Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Hunt for Open-Source Resources

August 29, 2014

When educators in Washoe County, Nevada, realized that many of their existing classroom resources didn’t offer much of a shift in instruction, they worked together to curate and create Common Core-aligned resources, relying heavily on open-source materials freely available online.

More than 1,000 of the district’s teachers have participated in the Core Task Project, a three-week professional learning program in which educators adapt and test Common Core resources in their classrooms.  The district has made all materials developed through the project available for free at 63000resources.com, and teachers nationwide have accessed and used materials form the site, according to Aaron Grossman, a middle school teacher who helped launch the project. Washoe has also made information about the Core Task Project itself freely available to others beyond the district.

“There are no secrets,” Grossman says. “We’re telling everyone, ‘We’re sharing.’  Everything we post has no copyrights, so … anyone who wants this information can receive this information at no cost.”

Educators anywhere could replicate this process. Grossman identifies a number of key resources for open-source materials that any district could adapt and adopt:

  • Student Achievement Partners’ Achieve the Core website, which has a broad range of freely adaptable resources for teachers.

  • The Basal Alignment Project, a joint effort by more than 45 districts nationwide to develop Core-aligned lessons for the most commonly used basal readers and texts.

  • The Read Aloud Project, a joint effort between SAP and the Council of Great City Schools focused on developing robust literacy programs for K-2 classrooms. Hosted on EdModo, instructions on how to join are available here.

These sources all fit the Core Task Project’s three criteria: “We only want resources that are well-vetted, scalable, and free,” Grossman says. “Teachers want to feel confident that the resources we are sending them are sustaining them.”

 
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