OER Commons Teacher Training Initiative

About the Project

This project is one of the 2010 WISE Awards finalists.

Starting in 2006, ISKME created OER Commons, a dynamic digital-content hub that offers a suite of OER implementation supports for providers and educators. The OER Commons infrastructure serves to meet the demand for custom, standardized evaluation criteria across curriculum at all levels, and supports ISKME’s role in incorporating OER engagement into educator professional learning. Released in 2013, Al-Masdar is a specific new collection in OER Commons, offering a rich source of resources and a community for Arabic language teachers. It is developed collaboratively by ISKME in partnership with The Center for Languages, Arts and Societies of the Silk Road (CLASSRoad). 

Context and Issue

An Open and adaptable curriculum is an innovative solution aimed at addressing inequity in education worldwide. Starting a decade ago, the global OER movement not only offers a more equitable, affordable solution for curriculum procurement but, importantly, advances teacher and student participation in learning and sharing through continuous improvement.

Engagement with OER is a key component of ISKME’s dynamic, participatory model for teaching and learning facilitated through OER Commons. By changing the role of teachers from consumers to producers, and by supporting continuous professional learning, ISKME’s OER Commons initiative can impact education practice and policy worldwide with an accessible, affordable solution.

Solution and Impact

ISKME brings deep expertise in knowledge-sharing across the education ecosystem and especially in all aspects of OER content creation and aggregation, educator engagement, teaching practice, and student learning. Since its first year, OER Commons has increased its online network membership by 1,000 percent and its resource collection tenfold. During the last six years, open education has emerged as an important force in the transformation of learning and of educational systems and business models, opening the door for large-scale OER adoption. ISKME sees the role of OER Commons, its digital library and curation, and toolset, including Open Author, as galvanizing widespread access, use, and sharing of standards-aligned, cross-disciplinary, and multi-level learning content for districts, states, and nations, including collections for Arabic-speaking region and settings.

The site has over 35,000 registered users, contains 50,000 resources, and averages 50,000 visits a month from 193 countries. In 2012, ISKME released Open Author, an integrated authoring environment, to support the creation and adaptation of multi-media-accessible OER and tools for aligning and evaluating resources. 

Since 2009, ISKME has trained over 5,000 teachers and curriculum specialists in 25 countries. Its training includes aspects that help instructors develop a “commons” mindset, to experience the benefits of open collaborative processes and build a collective knowledge base. To date, 4 million individuals have benefitted from this project. 

Future Developments

ISKME plans to continue to build new Arabic resource collections on OER Commons – while augmenting two existing collections – and offer training and support to educators, districts, and countries interested in advancing teacher practice in Arabic with OER. By leveraging ISKME’s model for resource curation and microsite development, combined with professional development training, it will offer OER services to schools, districts, colleges, other institutions or entire nations worldwide, ensuring continued financial viability. 

With the release of three significant tools, including Open Author, Quality Evaluation Tools, and Common Core Standards Alignment Tool, three significant microsites, including Al-Masdar, OER Commons Arabic, and OER Green, as well as the development of online and face-to-face training sessions, ISKME will be fostering new business and funding opportunities to support OER Commons in an ongoing and sustainable way in the US, through outreach to US and global regions, content providers, and teacher communities of practice.

April 26, 2010 (last update 12-22-2020)