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Wk 1-Getting started

Welcome to OER in the K-12 Classroom!

I'm excited about this course and hope you all are too. I know we'll all learn a lot from each other.

Getting to know P2PU

Here are a few important things to know about P2PU. It's really all about:

  • Community and peer learning - This means we are all learners and teachers, so jump in and collaborate, add to the class, edit posts to make them better, help teach, share, etc.
  • Openness - All content on P2PU (including your contributions) is open licensed. This means we are all giving others permission to share our work here as long as they attribute us as the source (CC BY). This is great, because it means these courses can be remixed and reused by others. Share the love!
  • Personalization - This is one of the things that makes the School of Ed different from other professional development you might have been involved in. This course is about your learning so take control of it and make it work for you. If you don't find an activity here to be beneficial to you, suggest another one. Personalize, customize, and make your learning the very best it can be!

And here are a few techical tips to get you started.

  • P2PU is pretty straightforward, but ask any questions you have. (A good way to do this is either as a comment on a task or on the general Activity Wall, which is general to the course.
  • You will get notifications by email of various comments and important things going on this the course. If it gets to be too much, just go to My P2PU -> Edit Profile -> Notifications and choose which ones to turn off.
  • Most tasks on P2PU can be edited by participants. If you see something that is wrong or have something important to add, just click the Edit button in the upper right. Don't worry about messing things up because there is version control so anything can be "undone." :) If you have something to add but aren't sure about editing the task, you can also say it in a comment.
  • We'll use tools on the P2PU site in this course as well as others. Don't feel constrained to the tools we use though. If you have a favorite tool or Web 2.0 site that meets your needs, please use it and invite others to do the same.

This course

For this course, we'll use these conventions:

hands on work icon to indicate hands-on activities or other things to do


to indicate optional supplemental readings. These will be included in a separate task for each week.


Getting to know each other

hands on work iconAs we're starting on this course, please do two things to help us get to know each other. First, if you haven't already, update your profile (My P2PU -> Edit Profile) to include info about yourself and a picture. Also, post a comment on this task to introduce yourself (Post Comment in upper-right corner). In addition to your name, what grade and subject you teach, and anything else you want to  share, include your own goals for this course and collaboration ideas you have. (See below.)

Setting your own path for this course

This course is all about steering your own learning in a way that works for you.

hands on work iconAs we're getting started, take a look at the syllabus. Think about how you can customize each week's activities to meet your own goals and add comments. In particular, weeks 3-6 have a lot of opportunities for this.

In your introductory post, include how you plan to customize the course to meet your own goals. (You can link to your own custom version of the syllabus if you made one.)

Possible collaborations

Collaborting is a big part of peer learning, and one way to do this is through active collaborations on tasks. The sky's the limit on what you might do for this course but here are some ideas:

  • Join up with someone in a similar grade level or subject and find and evaluate resources together for Week 3.
  • Form a collaborative team with a group to do a more ambitious remix project.
  • Exchange OERs with someone to remix.
  • Exchange all rights reserved materials you've already developed with someone and remix them to so the result can be open licensed.
  • Create new OERs as a part of a team.

hands on work iconUse this Google spreadsheet to record your ideas or interest in being a part of a collaborative effort and/or write about it in your introductory post.

I've also include a column here to include your twitter account name as well. I tweet as @kfasimpaur and will be using the hashtag #p2pued for all p2pu related tweets. Join me there if you're on Twitter.

Hopefully, this will be longest chunk of text from me you'll have to read in this course. :)

Task Discussion

  • Pam   Oct. 6, 2011, 9:25 a.m.

    Good morning!

    I read an article that seems to validate our interest in using digital resources to differentiate and enrich instruction in yet another way.

    Here they discuss "flipping" instruction with students using online lectures, videos, and activities to learn and practice the background knowledge at home before coming to class for hands-on activities, deeper discussions, or group projects.   I think that this model would appeal to some of the teachers in my building. And using my remixed content to assist with the initial lectures and background knowledge would be an authentic use of what I will be learning in this class.  Karen, your math course using the digital textbook would be an example of how this could be done.

  • karen   Oct. 6, 2011, 4:57 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Pam   Oct. 6, 2011, 9:25 a.m.

    Yes, the idea of the flipped classroom really gets to the core of how open, digital resources influence pedagogy.

    For the better, in my opinion, but this also gets back to our discussion of the barriers to OER adoption. Those who like a very controlled, traditional (teacher in front, dispensing knowledge) model of instruction tend not to be in favor of OER.

