OER Stories


Chemistry teacher
Photo from Flickr

Adrian is a 12th grade chemistry teacher in Australia who is looking for a new activity to engage his students. He goes to the OER Commons web site and conducts a simple search using the keyboard “chemistry.” Finding almost 500 items, he decides to filter the results by choosing grade level (secondary) and course-related components: activities and labs.

Adrian reviews the results, sees an activity he thinks his students will enjoy, and saves the item into his OER Portfolio so he can easily retrieve it later. After reading through the activity, he checks the Creative Commons copyright, and sees that it is available to use and remix. Adrian copies and pastes the activity into his class notes.

Later that day, Adrian makes a few modifications to the activity so it will be customized for his students. He changes the language from American English to Australian English, and revises it so that it is a group activity instead of an individual one. In his 3rd period chemistry class, his students begin working with the activity. The next day, he goes back to the OER Commons web site, logs in, and opens his portfolio. Adrian rates the activity and writes a short review of how he and his students used it, making notes on what changes he made to the activity. In doing this, Adrian comes full circle with OER: using the material, modifying it for his own use, and sharing back the changes he made.

The circle begins again when Wei-Tao, another chemistry teacher who teaches in China, finds the same activity, decides to use it, and reads how another chemistry teacher has used the activity in his classroom.

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