When traveling to education trade shows this year, we visited with many educators about our READynamic software. This tool offers an online reading environment, combined with the ability to add supplemental resources into the digital book, so that students have a more exciting and diverse experience. One of the common questions that came up was, “will I be able to use Open Educational Resources (OERs) in READynamic?” I wanted to take a good long look at OER content before I gave a response to potential users.
Open Educational Resources are digital teaching and learning materials that can be freely used and reused at no cost, and without permission. It is an initiative that is intended to open up learning opportunities and a provide high quality education – without having a concern about cost and access. It also gives educators, writers, and others a chance to participate in something bigger. One library of tools is available through OER Commons, an organization that offers access to hundreds of thousands of resources for instructors.
One of the great things about READynamic is the ability to use and incorporate a huge variety of digital content. The easy OER material, like textbooks in PDF or EPUB formats, can be incorporated and used inside of READynamic without a second thought (in fact, we have tested a wide variety of digital textbooks to confirm formatting and usability). But, it’s the other content like videos, images, quizzes, and URL links that can really bring a book to life for students, and is a huge component of READynamic. The great news is this OER content can also be incorporated into the text of a book.
Let’s take a look. I can take a textbook on modern US history and add a YouTube video into the chapter on the Cuban Missile Crisis about JFK’s debate with his advisors on the various strategies and potential outcome. I can add a vocabulary quiz into the text, which is immediately graded, and add images of all the key stakeholders in the crisis. I can also interject comments and short answer questions so that as a teacher, I am making the text of the book more exciting for the student.
So, the answer is yes, we are excited to say that OER content is supported in READynamic, and can be used in a wide variety of ways to enhance learning while providing free resources to teachers and students.