  • Jessie Chuang   Oct. 6, 2011, 6:34 p.m.
    In Reply To:   karen   Oct. 6, 2011, 4:57 p.m.

    Just came accross this article about OER, there are several state's agency stepping to support OER, I've heard from TEA(Texas) officier who encouraged districts start to evaluate OER now (Feb.2011)

    I am not sure if I have too wierd ideas, if yes, nevermind....maybe we could do these in this course...

    *set up a repository  of "FAQ, help center, tips, toolkits and resources to adopt OER in curriculum " for the reference of all school districts as their people begin to evaluate OER, in order to shorten their learning curve

    *build up "sales kits" to spread words out, like, we can ask teacher bloggers to post it on their blogs and share it

  • karen   Oct. 6, 2011, 7:31 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Jessie Chuang   Oct. 6, 2011, 6:34 p.m.

    These are all great ideas.

    Texas did have an "open textbook intiative" but the legislation left out the wording to make it actually open, and it didn't go very far. Here are some other state initiatives:

    There are several repositories for OER for fact, I hope we'll all be adding to them through our projects here.

    I like the idea of having teachers help spread the word. I present on OER at a lot of ed conferences and the end of my sessions is always, "Go help spread the word!" I hope you will all do that as well. :)

  • Jessie Chuang   Oct. 6, 2011, 8:49 p.m.
    In Reply To:   karen   Oct. 6, 2011, 7:31 p.m.

    Do OER facilitators need to understand the practice about Common Cartridge ?

  • azmina   Oct. 9, 2011, 4:56 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Pam   Oct. 6, 2011, 9:25 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing the article.. its reality that teacher should change strategies according to student's interest.

  • algotruneman   Oct. 6, 2011, 8:36 a.m.

    200 million Creative Commons licensed photos on Flickr.


  • Nadia Mireles   Oct. 5, 2011, 12:22 p.m.


    Hello everyone,

    Im Nadia Mireles, a Mexican living and working at the IADB in DC as an instructional designer and elearning consultant. Im also studying (online) my EdD at the U of Calgary (starting research proposal draft).

    First, let me say I am intimidated with such experienced people in this course!

    My work at the IADB is basically on two areas: developing virtual self-learning courses and assessing on the development of tutor-lead virtual courses for the Inter-American Institute for Economic and Social Development (INDES) at the IABD. We use Moodle for the INDES courses  and SCORM for the self-learning ones, so I hope to be somehow helpful on this.

    Just as Karen, my goals are to learn about the p2p model and at the same time learn how and what exactly is it to remix a course.  

    Unfortunately, I have not experience on the k-12 area. Yet, I firmly believe the OER and OA will have an impact on education. In latin america, this is very new and unknown yet, so we will see how it goes. 


  • Werner Westermann   Oct. 4, 2011, 9:41 p.m.

    Hello open People, best regards from Santiago, Chile.  My name is Werner Westermann and looking forward to strive my open education learning.  Getting to know a few years the P2PU initiative, I was very glad to know that a School of Ed was emerging.  So I hpped right in and looking forward to see how can we promote OERs in the classroom, but most of all, how can OERs promote quality learning.

    I find it very interesting to see how an open textbook can be remixed to a LMS Moodle environment, so Karen's idea is an attractive one.  I can contribute there.

    My expectatives in this course are on building some teacher training open courses related to 2 exciting learning environments:

    • Sugar, OLPC's constructionist learning platform for primary education with more than 350 learning activities.
    • Khan Academy, a personal learning environment built with a bunch of video resources, and for Math, also with an exercise machine related to a knowledge map.

    Anyone interested in both learning platforms?  Any further reference on them, be glad to comment.  Best wishes and let's get open learning!!!


  • Pam   Oct. 4, 2011, 6:33 p.m.

    Hello everyone

    I am a technology integration specialist for a private K-8 school in Minnesota.  I have been the 'computer lab teacher' in our school for eleven years and spent 14 years before that working as a research scientist for Mayo Clinic.  It seems as if science rules in this group!

    I am interested in finding new OERs to supplement the resources I use now in our computer lab and mobile lab.   I want to remix activities using Moodle, eventually perhaps developing materials that we can use in distance education with other schools.  Right now, I am thinking that I would like to develop some content related to cyber bullying (seems to be a lot of content available) or teacher education on how to design Moodle activities for their classrooms.  I also have requests for SmartBoard lessons on every subject at each grade level, so hoping that we find (and share!) things that might be interactive-whiteboard friendly.

    Is anyone else using Moodle?  I know that Karen would like to put her math book on a Moodle--I can help with some of that.  Although, I did find out today that I didn't know as much as I thought I did about uploading files!  So Karen, you decide if you want me to help!

