Open educational resources (OER) are a great way for teachers to make use of digital content in the classroom. Open educational resources are teaching and learning materials that are freely available online for everyone to use and can be remixed, revised, and redistributed. According to Project Tomorrow’s 2014 Speak Up Survey, 65% of school librarians say access to a collection of vetted, grade-level, content specific resources would be most effective in helping teachers better use digital content in their classroom. And, over 70% of teachers consider free content as the most important factor when evaluating the quality of content to use in their classroom. Teachers also want the ability to curate and modify the digital content they use in their classroom.

To address these important digital content needs, we are committed to providing seamless access to a world of open educational resources (OER) within our solutions. We developed Blackboard Open Content (previously known as xpLor), a cross platform, cloud-based, global learning object repository, to provide educators with direct access to a universe of learning content. Teachers can discover, create, and curate learning objects and share them within their district or across the globe. All OER content can be aligned to Common Core Standards within Blackboard Open Content so searching, using, and selecting digital content can easily help students master competencies.

We have also partnered with the best K-12 OER digital content providers, CK-12 Foundation, Curriculum Pathways, and Khan Academy, to save teachers time and bring districts digital content that is interactive and engaging for students.

CK-12 Foundation

The CK-12 Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides full curriculum coverage for K-12 math and science. All of their OER digital content is aligned to Common Core and State Standards. CK-12 is used by students and teachers in over 30,000 schools and provides a full array of learning solutions – from 100,000+ teacher created digital textbooks, tests, and concepts that are fully customizable, to highly interactive content like simulations and PLIX (interactives to explore). Furthermore, CK-12 content is 100% free for students, teachers and schools and is now available in our personalized learning solutions through Blackboard Open Content.

Curriculum Pathways

Curriculum Pathways provides interactive, standards-based tools, resources and apps for grades K-12. Curriculum Pathways encourages students to learn from doing, seeing and listening. Their state and common core standards content can also be differentiated to meet varied needs and technology capabilities. Curriculum Pathways provides learner-centered activities with measurable outcomes and targets higher-order thinking skills. Within Blackboard Open Content, 1,250+ interactive, standards-based tools, resources and apps from Curriculum Pathways are available at no cost.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organization created in 2006 by educator Salman Khan to provide, “A free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” The organization produces micro lectures in the form of YouTube videos. In addition to micro lectures, the organization’s website features practice exercises and tools for educators. All resources are available for free to anyone around the world. Khan Academy OER is another great example of free, high quality, digital content seamlessly available to our K-12 clients through Blackboard Open Content.

Finally, the world of open education resources would not be complete without considering user-generated content. With Blackboard Open Content, teachers can create, share and collaborate on learning objects with colleagues within their district or across the globe. Intuitive authoring tools enable teachers to easily create, edit and align standards to learning materials within the repository, all through their LMS. Teachers can easily share content globally or with select groups and “publish” digital content into channels for others to find and use with conditions they define. But sharing doesn’t mean giving away rights. Blackboard Open Content provides built-in copyright controls so districts can use the Creative Commons copyright, which is recognized around the world, with their learning materials. Blackboard Open Content will help districts enforce those rights, so their content is protected.

Blackboard Open Content has over 100,000 OER resources and serves more than 8,500 teachers from 850 unique organizations that educate roughly 4.2 million learners. It has been leveraged on six continents and nearly 60 countries.

To learn more about our commitment to Open Education Resources, the benefits of Blackboard Open Content, and our OER partners, view a presentation titled, “Accessible Open Educational Resources in K-12” with Brent Mundy, Director of Blackboard Product Management, and Jeannine Richardson, Blackboard Solutions Engineering Manager.

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