OpenEd Releases its First OER App

OpenEd opened its doors in 2012, and now they have over a million videos, games, and assessments aligned to Common Core standards.  Now the OpenEd creators have added a free mobile app to the iTunes and Android marketplaces that allows students to access courses and playlists that teachers have created in OpenEd.

Before we check out the app, let’s take a quick look at OpenEd.

OpenEd tauts that it is the most “open” of all the OER sites. Not only is its full catalog open, even its software is open.  The site itself can function as a lightweight “flipped classroom” LMS that’s focused on sharing resources with students. OpenEd, though, is truly agnostic in how you deliver content from the site. Content can go into whatever LMS you are using. OpenEd really sets itself apart from other OER sites with its number of assessments and games that it catalogs.

The OpenEd catalog of resources was built with the Common Core in mind from the ground up. Everything is standard’s based. Search for content by clicking on a standard, and then drill down to the standard group and then strand. Or just search by title, keyword, or grade level.  From there, you can create courses and playlists of content.

OpenEd content is aligned to more than just the Common Core. Here are the standards that they currently track:

  • Common Core Math
  • Common Core Language Arts
  • Common Core Literacy for History and the Sciences
  • Next Generation Science Standards
  • California History
  • New York Common Core Social Studies
  • National Geography standards

OpenEd also has many other standards grouped under development including National Science Education Standards and Council for Teachers of Mathematics
How does OpenEd get every resources aligned with a standard? From OpenEd . .

OpenEd uses a machine-learning based recommendation engine to align resources to standards. OpenEd also uses subject matter experts in both knowledge domains and the Common Core to validate those alignments. The approach of combining software and expert curation to product accurate alignments in volume is unique in the industry.

The OpenEd recommendation engine also suggests appropriate resources to teachers. The deep algorithmic approach to resource alignment is unique among open education repositories (OERs). OpenEd also offers an API to other ed tech developers: both to find resources in our catalog and to contribute resources. In a short time it has been adopted by many ed tech companies, driving more users to our site. It also insures that the site will keep lead as the largest K-12 resource catalog. The frontend of the site is itself [open source], as a demonstration of use of our API.

Let’s check out the app. You can find it on the iTunes store here:

This course is entitled “Thrilling 3rd Grade Science.” Teachers share a code with students to enroll them into the course. Students have access to videos, games, assessments, and other resources.

Videos play with great quality. You can see what standard each resource is aligned to in the upper right.
Videos play with great quality. You can see what standard each resource is aligned to in the upper right.

OpenEd also has OER assessments that students can take. Notice again the alignment to standards in the upper right.
OpenEd also has OER assessments that students can take. Notice again the alignment to standards in the upper right.

Chat with OpenEd

Anders Steele, an OpenEd spokesperson, answered a number of questions about OpenEd’s features and new app:

Are all the resources app ready? Or will some work best just on the PC or Mac?

The resources are mostly videos, and web-based games and assessments, and they will play on tablets just fine.

Do you have a direct path for districts or states that want to go complete with OER? Where should they start? Who should they contact?

For district or state-wide implementation, please contact [email protected].

Can educators contribute lessons?

Very soon – we are launching public courses in the next week and will be implementing more sharing functionality in the near future. Also, we will have resource upload soon, so teachers can upload resources. 

Can students create their own playlists if they’re gathering resources?

We are adding this to the student app soon based on feedback from others. Also, we have some more ‘advanced’ functionality coming in about a month.

Thanks for that, Anders. And we look forward to seeing those updates!

Adam Renfro

Adam was a classroom English teacher for ten years and began teaching online in 1998. He now works for the North Carolina Virtual Public School, the 2nd largest virtual school in the nation. Adam has blogged for Getting Smart since September of 2011.

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