for practice or enrichment.
Our business model depends on the value we add; where we make our money is from the ability to save responses (including computer-graded assessments) and to run reports on those responses, including aggregate reports for your class. This “back-office” action allows you to spend more time on customizing instruction for each student, reflecting on your own teaching process as you interpret the aggregate reports, and on deep research.
One other note: the more OERs you use, the more bandwidth you’ll need. If your school, library, or consortium doesn’t already apply for the e-rate for schools and libraries, definitely put the application deadline on the calendar for next year!
Preview WorldView Software’s programs for free at http://www.worldviewsoftware.com/preview/