Why $$$ Textbooks? Why "canned" digital curriculum?
As we move to a more digital environment in education, why are we still hanging onto old outdated textbooks? Why are we spending our limited funds on buying textbooks that become outdated before they are published? Why do we invest 10s of thousands of dollars on canned curriculum- which may well be digital, but is limiting- both in scope and content as well as limiting as far as UDL lessons go. If all lessons are delivered by the mini lesson, the reading, and a quick assignment, how does that address the needs of all of our learners? Multiple means of expression? Action? Representation?
OER or Open Education Resources are getting better and better, and more ubiquitous all the time. Studies have shown that students learn just as well from free resources as from costly resources. One OER report states that “Results indicated that although costs were substantially lower, student learning outcomes and perceptions of quality were similar or better with an open-source textbook.”
Today more and more states, as well as even the US Congress are allocating money for OER resources for higher ed. This will go a long way to help level the playing field for students who cannot afford to buy textbooks. For example: The FY18 omnibus appropriations bill was signed into law on March 23, 2018, including the $5 million open textbook grant program. "This marks the first major investment by Congress explicitly in open educational resources (OER) as a solution to the high cost of college textbooks, and underscores that course materials are a significant factor in making higher education affordable." Both VA and CO recently enacted legislation to either require all public higher education institutions in the state to take steps to adopt open educational resources or to study these proposals. If it's good enough for higher ed, perhaps those of us in K-12 could benefit as well.
Where can you get more information, find resources for your class? Check out New America's resources to get started. Make the Leap!
Make the Leap!
Ideas to check out
OK Go Sandbox
I'm sure that many of you have seen the OK Go videos in the past, but now they are actively helping teachers and students with science and math! Check it out here.
ClapMotion: Make stop motion animations by clapping your hands
VoiceInVoice: Use Speech to Text on any web page. This one comes from dictanote and seems to have about the same accuracy as Voice typing in docs, but is not tied to Googley stuff and can be used on any page.
For Littles...and their teachers
I love the new book by Christine Pinto- Google Apps For Littles, filled with great ideas that you can use tomorrow. For those in my school- I have a copy that you can borrow. Christine has an excellent blog with templates you can use and lots of #GAfE4Littles ideas. You can follow her on Twitter @PintoBeanz11 and find new ideas just about every day or follow the #GAf4Littles hashtag or the #InnovatingPlay #SlowFlipChat hashtags.
STEM for Littles
There are so many wonderful STEM sites online for young children. Sesame Street offers a STEM toolkit that you may find useful. I continually check STEAM Powered Family VivifySTEM and more. Although many of these sites seem to be connected to a TPT store, keep looking and you will probably find the same/similar resources freely shared.