free teaching materials
Open Education Europa, the European Commission’s online portal for education innovation, is running a photo contest to identify and spread best practices for using online resources and technology in the classroom.
We are looking for innovative and effective uses of OER that other teachers can learn from. The top-voted entries will advance to the judges’ panel, who will select a winner. The contest is open to primary and secondary school teachers.
What can you do?
Learn about free online resources
If you don’t already use online teaching materials, then this is the perfect time to start. Visit Open Education Europa to search and access hundreds of open resources. Here are some other excellent resource libraries we recommend:
- TES Connect – almost 700,000 free resources created and shared by other teachers
- E-Learning Tags - social bookmarking site for e-learning professionals to share remarkable content
- OER Commons – Over 50,000 OER tools for sharing curriculum with the world
See the innovative and ingenious ideas teachers have come up with
Check out these recent contest entries – you might see something you can use in your own class! Don’t forget to lend your expertise and vote for the ones you think are most interesting.
Submit your own idea for the chance to win an iPad
All you have to do is send us an image that shows your innovative use of technology and online content for learning purposes. You don’t have to be a tech wiz to take part – your creativity in using open resources is more important than what gadget you have.
The deadline to vote or enter is 15 December. This contest depends on the ideas and expertise of teachers like you. Adapting technology to the needs of students is a collective endeavour for educators across Europe and your input is valuable.
Amid the hype about open education disrupting the status quo of higher education, school-level teachers and learners have been assiduously creating, using, and sharing open educational resources for years.
Michael Shaw, Director of TES Pro from the Times Educational Supplement (TES), wrote a chapter in the recent ELIG/UNU book Openness and Education. He spoke with Open Education Europa about the need to recognize and include primary and secondary education in the open education movement.
“When I started writing the chapter for ELIG, I had no idea how angry I would get!” Shaw said. He pointed out that a lot of the discussion on open education is all about higher education, which does not do justice to the importance of school-level materials and educators. “Some of the school-level websites like TES Connect and the Khan Academy have as good engagement, if not better, than the university level platforms.”
TES Connect has almost 3 million registered users and over 700,000 free resources. In comparison, popular MOOC platform Coursera has just over 2 million members and iTunesU has over 500,000 resources. TES partners with Khan Academy, another pioneer in open education at the school level that records higher user figures than many of the major university-level open education websites.
TES Connect originated as a discussion forum for teachers on the TES magazine’s website. Many teachers used the forum to share materials, so a file-sharing platform was added to the website. The “Resource Bank” proved to be so popular that it was relaunched in 2008 as TES Connect with additional functionality for teachers to rate and comment on resources, along with social networking tools.
Shaw emphasized that open education is more than offering conventional closed education for free. “Wiley talked about the four elements of openness, two of them being remixing and reusing, and that’s what teachers on TES are doing.” Teachers using the platform can comment on content created by other teachers and suggest improvements. Even better, they can download the content, change it themselves, and then upload it again.
“Material is being shared by the teachers,” said Shaw. This type of collective knowledge creation and sharing is at the heart of open education, and it is a valuable approach to teachers and learners at any level.
The Virtual Science Hub (ViSH) has launched a competition to select the best eExcursions created on ViSH. ViSH is a collaborative social network for creating and sharing educational knowledge resources in HTML5. ViSH connects educational resources, and access to remote infrastructures and labs, directly with the classroom.
An eExcursion is an open educational resource that can contain images, objects (flash objects), videos, and/or live objects such as webcams or microscopes. Teachers, scientists and scientific organisations are especially encouraged to create excursions. For teachers, it’s an easy and versatile way to create innovative educational materials, and for scientists and researchers, it’s a platform to share their work with a school audience.
The two best eExcursions in each of the following categories will be selected: Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Environmental studies, Geography, Engineering, Humanities, Natural Science, Computer Science. The prizes are Amazon Vouchers of 400€ and 200€ in each category and other extra prizes like trips to Brussels.
The competition for best eExcursions is open to any registered ViSH user, and the deadline to enter is 20 November, 2013. More information about the competition is available on the ViSH website.
We are living in a consumer society. It is important that we understand how our actions as consumers can affect the market, the environment, and the world. Consumer Classroom is a website that provides teaching tools and opportunities for collaboration to improve consumer education in schools.
The website hosts a large collection of teaching resources which are organized by school subject (i.e. biology, art, etc.), theme (i.e. consumer rights, financial literacy) and type of resource. The resources come in diverse forms such as printable worksheets, serious games, and e-learning materials. Anyone can access these materials and registered members of the website can use or combine the materials to create their own lessons.
Registered members also benefit from a number of collaborative tools, such as a discussion forum and an experts' blog. Another exciting feature is the inter-school projects, which recently included an inter-school competition encouraging students from all over Europe to share their work.
The website is mainly for secondary school teachers in Europe, but it is open to any interested educators or organizations globally. It is available in all EU languages and the materials are adapted to students aged 12 to 18.
The objective of the ITdesk.info project is to provide free and open computer education to everyone. Computer and IT skills have become an absolute necessity in the modern economy and advances in knowledge transfer technology have made it easier for everyone to acquire these skills.
ITdesk.info is implemented by the Open Society for Idea Exchange (ODRAZI), a non-governmental organization from Zagreb that supports human rights, particularly the rights to education and access to information. ODRAZI was able to realize the project with the generous contributions of volunteers, allowing them to provide the published materials for free. The ITdesk.info project aims to actively promote the rights to education and access to information, and to raise public awareness of the expansion of the concept of literacy to include digital literacy.
Certain handbooks were submitted to Education and Teacher Training Agency in Croatia in order to be approved as additional teaching resources, for the school subject Computer Science and Technical Culture (taught from the 5th to 8th grades). The Agency approved the use of five publications (2 in Croatian and Serbian, one in Slovenian language) as official additional teaching resources in primary schools in Croatia.
- Design and redesign of programmes and modules
- Seven key steps, from aims and outcomes to documentation
- What do you need to know to plan or revise the course?
- What will the course do? Why is the course important?
- Contact, co-operation, action, feedback, work, aiming high, diversity
- Different subjects need different course shapes
- Good course design and operation boost satisfaction and success
- What should students be able to do with the course content?
- Assessment tasks check that learning outcomes are assessable
- Students learn by doing appropriate learning activities...
- ...and receiving much usable feedback from several sources
- Teaching has several functions in support of active learning
- Sources and principles for resources to support learning
- Active student learning can also make good use of staff time
- A clear course handbook cuts student confusion and questions
- What beliefs about learning does your course reveal?
- These approaches need persistence and courage
- University regulations for course design, documentation and approval