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Open Educational Resources & Open Access for South African School Teachers / Educators: How to Find OERs for your Teaching

This is an introduction to Open Educational and Open Access resources for school teachers on the African continent

How to Find OERs for your Teaching

The following videoclip is worth taking a look at as it also is relevant to school teachers and school librarians.

Finding and evaluating open educational resources 

Videoclip - 53 minutes
Lisbeth Levey from the Commonwealth of Learning outlines her experience of what a good OER is. She gives a personal account of locating and using an OER suitable for supporting a postgraduate university course in agriculture within an African context. This will also be relevant to school teachers.

 

Before search for OER, you need to be clear on what you are looking for.  What you find is very much dependent on your search term (keywords) and search engine / repository which you use.

Questions to ask before searching include:

  • what exactly am I looking for
  • what format do I want
  • how do I want to use the content
  • how recent must it be
  • who is the audience - school pupil, undergraduate, postgraduate
  • what are the key terms or concepts or keywords
  • is there an authoritative author on the topic whose name I can use

Planning your search strategy

  • decide on the keyword and keyword combinations - but do not be too specific
  • some sites provide options to filter the results in various categories, such as:
    • teaching levels
    • results which allow for changes or adapation (in terms of the CC license)
    • media types
    • license types

Registering

Before searching for OER on a particular site, search engine or repository, it is recommended that you register on the site so that you can get optimal benefit with regard to content.  By registering you will get the advantages of:

  • regular alerts and updates
  • storing search results on the site for later use
  • participating in online discussion groups
Approaching the Search Engines or Repositories
 
•Searching takes time and you seldom find what you want immediately – you may have to redo searches and use a variety of other search engines
•Searching on OER search engines is not as precise as when searching on commercial databases which the library subscribes to
•This take a lot of time, so do not leave it for the last minute
•Take time to look at the search screen and do not be afraid to experiment
•Searching is subjective and there is no hard and fast rule

Basic principles of using the main search screen on a search engine

•Each search engine has its own search screen layout

•Before you start to search it is recommended that you see if you can register on the site

•Spend some time on the site so that you can see the various search filters you can use in order to find the content that you want

•The search screen on most search engines allows you to refine or filter your search according to:
  • education level (for example, undergraduate, postgraduate)
  • material type (for example, videos, games, quizzes, textbooks0
  • media format
  • conditions of use in terms of the CC license

•It is recommended that you use the Advanced search option if provided

See the Tab - Selected Search Engines and Repositories for Teachers

Please see the following sites as a point of departure in finding suitable teaching resources for your school. 

UnisaOpen's site Finding OER is also  good option.  Take time to browse through all the resources listed on this site this so that you are familiar with what each site can offer as well as the enormous variety of formats and types for your classroom.