Posts Tagged "OER"

New Review: Illustrative Mathematics

[Source: Illustrative Mathematics]

[Source: Illustrative Mathematics]

Illustrative Mathematics (IM) is a supplemental, open educational resource (OER) that supports the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM) in grades K-12. The program is available online and includes sample problems, curriculum modules, and professional development resources. Materials are available at no cost at Learning List recently reviewed IM content for middle school (i.e., grades 6-8).

IM content is organized by CCSSM domain (e.g., Geometry), cluster (e.g., “Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, surface area, and volume.”), and standard (e.g., “Find the area of right triangles, other triangles, special quadrilaterals, and polygons by…”). For each standard, the program provides a set of printable “learning tasks,” or multi-step problems. Each learning task is accompanied by a “Commentary,” a detailed narrative description of the solution, and a comments section. The Commentary explains the problem, its purpose, and different strategies students may use to solve it.  The solutions narrative provides step-by-step guidance in reaching the problem’s solution. The comments section allows users to add their feedback and suggestions.

“Course Blueprints” for grades 6-8 were “Under construction!” at the time of our review (July 2016); Course Blueprints available at the high school level are curriculum modules organized in units with diagnostic pre-tests and summative assessments. Additional instructional materials and professional development modules are available for purchase on the IM website.

About Illustrative Mathematics*

IM is a discerning community of educators dedicated to the coherent learning of mathematics. Founded in 2011 at the University of Arizona, IM has operated since 2013 as an independent 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. IM shares carefully vetted resources for teachers and teacher leaders to give our children an understanding of mathematics and skill in using it. IM provides expert guidance to states, districts, curriculum writers, and assessment writers working to improve mathematics education.

* The content in this section is provided by or adapted from Illustrative Mathematics

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New Review: OpenStax College’s College Physics for AP Courses


[Source: OpenStax College]

Learning List recently reviewed OpenStax College’s College Physics for AP Courses, which is a comprehensive, open education resource (OER) resource that supports Advanced Placement (AP) physics instruction at the high school level. Instruction covers two college semesters and addresses the content for AP Physics 1 and 2. The course is available online at no cost (; low-cost print and eBooks are also available.

The first half of College Physics for AP Courses covers material for AP Physics 1, including kinematics, Newton’s laws, motion, force, energy, oscillating motion and waves, electricity and currents. The second half addresses AP Physics 2, including fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, optics, quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics. Instruction is organized in terms of physics concepts and begins with detailed definitions of terminology and explanations of concepts. As lessons progress, students learn how concepts are relevant to real-world phenomena. Frequent example problems frame how concepts can be used to understand and solve every day problems (e.g., What acceleration can a person produce when pushing a lawn mower?). Example problems provide step-by-step guidance in identifying mathematical solutions and detailed discussions of problem-solving strategies. The text provides frequent opportunities for students to apply what they have learned and check their understanding using problems presented in textboxes (e.g., “Applying the Science Practices” and “Check Your Understanding”). Other textboxes highlight formulas, note important and/or interesting information, and identify frequent misconceptions.

College Physics for AP Courses is an open-source resource that encourages science educators to submit new information and course material to ensure instruction is accurate, up-to-date, and relevant to students’ lives. Content is math dependent; students will need a strong understanding of concepts in algebra and statistics in order to be successful. The course does not include a laboratory component, so a separate laboratory manual will be needed in order to fully address the AP Science Practices.

About OpenStax College*

OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. Through partnerships with companies and foundations committed to reducing costs for students, OpenStax College is working to improve access to higher education for all. OpenStax College is an initiative of Rice University and is made possible through the generous support of several philanthropic foundations.

*The content in this section is provided by or adapted from OpenStax College.

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Reviews: Khan Academy K-12 Mathematics

Khan Academy provides supplemental open educational resources to support mathematics instruction in grades K-12. The self-paced is freely available online and addresses the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) at each grade level. Content is presented through video demonstrations and practice problems. Content is presented in “Missions” organized in terms of CCSS domains for each grade level. Missions are personalized lessons that provide instruction targeted to each student’s learning level.  

khan_academyStudents complete a diagnostic “Mission Warm-up” prior to beginning work. The Warm-up assesses students’ knowledge of the concepts and skills included in the domain.Khan’s adaptive software uses Warm-up results to recommend an individualized pathway through grade-level content. Direct instruction is presented in short video tutorials (i.e., 5 to 20 minutes) that address specific skills or concepts (e.g., linear inequalities). Videos are presented using colorful black and whiteboard demonstrations with voiceover narration.

Instruction includes “Practice Tasks” and “Challenges.” Practice Tasks address a specific skill and include a personalized goal for each student. Goals vary, but most require that students correctly answer five questions in a row. Students earn “Energy Points” and “Badges.” Energy Points are awarded for watching videos, completing practice problems, and for achieving short-term goals (e.g., correctly answering five questions in a row). Badges are awarded for reaching longer-term goals, such as “Achieving mastery in 7 unique skills.”

