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District : Clark County School District

State : Nevada

Level : P-12

District Enrollment : 40,001+ students

Community Type : Suburban, Urban

Related Tags : #GoOpen, Digital content, Openly Licensed Educational Resources

Clark County School District: OER from a Development Perspective

Clark County (NV) School District (CCSD) is the fifth largest district in the nation, with over 318,000 students. CCSD was prompted to #GoOpen because the size of the district makes it cost prohibitive to purchase licensed software for mass distribution. With the goal of having 100,000 students in an online or blended learning environment, openly licensed educational resources (OER) allowed CCSD to develop high quality online secondary courses with interactive learning activities that engage and motivate students. Developers of the CCSD Innovative Learning Environments course look for proven organizations in the industry, that have high quality content and demonstrate longevity in the industry, so that they are assured of continued open access in the CCSD district-developed online courses. This small team of four teachers on special assignment, three college interns, and an administrator, with lots of subject matter experts throughout the district, is building a catalog of online courses for grades 6-12 that are freely available to all CCSD teachers.

There are no overly restrictive policies for OER use in CCSD, so teachers can look for what works and create their own curriculum with application and scaffolding that helps to explain what students are learning. Between curation of quality OER and teacher generated instruction in a digital landscape, CCSD teachers have quality resources to pick and choose from to create innovative learning environments for students.

CCSD views OER from a development perspective, complete with the importance of wrapping quality elements around a cohesive lesson plan and curriculum goals. In course development, the district discourages a playlist style. Listing resources, without other quality teaching elements is not good digital pedagogy. Online lessons should be written with components of effective lessons, from an opening hook, to pause and ponder points for video selections, and a lesson summative wrap-up, along with quality engaging instruction throughout.

Working with proven organizations in the industry that have high quality content and demonstrate longevity in the industry is important. When working with OER content that will be deployed face-to-face rather than online, it is important for teachers to check alignment with their own teaching style, classroom size, and access to materials. Some lesson plans on teacher-submitted sites may work for a particular teacher, but only because that is their teaching style or classroom arrangement. This type of OER material may have to be fine-tuned, and what may work in a traditional setting may not always work in a blended classroom or within an online classroom.

Using the Nevada Academic Content Standards and CCSD benchmarks, CCSD has developed a catalog of online courses, for grades 6-12, that are freely available to CCSD teachers to be used as fully online courses or within a traditional classroom as a digital instruction supplement for blended learning opportunities. The transition to openly-licensed educational materials has allowed access to blended learning options in their secondary schools, with no burden on the school budget. Using the district benchmarks and expectations, course developers curated quality openly licensed materials and framed modular units and lessons that classroom teachers can draw upon to engage students in digital learning. The ability to utilize the full course, or pick and choose units/lessons provides the ability to move into blended learning as students and teachers become comfortable with instruction led by digital content.

Some organizations limit access to content, unless you pay a premium for additional access. CCSD tends to stick strictly with fully open access content. Also, using a limited number of quality OER sites reduces student cognitive load. If students are accessing the same site repetitively over multiple lessons and subjects, the navigation will be consistent and potentially increase successful outcomes.

Additional Resources

From Clark County School District:

From the U.S. Department of Education:

Point of Contact

Kim Loomis

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