  • karen   Oct. 4, 2011, 8:34 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Pam   Oct. 4, 2011, 6:33 p.m.

    Well, we all have days like that don't we? :)

    I wold love to have you help. I am currently getting switched over to Moodle 2. Then I'll post a link to the course and set up anyone who wants on account on my system.

    I'm puzzling right now over what to call this course. I don't want to call it "6th grade math" because it could definitely be used for a much wider ranging audience.

    Any ideas? (Here's the textbook link again:

  • Jessie Chuang   Oct. 4, 2011, 9:09 p.m.
    In Reply To:   karen   Oct. 4, 2011, 8:34 p.m.

    WHat are good and bad about OER ?
    What's blocking on the way why OER isn't in every curriculum if it's free ? What's hidden cost ? How to solve it creatively ? Is moodle the best platform ? what other elements is needed ?

    Wider view will be good!

  • karen   Oct. 5, 2011, 3:06 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Jessie Chuang   Oct. 4, 2011, 9:09 p.m.

    This biggest blocks I see to OER in K-12 schools in the U.S. is the bureacracy that has to approve textbooks and the movement toward rigid pacing and control of what teachers do and say instructionally.

    OER is all about giving teachers flexibilty to differentiate instruction. It supports using a wide variety of resources that meet different students' needs.

    Unfortunately, that runs a bit counter to the accountability movement here. Are others seeing that as well?

    Still, many teachers are using resources like these informally for the good of their students. We also need to spread the word more about the benefits of this. Many, many teachers haven't even heard of OER. That's part of what this course is all about. :)

  • Jessie Chuang   Oct. 4, 2011, 3:30 p.m.

    Hi, I am from Classroom Aid Inc.(, I am here to learn the OER practices : what's the difficulty to implement OER in real curriculum ? technical issues ? like content interoperability? compatibility with hardware/software? industry issues? or lacking some elements in what education system needs? and I am interested in OER in Chinese, will try to find out more.

    I believe technologies should bring cost down, of course leveraging OER will definitely get us on the direction, looking forward to learn from all the learners. I am not sure what I can do in this course, at least I will spread the words about OER out !!

    ps. I had difficulty to upload my photo.


  • karen   Oct. 3, 2011, 5:24 p.m.

    Hi, everyone! I'm Karen, the organizer for this course.

    When I'm not working on P2PU, I spend time working with schools around the U.S., integrating technology, working with online and blended learning, and using OER. I also do a lot of content development (mostly open-licensed) and remixing, primarily for K-12 classrooms.

    My goals for this course are:

    • to learn more about how peer learning on P2PU can work best for everyone
    • to remix a portion of a textbook into a more interactive Moodle course

    As you may have already seen, I'm considering remixing an open-licensed 6th grade math textbook as a joint project for this course and one I'm also facilitating on online learning.

    I would heartily welcome anyone who'd like to collaborate on this!

    I would also be interested in any collaborations around teacher professional development.

    I'm looking forward to learning wiht you. Please feel free to contact me anytime with any questions, suggestions, or comments! (My email is karen at k12opened dot com, and I'm kfasimpaur on Twitter.)

  • Sarah   Oct. 3, 2011, 2:26 p.m.

    I am also another science teacher looking to expand my usable materials.  I work in a virtual academy and I am always on the hunt for resources that are appopriate for a variety of ages but primarily for secondary.  I also have the unique challenge of looking to find or tweak material to be appropriate with our Christian curriculum and worldview.  I welcome any feedback that any of your have particularly in the areas of suggestions or editing.  (I am terrible at editing.cheeky)


    I look forward to meeting and working with you all.

  • algotruneman   Oct. 3, 2011, 3:23 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Sarah   Oct. 3, 2011, 2:26 p.m.

    Edit! Proofread! Looking forward... enlightened

  • Anonym   Oct. 3, 2011, 5:58 a.m.

    My name is Bob Cole and I'm working as an instructional specialist for Howard County Public Schools (Maryland).  My background is teaching science, teaching online, and collaborating with classroom teachers to integrate technology with instruction.  You can follow me on twitter @ racolej.  Look forward to working with everyone in the course.

  • Jan   Oct. 3, 2011, 8:16 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Anonym   Oct. 3, 2011, 5:58 a.m.

    Yeah, another science teacher among the participants hoping to further quality experiences of science among young people. I spend my time as a middle school Science Specialist and together I hope ya'll (throwing in a coined pronoun among us Texans) can help me make great strides toward a more productive use of OERs to enhance teacher background as well as creating quality student experiences through use of OERs. 

