Back in the 90’s, 16 year old me became fascinated with Linux and the Open Source Movement. In the 2000’s in college I started a computer lab for senior citizens with the primary goal of taking older computers and when needed, installed Linux on them to make them usable again due to lighter system requirements. (Fedora wasn’t even out yet… it was still Red Hat 6/7, Mandrake, and Debian with XFCE). I ran Linux on my laptop usually dual booting with Windows almost full time until 2013 when I got my mac – but I long ago stopped messing with command line stuff and used only GUI tools because I reasoned if I was going to teach someone else about it, I wanted to know how the ‘everyday’ user would use it.
So around that same time I started hearing more about the push for open educational resources. Tons of stuff online is ‘free’, but that doesn’t always mean FREE. An old analogy is, “free as in beer, free as in speech.”
I’d been using and making available materials for other teachers to use and am indebted to Elizabeth Gamino for, around 2012 I believe, inviting me to be part of Fresno Unified’s curriculum team to help create guidance documents for our transition to Common Core instruction. I worked with a district level team to find and curate instructional resources. I learned a lot more about licenses, OER and started thinking a lot more about how to get students involved in that process.
I mainly follow and contribute to the twitter hashtags in the title to see what’s going on in those worlds. There is a great deal of debate about what exactly “OER” is but it’s been exciting to see greater sharing of instructional resources both PD and otherwise lately. The GoOpen movement sponsored by the Federal Government has it’s faults, but is doing amazing things to expand and spread the good news of high quality resources for all students. I am proud to be a part of a company that not only open sources much of its code but has made great strides in adding more metadata to existing OER resources as well as make resources from the Learning Registry accessible to more people!
Finally, take time yourself to explore the hashtags and the great information within. There are great examples of leading districts and even states (California just joined in August 2016!) !