There’s a dynamic tension that often goes unexplored in the educational profession that shapes the work of teachers and the learning experience of our students. Educators have been repeatedly encouraged to transform their classrooms based on research, technological innovations and emerging practices. Meanwhile, the constraints of the accountability movement serve to narrow the curriculum, inhibit risk-taking and perpetuate a test-prep culture at the school or district level. The tension is real.
A couple months ago I was introduced to a movement in education that in many ways has existed for years. The open educational resource (OER) movement has gained momentum in recent years with an endorsement from the U.S. Department of Education. So what is OER you might be asking? The OER initiative consists of openly licensed educational resources “that can be used for teaching, learning, and assessment without cost. They can be modified and redistributed without violating copyright laws” (U.S. Department of Education, 2016).
Educators desire a learning environment that is respectful and engaging for students. This type of environment doesn’t develop by chance or hope, it’s the product of effective instruction and positive teacher-student relationships. Dr. Terry Scott, professor of human development at the University of Louisville, delivered the keynote address at this summer’s Missouri SW-PBS Summer Training Institute. His presentation was entitled, “Effective instruction: A critical analysis of our keys to student success.”