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Friday, March 23, 2018

Louisiana Finds Way to Deliver Good OER

While open educational resources (OER) are often touted as an important step in keeping the cost of course materials in line, finding quality materials can be a problem, especially for K-12 instruction. Teachers surfing the web for individual lesson plans is not really an ideal way to deliver excellent content.

“There’s more bad OER out there than good; that’s a fact,” Rebecca Kockler, assistant superintendent of academic instruction for Louisiana, said during a panel discussion at the recent SXSWedu conference. “We need to find the quality stuff and elevate it for everyone.”

The Louisiana Department of Education has taken a positive step in the right direction by making integrated curriculum available on its website. The content is aligned with the state’s core standards and adaptable to the needs of individual students, providing teachers with more time to just teach.

The Louisiana approach also couples professional development for teachers with the sharing of best practices and curricula, and it’s paying dividends. A 2017 study found record growth in the high-school graduation rate and the rate of college attendance. In addition, the research noted that state fourth-graders had the highest learning gains in the nation in a national reading assessment test in 2015.

“Using OER wasn’t our goal,” Kockler said. “Quality was our goal.

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