Monday, December 3, 2018

AEA Online Learning Supports Iowa Digital Learning Plan: OER 

As many of you are aware, Iowa’s Digital Learning Plan is the result of a collaborative effort between the Iowa Department of Education (Department), Iowa’s Area Education Agencies (AEAs), Local Education Agencies (LEAs), the American Institute for Research (AIR) and many stakeholders. (See document here).

AEA Learning Online has many opportunities for districts to use in support of this Digital Learning Plan. The first we will discuss is how we support Open Educational Resources.

According to the IDLP,  schools should have available and use High-Quality Digital Learning Content. According to the plan “One effective way to provide high-quality digital learning materials at scale is through the use of openly licensed educational resources. These resources may be used, modified, and shared without paying any licensing fees or requesting permission.”

The IDLP mentions that the use of Open Licensed Educational Resources will help districts.  “There are advantages other than just cost savings. Openly licensed materials can be more accurate than traditional textbooks because they can be updated continually as content changes. Openly licensed materials also allow teachers to exercise their own creativity and expertise so they can tailor learning materials to meet the needs of their students.”  

“In addition to openness, the OER movement emphasizes collaboration and an ongoing process. When the curriculum is “closed”, it becomes static and unchanging. It is not easily adaptable and able to be changed at a moment’s notice. Teachers often used printed textbooks created by a publisher, a process that stifles the creativity and flexibility within the classroom. It also stifles the opportunities that teachers have to think reflectively about the curriculum in general.”

In an effort to bring all of the stakeholders and content for Iowa together, AEA Learning Online has purchased an OER Hub ( where teachers and even students can go.  As written in the IDLP “This hub pulls together national collections of OER content, as well as collections of content created by Iowa educators. The hub also supports a digital space that helps educators select, align, evaluate, adjust, and create educational resources. Districts or schools can create their own hub group space to support work big or small, be it curriculum development or PLC collaboration. AEAs and other statewide entities can support groups of teachers from multiple districts more easily, connecting teachers from across the state.”  “On the hub, AEA Learning Online supports several collections of OER. This includes our OLLIE e-curriculum for online pedagogy, as well collections of Iowa-teacher generated content for participants in our Blending/Flipping cohorts. In the future, additional collections of e-curriculum will be available through the hub platform.”

AEA Learning Online offers an OER self-paced course as professional development in support of this change in practice.  Teachers can take this course for 1 license renewal credit or take the sections for knowledge.  Found in the Teacher Training System ( “OER-Open Educational Resources (One License Renewal credit)” will take teachers through each of these learning modules:
OER Introduction
OER Passport: OER Overview
OER Passport: Creative Commons
OER Passport: Overview of OER Commons
OER Passport: Searching, Tagging and Saving OER Commons
OER Passport: Sharing and Evaluate OER Commons
OER Passport: Creating and Remixing OER Commons
OER Conclusion

If taken for no credit teachers can go through any of the above modules individually.

AEA Learning Online has also produced an OER Passport that can be used as a structure for districts or individuals to learn about OER.  This passport supports scaffolded learning and you can “stamp” your progression on trainings in the use and application of OER:

OER Primer
Join Up
Share Out
Get Published
Next Gen OER

If you have interest in any of the above learning opportunities for yourself or your staff, or would like copies of the OER Passport contact AEA Learning Online at  or Denise Krefting ( or Melissa Wicklund (

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