Open Educational Resources (OE) is instructional tools that any individual can use, develop, and customize for teaching and learning. OER are generally available in the public domain or have an open intellectual property right that allows for free usage and redistribution. OER can be used in combination with content, software, videos, text, images, animation, sound, games and other resources to produce an interactive curriculum that incorporates the knowledge from various disciplines.
Open Educational Resources can be multimedia such as videos, podcasts and audio, visual presentation software, educational cartoons, 3D maps and images, websites, databases, software applications, and textbooks. On the other hand, OER can also be restricted to text only, usually in the form of textbooks and associated reading material. Examples include scientific journals, encyclopedias, textbooks on geology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, astronomy, and physiology. These texts and associated reading material can be freely available from libraries, colleges, universities and other educational institutions.
Open educational resources for classrooms include multimedia lessons, e-cards, video games, online collaborative applications, science experiments, digital learning tools and electronic resources such as computer software and electronic textbooks. Some of these can be freely available from libraries and other educational resources websites. However, most of these can only be legally accessed through subscription.
Some of the materials and contents from the open educational resources can be licensed under a Creative Commons license. There is a limitation, however, on the amount of copies that you can make and share. You may make one copy for your own use and the others for distribution and inclusion in web pages, podcasts, and other media. If you need permission to redistribute certain content, you need to obtain a commercial usage license instead of a general one.
You can also create printable PDF copies of certain educational content and resources from Open Culture. This website provides high-quality educational content. It also offers a book list, where you can find titles, authors, publishers, prices, and reviews of each title. If you are looking for a particular title, you can search using keywords or enter a keyword phrase in the search field. You will be provided with a list of books matching your search criteria.
When looking for a certain textbook that you think might be useful for your course, you can download a PDF copy of the textbook from Open Culture. This can be used in conjunction with your school’s library to make sure you have a ready source of the textbook. You can then make copies of all the textbooks you need for your course, which you can distribute to students, or put in the school library.
A number of online websites offer open educational resources, especially for teachers. For teachers, having access to a wide variety of free resources allows you to enhance your teaching skills without spending extra money on educational materials. Educational articles, reports, videos, blogs and other content can also be found from these websites. The Educational Information Institute (EI) is one good website to visit. Among the tools it offers are teacher resources, study guides, research aids, online classrooms, podcasts and audio books, among others.
Comparing the advantages and disadvantages of using the internet to purchase textbooks and other educational materials, there are several advantages, such as flexibility, cost effectiveness and the convenience of shopping from home or the comfort of your office. There are also some disadvantages, such as the absence of face-to-face interaction with a student or teacher. If you prefer to read by yourself, you will find that the advantage of the internet, at least, is the convenience of shopping for the books you want from your home computer. On the other hand, if you have children, you may consider using the local library as an alternative to buying the books you want. In essence, internet access helps us acquire the knowledge we need, but the degree to which we use this technology depends on how we use it.