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Navigating OER

by Sean Cavanagh

EdWeek Market Brief

Article excerpt

ACT Adds ‘Open’ Education Provider to Its Portfolio

K-12 officials have shown a growing appetite for open materials. Critics, including some commercial content providers, cast doubt on the quality of open resources, and say that the process of curating them heaps a burden on educators.

Our take

Navigating the OER Landscape: What’s Really Open?

Our Take: Open educational resources (OER) are drawing a lot of attention, interest and demand among K-12, and higher ed, instructors. There’s debate though about what, exactly, “open ed” means as this article–and its updates driven by reader comment–reveal. There are plenty of players entering the OER space—ACT and Amazon among them. However, as one commenter pointed out, not all OER is truly “open.” This may create issues related to piracy and plagiarism. Is your school system aware of both the potential and the risks related to these resources?

Not all content is created equal, and not all content is truly “open,” or free. These are the two primary challenges that educators face when navigating the world of OER—quality and cost. ACT Inc.’s recent announcement that it has acquired OpenEd may lend some credibility and clout to the organization which makes a variety of resources available. Wherever classroom materials come from, however, it’s important to understand what’s “open” and what may not be. And, of course, there continues to be a place for both traditional and digital content in the classroom.