505 Week 3 Blog post
This week I decided to have a look through some of the OER’s that Alec posted and decide which one’s would be most useful in an elementary school setting.
Connexions – I had a hard time navigating this site. There is certainly a lot of material here, but I found it hard to narrow down my search terms enough to find it. It would make life much easier to navigate if they had designated categories that one could place their content into. As it stands, I need to search “grade five”, “grade 5”, “5th grade” etc. trying to find the resources. Certainly lots of potential, but not sure if I would come back to it.
OER Commons – MUCH BETTER! You can customize your search not only by grade level, but also on the type of media, conditions of use, and material. Very easy to use, and offers options to rate and save content within your OER profile. I can see myself using this in the future.
Archive.org – A real modgepodge of content. In my grade 5 math resources search I turned up this amazing punk rock song “System of Inequalities”, which was neat, but not necessarily that useful. I honestly can’t see myself using this as it requires too much time to sift through the disorientingly high range and quality of content that each search result produces.
Jorum – Hard to navigate the search function, and the three categories of “Further Education”, “Higher Education”, and “Resource” do not leave me hopeful in finding anything that may be useful in an elementary classroom. The only thing I could find was an interactive addition worksheet created in Microsoft Word. Not very encouraging.
Top Online Courses – Looks interesting for university courses, but not meeting the goals of this investigation.
Merlot – I found this site very frustrating to use. Did not like the layout and the content is mostly geared towards upper level courses.
Open CourseWare Consortium – Higher Education institutions. Seems like a well laid out site, and I like the fact that you can search by languages as well.
CK12 Foundation – After a couple higher level sites, its nice to be back on one that features primary resources again. It does not break content down into grade level, but rather organizers everything around bite sized concepts. They do a great job of organizing content so that each module builds off of the preceding one, and each module contains a number of study aids, assessments, linked resources, assessments and reading materials. I was very impressed with this site.
Curriki – Found this site very useful. Multiple ways to rate content. Resources are searchable by grade, type, language and media. I spent quite a bit of time browsing through the topped linked materials, and they were all very useful. I can see myself using this site a lot in the future.
Khan Academy – I like how the site is laid out, and I like how each concept is its own discreet video. I can’t see myself using this much in a face to face classroom environment, but it would be very useful in a home setting to either reinforce or enrich concepts taught in the classroom. I find he speaks too quickly for me, but I guess one has the luxury of pausing and rewinding with this form of content delivery. I also really like that you can ask questions if you are unsure of a concept underneath each video.
Lab Space – Higher education resources, not useful for my purposes. Found the layout somewhat confusing.
Open Learn – Higher education. Preferred the layout, and some interesting videos. May not use it in my current practice, but would like to spend some more time exploring.
Ted Ed – Really cool site. I can see myself using this to spark in class discussions and offer introductions to new units with my classes. My favourite area is the “Flip” section in which educators take videos and design lessons around them, including multiple choice and discussion questions, as well as links to further resources.
Wiki Educator – some interesting resources here, some areas are quite detailed, while others are almost non existent. As with all wikis, depends on the activeness of the community. Lots of potential, hopefully the primary section gets filled out a bit more in the future.
All in all, I found OER Commons, CK12 Foundation, and Curriki to be the most useful in finding and designing content for my lessons. Khan Academy and Ted Ed are both great resources for scaffolding student’s learning, and I can also see myself using both in the future. During this review I was amazed at how much content is currently available to us online. I know that I will be going back to these sites soon to take a longer look around and look into the finer details of what they are offering both teachers and students.