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Open Educational Resources (OERs)

Open educational resources (OERs) are defined by UNESCO as "teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium, digital or otherwise, that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation, and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions." Strengths of OERs include that they are flexible, cost-free, and easily shared.

Open Educational Resources: Designing for All Learners

By Andrew Hashey and Skip Stahl

This document has been designed to provide an overview of open educational resources (OERs) for elementary and secondary education personnel involved in the selection, acquisition, and/or use of instructional materials—general and special education teachers, administrators, assistive technology (AT) specialists, technology and curriculum coordinators, and creators of curriculum resources.

 

Technology

Equipment or system where principal function is creation, conversion, duplication, control, display, interchange, transmission, reception, or broadcast of data.

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The use of OERs in K–12 settings has grown significantly during the past few years: they offer little or no-cost curriculum resources, often aligned to college and career-ready standards, and many of them are customizable at the local district, school or classroom level. OERs use may present some challenges as well, ranging from editorial oversight to limited interoperability with student data and content management systems; nevertheless, these resources present an alternative to commercial products that many State and Local Education Agencies find attractive.

Local Education Agency (LEA)

Agency legally authorized to provide administrative control or direction of publically funded schools.

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