About Khan Academy*

Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. Khan Academy tackles math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. They’ve partnered with institutions like NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content.

*The content in this section is provided by or adapted from Khan Academy.

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Review: CK-12 Math Concepts


[Source: CK-12]

The CK-12 Foundation’s Math Concepts is a series of comprehensive courses for middle school and high school students that are available free online. CK-12’s open-source digital textbooks, or “FlexBooks,” provide multimodal instruction that integrates textual information, video lectures, and online tools to support different learning styles. The series of Math FlexBooks cover middle school content and high school courses in Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and Precalculus. FlexBooks may be accessed in ePub and Amazon Kindle formats, and may be downloaded as PDFs.

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 9.12.28 PM

[Source: CK-12]

CK-12’s Math Concepts
presents skill-based instruction. Chapters are organized in terms of key concepts and follow a logical sequence in which content builds across chapters. Each chapter is broken into short sections and includes an interactive outline with links to each section. Each section includes: (1) one or more embedded video tutorials that provide direct instruction in key content, (2) examples that provide step-by-step guidance in solving problems, and (3) sets of independent practice problems that closely mirror examples.

Video tutorials are presented as interactive whiteboard lessons with accompanying narration. Each chapter section includes problem sets that allow students to practice skills covered and each chapter concludes with a brief summary and a set of review problems. CK-12 does not include assessments, answer keys, or rubrics to support the evaluation of student work.

About CK-12*

The CK-12 Foundation was founded with the mission to enable everyone to learn in his or her own way. We pair high quality content with the latest technologies. We equip students, teachers, and parents with everything they need. For free.

*The content in this section is provided by or adapted from CK-12.

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New Reviews: LearnZillion’s (OER) Mathematics [Grades 2-12]

[Source: LearnZillion]

[Source: LearnZillion]

LearnZillion is an online, open educational resource that provides supplementary mathematics teaching materials for grades 2-12. Resources are free and address the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). At each grade level, instruction is presented in short Video Lessons and detailed lesson plans (i.e., Full Lessons) that focus on a particular standard or set of standards. Learning List has recently completed reviews of LearnZillion’s OER math materials.

Click the image for YouTube video [source: LearnZillion]

Click the image for YouTube video [source: LearnZillion]

Video Lessons are narrated slide shows that focus on particular mathematics concepts and skills (e.g., “Find the volume of 3-dimensional objects”). Lessons begin with a review of what students already know and then provide step-by-step guidance in solving problems, including the use of mathematical tools (e.g., unit cubes) in finding solutions. Some Video Lessons include a “Commentary” video that provides background information about the topic and the approach to instruction for teachers.

Full Lessons are detailed lesson plans centered on slide shows with teaching notes. Slide shows focus on problem-solving and include activities that foster “productive struggle” with concepts. Academic vocabulary is highlighted and instruction encourages students to consider multiple solution paths and share their solution strategies with the class. Full Lessons reference the Mathematical Practice Standards (MPS) addressed in each lesson and lesson plans provide teachers with detailed guidance in incorporating the MPS in instruction.

About LearnZillion*

LearnZillion is dedicated to championing teachers and supporting their ongoing professional development. Teachers develop expertise and insights while working with students, and have exceptional ideas for how to improve classroom learning. However, they have never been able to integrate that expertise into a curriculum that keeps getting better. LearnZillion believes that empowering teachers to collaborate and share best practices creates new possibilities for students, and the profession. offers a free and growing set of Math and English Language resources for grades 2-12 that have been developed by expert teachers directly from the Common Core State Standards. LearnZillion’s premium participatory curriculum platform enables schools and districts to accelerate the successful implementation of the Common Core, augment the efficacy of their coaches, create class time capacity to address differentiation needs, and build teacher leaders.

The idea for LearnZillion began at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. where co-founder Eric Westendorf, was principal. After watching 6th grade teacher Andrea Smith teach her students what it meant to divide by fractions, Eric wondered, “could powerful learning experiences be captured so that teachers didn’t have to re-invent the wheel every time they taught a standard?” He decided to find out. Working with Andrea and a few other E.L. Haynes teachers, he created a homemade website that featured screencasts of high quality, Common Core lessons. The website worked. Not only could teachers find examples of high quality lessons, but parents and students also benefited from the explanations. Thanks to a Next Generation Learning Challenge Grant, Eric was able to grow the idea. He teamed up with former classmate and teacher, Alix Guerrier, and together they recruited an initial corps of 20 Dream Team teachers from across the country. The Dream Team grew to 123 the following year. In 2013, 200 teachers from 42 states worked on high quality Common Core lessons. There are now over 10,000 high quality resources on the site, covering grades 2-12 in math and ELA. LearnZillion also launched it’s premium offering to enable states, districts, and schools to provide powerful and invigorating professional development experiences for their own teachers. For more about the founding story, check out this post on their blog, The LearnZillion Insider.

* The content in this section is provided by or adapted from LearnZillion.

© 2015 Learning List

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