Implementation of OER
In New York, the choice of instructional materials is a local decision. In Yonkers, the district provides instructional resources, including OER through Yonkers Online Quick Links, the district’s open and recommended digital resource area. It is designed to support easy access for students, staff and families. Individual schools select instructional materials based on instructional needs. Schools in Yonkers used various OER to achieve their instructional goals. Specifically, Palisades Preparatory School integrates OER for science and Cornell Academy implements EngageNY (OER developed by the state) for mathematics and language arts in grades K-6.
Palisades Preparatory School
Many teachers at Palisades Preparatory School teach in a blended learning environment. Science teacher, Alex Romero, utilizes digital content, including OER to engage students. Ms. Romero uses Moodle as the delivery platform for her science class and estimates that 75% of her instructional materials are digital. Students can access teacher created and student created content through the Moodle platform. Ms. Romero likes to combine virtual lab experiences with face-to-face hands on inquiry. Ms. Romero utilizes virtual labs from PhET, an OER that offers interactive science and math simulations. For example, students worked together to design a 3D model. As part of the lesson, students explained the steps on how to create the model and reported what they learned after using the simulation. Ms. Romero encourages students to “experience the interactive simulations and not memorize,” thus fostering 21st century skills.
Ms. Romero promotes student involvement in creating OER content as part of their learning experience. Students created their own tutorials using Jing, a free screencasting app, and shared these tutorials with their peers. Students also developed their own rubrics to evaluate projects and case studies.
“It is important for students to develop their own rubrics, so that they know what is being assessed and why”
– Alex Romero, Palisades Preparatory Science Teacher.
At the end of the school year, students evaluated the science course and made recommendations to Ms. Romero about lessons, including suggestions for modifying or deleting content.
Please watch this short video to hear directly from Ms. Romero and her students about teaching and learning in a digital learning environment.
Cornell Academy serves students in PreK-6 with a focus on English language development. At Cornell Academy technology is an integral part of enhancing student learning. Most classrooms have computers and an interactive whiteboard for instruction.
Recently, Cornell Academy started to use the EngageNY OER for math instruction. Teachers from Cornell Academy attended a district workshop to learn more about EngageNY. Over 70 educators from around the district attended this workshop and instructional leaders encouraged educators to pilot the EngageNY open content. In January 2014, Cornell teachers began implementing the EngageNY math curriculum in their classrooms. The pilot was successful based on both teacher and student feedback, and starting in September 2014, every math teacher in grades K-6 at Cornell Academy used EngageNY math open resources. According to Principal Beglane, “the teachers were the ones driving the change from the old instructional materials to use EngageNY.” Principal Beglane supports his teachers and encourages them to research and use the best instructional materials that they can find – in this case, EngageNY. One of the biggest improvements to EngageNY is the addition of new curriculum maps, which allow educators to quickly locate materials in either English Language Arts or Mathematics at any grade level.
In order to gain community understanding and support, Cornell hosted an open house for parents to review the math modules and every year teachers develop a glossary to send home to parents. In 2015, Cornell expanded its use of EngageNY to English language arts (ELA).
“With EngageNY, students are learning high order thinking skills and making connections to the real world, which all stakeholders want to see.”
– Ed Berglane, Principal, Cornell Academy