  • Lenette   Oct. 2, 2011, 9:11 p.m.

    My name is Lenette Hillian-Sanders and I am currently an educator in VA.  I have worked in my current district for 11 years.  I look forward to adding more tools to my "teacher toolbox" as a result of this course.smiley

  • algotruneman   Oct. 1, 2011, 5 p.m.

    I've been retired from the job of technology coordinator since 2006. I started teaching middle school science in 1970. During the 36 years, I taught life science, earth science, physical science, computer programming, computer skills and managed to teach children as young as 10 up through adults in their 70s.

    P2PU is a chance to try to put together a "course" for middle school science based on plants and activities (labs).

    I believe that OER content will make it possible for motivated teachers and eager students to compile their own local version based on the framework of concepts and tasks that I'm going to try to put together.

    If anybody wants editing support for their projects, I'll also offer myself as a proofreader to anybody wanting that assistance.

  • karen   Oct. 2, 2011, 4:35 p.m.
    In Reply To:   algotruneman   Oct. 1, 2011, 5 p.m.

    Thanks for the proofreading assistance, Algot. Please jump in and edit any pages in any of the School of Ed courses here. (There is no spell checker here, and I often write right in the browser window.) If there are any mistakes on pages you can't edit, let me know, but I think almost all of my course pages can be edited by participants.

    That applies to everyone, so please jump in and help make this course better for future participants. Thanks!

  • karen   Sept. 29, 2011, 11:29 a.m.

    I'm getting a little ahead of things but wanted share share this while I'm thinking about it.

    For a long time I've thought about remixing one of the great open textbooks available into a shareable Moodle course.

    Does anyone a) have a suggestion for a textbook or course thaat would be immediately useful to you or your school, and/or b) want to collaborate on this?

  • karen   Oct. 1, 2011, 2:58 p.m.
    In Reply To:   karen   Sept. 29, 2011, 11:29 a.m.

    Christina, Azmina, and others, what do you think about remixing this 6th grade math textbook inot a Moodle course?

    We could vary the level to differentiate and make this accessible to a wider variety of students.

    I have some good math movies we could include as well.

    What do you think?

  • algotruneman   Oct. 1, 2011, 3:56 p.m.
    In Reply To:   karen   Oct. 1, 2011, 2:58 p.m.

    Are you aware of the mailing list "Math Future" aka "Math 2.0"?

    There are some solid discussions going on there about making math as accessible as possible. Might be a good PLN connection for working up the math textbook.

  • karen   Oct. 1, 2011, 3:58 p.m.
    In Reply To:   algotruneman   Oct. 1, 2011, 3:56 p.m.

    I think so. Is the the same School of Mathematical Future on P2PU?

  • algotruneman   Oct. 1, 2011, 5:13 p.m.
    In Reply To:   karen   Oct. 1, 2011, 3:58 p.m.


    Maria Droujkova is active on the Google Group and is facilitating the School of Mathematical Future on P2PU.

  • azmina   Oct. 2, 2011, 6:06 a.m.
    In Reply To:   karen   Oct. 1, 2011, 2:58 p.m.

    There is also a huge material for not only math also for language, health, science and extra

  • azmina   Oct. 2, 2011, 6:09 a.m.
    In Reply To:   karen   Oct. 1, 2011, 2:58 p.m.

    I like this karen and i have one more website to share this is online games for Pre-k to eight grade but this is particularly for math. I am also doing planing for my students to play this in website


  • Lenette   Oct. 2, 2011, 9:13 p.m.
    In Reply To:   azmina   Oct. 2, 2011, 6:06 a.m.

    This is a great website.  I use it with my students and they thoroughly enjoy it.

  • Pam   Oct. 4, 2011, 6:53 p.m.
    In Reply To:   karen   Oct. 1, 2011, 2:58 p.m.

    Wow!  I didn't know that this site existed.  Very interesting.  You can certainly make a great Moodle course out of it--although it will be huge when finished.  Have you thought about making your own activities with some of the free SCORM software packages?  Some are pretty easy (Hot Potatoes makes really easy quizzes and puzzles) and others have me baffled (Xerte--looks cool, not enough time to figure it out!).

  • Werner Westermann   Oct. 4, 2011, 9:54 p.m.
    In Reply To:   karen   Oct. 1, 2011, 2:58 p.m.

    Hello Karen.  I think it's a great odea to remix an opentextbook, specially the CK12 which are of great quality.  But books are still books, and there's so many more great content and resources to work on.  I am thinking about Khan Academy, which is one of expectatives to cover in this course, it could be good to remix it's features on your course.

