Wednesday, August 17, 2016

OER and Teacher Preparation Programs: Part 2

The first part of this follow-up to last week's post is directed at all of Minnesota's College of Education Deans, Education Dept. Chairs, and professors of education. I'll have some thoughts for those of you not in Minnesota, too, later. It's time for you all, the Minnesota College of Education Deans, Education Dept. Chairs, and professors of education to get involved in OER development, curation, revision, and masterfully teaching teachers how to use OER. The MPCC is finishing up the forty digital OER courses in grades 3-12 in Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science that are aligned to Minnesota Standards. Content and curriculum experts are needed to guide the revision of these courses in the years to come.

Here's the thing about OER  - they're never done. That's the beauty of it. The process of continuing to make the courses culturally relevant and up to date is ongoing. The requirement for ongoing revision of these courses is the opportunity for professors of education to put their names on curriculum that will likely be copied and revised by others in all fifty states and many other countries. What a deal? How else can professors of education get included as co-authors of subsequent revisions of curriculum that has a never ending life expectancy? What better way is there for them to allow their students to get involved with the curriculum they will be using in their teaching?

That process of continuing to make the courses culturally relevant and up to date is also what makes OER so attractive to K12 school districts. Sure, the districts will be realizing some immediate savings by not sending money to the coffers of the legacy text book publishers, but the real and ongoing benefit will be the fact that because K12 teachers will now own the content and can be as involved as they choose in its revision, teacher professional development is now authentically embedded in the teacher's everyday work in the classroom. Contributing to the revision of curriculum is reflection on and sharing of the best practice of each classroom.

 Another neat thing about Minnesota's College of Education Deans, Education Dept. Chairs, and professors of education getting involved in OER development, curation, revision, and masterfully teaching teachers how to use OER is that it solves the problem of how to get technology infused in higher ed teacher preparation programs. The seasoned, or not, professors can now be brought in as curriculum experts and not necessarily be asked to be technology experts or to fake liking technology. The expertise they've spent their careers developing is now uniquely relevant in cutting edge teaching and learning. That's a good thing for everybody.

Now, to those of you not in Minnesota, The MPCC courses are aligned to Minnesota standards, but revising them to fit your state's standards is just the task to ask of the College of Education Deans, Education Dept. Chairs, and professors of education in your state. The MPCC courses are Creative Commons licensed so they can be revised any way another state wants to do it. The Minnesota content is a great place to start. The education professor guided revision committees in other states will also undoubtedly add content and lessons that are pertinent to their states. And, we Minnesotans hope you'll share those lessons we've left out that will work in our state, too. Thank you, in advance.

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