20+ Articles on Open Educational Resources, Advocacy & Free Textbooks

At the Fourth Annual Launch of the MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Lifelong Learning Competition this Thursday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “With efforts like this competition, we can encourage breakthroughs in the types of free, high-quality online Open Educational Resources that lift educational attainment rates and foster renewed economic growth.”
Open Education Resources (OERs) have been developing quickly in education today. Many have already jumped on the bandwagon to offer educational courses, videos, tools, lessons and more for free to anyone around the globe.
Below are more than 20 articles, websites, projects or other resources discussing OERs or free learning resources:

  1. Publishing company Pearson wants people to mash up its content, open sources API” on TNW
    This month, Pearson launched an initiative to make three of its datasets available to the public to inspire creatives to develop new products and uses of its content.
  2. State Initiatives Regarding Electronic or Open Source Textbooks” on Education Commission of the State
    This paper discusses the growing use of open textbooks among states including Arizona, Iowa, Tennessee, Virginia, and Texas. According to the article, in September 2009, “the National Association of State Boards of Education announced a $75,000 grant from the Flora Hewlett Foundation” to better accomodate OERs.
  3. Utah Open Textbook Project
    The Utah Open Textbook examines the learning and cost value of open textbooks in place of traditional textbooks in public high school science classrooms.
  4. Open Textbook Calculator on OpenContent.org
    This is a calculator that determines the cost savings found from using open textbooks based on research conducted in the Department of Instructional Psychology and Technology and the Center for Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling at Brigham Young University.
  5. Collaborative Statistics: Open Text Adoption at Bellingham Technical College” on College Open Textbook Community
    In this post, an educator talks about how she uses provides students with downloadable PDFs that they can download and use for her community college course. In addition, she creates online and open texts at little or no cost to students.
  6. Open-Access Textbooks and Financial Sustainability: A Case Study on Flat World Knowledge” on IRR ODL
    This research paper looks at way to cut costs on textbooks through free and open textbooks. The paper concludes that free textbooks or open textbooks have a huge potential to bring cost savings to students and organizations at the disruption of textbook industries.
  7. AUPress: A Comparison of an Open Access University Press with Traditional Presses” on Journal of Educational Technology & Society
    This research paper compares AUPress, an open access press, with other traditional, non-open presses at Canadian Universities. The paper concludes that while AUPress can reach a wider readership, there’s no significant difference in the rating of it and other presses.
  8. Flatworld Knowledge
    Flatworld knowledge is a website that offers books for free online and cheap ways to print texts, download audio books and more.
  9. CK-12 Flexbooks
    CK-12 Learning Center provides a Flexbook system, which houses free STEM textbooks and content that are open for customization and distribution.
  10. Open High School of Utah
    The Open High School of Utah is a student-centered school that provides instruction through innovative technology, service learning and personal responsibility. The school just recently offered 30 semesters of instruction free, online to anyone.
  11. HippoCampus
    HippoCampus, a project by the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE), provides free multimedia content on general education subjects to high school and college students for free.
  12. eNotes
    eNotes provides an online learning environment with high-quality educational content that is written by professionals and used by students, teachers, professors, and researchers.
  13. Digital Book Index
    The Digital Book Index, which supports the iPad, Kindle and Nook, provides a library of ebooks from major and historical writers.
  14. eReader Resources by ipl2
    eReader Resources provides great resources for ebooks, ereaders and other digital content for various devices by students, librarians, teachers and more.
  15. PBS LearningMedia
    PBS LearningMedia provides free, digital resources to educators to use in the classroom. The Discovery Channel and National Geographic also have great video databases for learning.
  16. Fupa
    Fupa provides free, online games for students and teachers that can be played directly on the website, embedded on your own site, played on a mobile device or played on Facebook.
  17. PE Central
    PE Central is a free resource and guide to providing adapted physical education.
  18. Online Learning and Training (OLAT)
    OLAT is an open and free resource for web-based and online learning. It’s management system helps teachers to create flexible course configuration and supports major educational standards.
  19. 9 Great Alternatives to Skype for VOIP and Video Chat” by Simon Mackie
    This article is a list of alternatives to Skype for video chatting that includes a review of tools like Google Voice, Vbuzzer, VoxOx, Viber, Grasshopper and 8×8 Virtual Office Pro/Solo.
  20. The Washington Declaration on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest” on InfoJustice.org
    This declaration is open to endorsement and comment from the public through August 2012.

For more, view “Mike Smith’s OER List” by Tom Vander Ark on edReformer.com. How are you or your schools benefiting from open education resources?

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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1 Comment

jim miller

OER movement is, unquestionably, at the forefront of academic transformation. And now with OERs themselves evolving their skeletons and improving their offerings and consequently their impact is far more prominent. Perhaps, their most significant impact has been enabling accessibility of educational opportunities to demographics that would otherwise have been deprived of them. Although it’s arguable to some, but a great impact they’ve had has been on the performance of students and teachers. In fact, some of them like CK12 (http://goo.gl/vgt4F) are essentially changing power balance in the educational ecosystem, empowering teachers/ students with flexibility to create and customize content based on their needs.


Sarah Cargill

Absolutely! Stay tuned on Getting Smart for our upcoming OER updates.

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