  • karen   Oct. 6, 2011, 8:06 p.m.
    In Reply To:   karen   Sept. 29, 2011, 11:29 a.m.

    OK, I've gotten a rough outline of the math fraction unit up here:

    (You can click guest access.)

    Let me know if you'd like access to help edit or build this with me.

  • karen   Oct. 11, 2011, 1:54 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Pam   Oct. 4, 2011, 6:53 p.m.

    I have looked at Hot Potatoes a few times, but never really used it. (I have also played with SofChalk. It's not free though, but they do have a repository of free, open-licensed content produced with their tool that can be accessed.)

    Pam, might you want to make a Hot Potatoes activity from some of the content from the fractions unit? If not, perhaps someone else?

  • Pam   Oct. 11, 2011, 7:58 p.m.
    In Reply To:   karen   Oct. 11, 2011, 1:54 p.m.

    I will make you some activities with Hot Potato.  Any requests for specific types of activities or concepts?  That will be fun.  My only complaint about it is that it is so very plain.  That is one reason why the others interest me--the opportunity to mix in media and graphics to make the learning more interesting.

  • karen   Oct. 12, 2011, 12:13 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Pam   Oct. 11, 2011, 7:58 p.m.

    Yes, it is plain at this point. ;) I've really just put in an outline and some of the textbook copy and haven't begun to jazz it up yet. Any suggestions? (I'll send you a user name and password so you can access this as well. Just use the builder's forum to make notes about what you do or suggestions or requests, etc. A bunch of folks are planning to work on this.)

    As far as Hot Potatoes, here are some random ideas:

    - Matching games - UNIT 2 - simple fractions to shaded shapes (I have a bunch of art I did for this for another project that I can send you if you like); real-world  fractions (I have some, but not a lot of art for this), equivalent fractions; UNIT 4 - factors; UNIT 5- equivalent fractions; UNITS 8 and 9 - matching decimals and fractions (I think I have some art for this)

    - Ordering excercise - UNIT 6 - ordering fractions (could do severeal levels of difficulty)

    - Quizzes - all units (What's the advantage of Hot Potatoes vs. built-in Moodle quizzes? I like the recordkeeping in Moodle.)

    - Does Hot Potatoes do multimedia? I'd like to do some audio and/or video real world story problems.

    I'm sure others have a hundred other better ideas. I'll start a thread in the builder's forum to gather ideas.


  • Nadia Mireles   Oct. 12, 2011, 5:33 p.m.
    In Reply To:   karen   Oct. 12, 2011, 12:13 p.m.

    Hi Karen,


    At the IDB we have been using  to introduce and explain activities at the beggining of the lesson with a nice avatar. 

    pro:  students find it fun and paid more atention to the instructions. 

    con: no usable for math exercises themselves but still a nice and very easy way to add short audios (without even using your voice or face) to any course.

    You can see an example I made in 5 minutes here 


  • karen   Oct. 12, 2011, 5:55 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Nadia Mireles   Oct. 12, 2011, 5:33 p.m.

    I like Vokis. We use them a lot i online courses. Thanks for sharing this example.

  • azmina   Oct. 13, 2011, 12:43 p.m.
    In Reply To:   karen   Oct. 6, 2011, 8:06 p.m.


    It is also an interesting  website.. You must see. its all about math games

  • Amy Jaramillo   Sept. 27, 2011, 5:49 p.m.


    My name is Amy Jaramillo, and I'm the Curriculum and Instruction Director for the state virtual school in New Mexico.  I've taught all over the world, mainly high school language arts/English and computer courses. 

    Basically, my goals will be to find all of the OERs that can be adapted and used in our course development as well as sharing excellent OERs with teachers around the state.  I'd like to collaborate on topics such as OERs and improving accessibility during a remix or turning a non-digital OER into a digital OER to reach students in rural areas of New Mexico through our state virtual school's LMS infrastructure.

    Should be interesting getting to know everyone!


  • Matt   Oct. 3, 2011, 10:56 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Amy Jaramillo   Sept. 27, 2011, 5:49 p.m.

    Hi Amy,


    Welcome!  I'm in a similar role and share many of your goals for this course.  I manage a team of instructional designers in curriculum development at Florida Virtual School.   We've made a large foray into developing our content in learning objects and I'd like to find out about sharing and (hopefully) using OERs that are out there.  At the very least, would be interested in the details of sharing some of the items we've already created that are open for others to use.

    Excited about getting started!