Open Educational Resources (OER) - Challenge Map
Challenge Map

Technology & Network Infrastructure

Open Educational Resources (OER)

The Challenge

There are several challenges related to the selection and implementation of open educational resources (OER). First, districts find it difficult to build educator awareness of OER and to help schools and teachers understand how to best select, use, and implement OER. Second, it is challenging for educators to easily find appropriate OER aligned with their curriculum and targeted to their instructional needs, and to assess the quality of OER. Additionally, schools must overcome technology limitations that inhibit OER use and surfacing. Finally, districts are grappling with how to communicate the value of OER to teachers and families and to scale the use of OER across their district as they adopt it.

In the Words of District Leaders

Finding the right OER resources that are appropriate to the standards and that are rigorous enough for our students is something that we're finding to be challenging.

“I think the idea that we’re selling is integrity to the resources, not fidelity to the resources. If [teachers are] going to replace something, then they have to show that what they’re replacing it with has an equal level of rigor to support the standards being taught in that set of resources.”

Ideas from the Field

  • With seemingly endless open resources, many school and district leaders are slowly building approved libraries of worthwhile resources, and often in an educator-led fashion.
  • Another approach is to build OER assets oneself, whether that’s lessons, video, or larger curricula. This tactic can mean using grant-funding and local educators to develop the kinds of resources that are needed but currently difficult to find, and then pursuing a thoughtful process for sharing and scaling.


Check out the following research-based resources for more information about OER:

OER Commons – OER Commons is a public digital library of open educational resources. Explore, create, and collaborate with educators around the world to improve curriculum.

Recommended OER Resources – This curated list Open Educational Resources for classrooms can be a useful starting point for leaders and educators thinking about using OER as curricular materials.

OER in K-12 Education – What does the research tell us? – From CCSSO, this blog unpacks the research about what we understand about OER and where we need to do more work to fill in knowledge gaps that will keep the open movement on the right track.

Open Education – From the US Department of Education’s Office of Education Technology, this page describes what is involved in creating an open education ecosystem.

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