NVUSD Libraries: OER Reflections

It has been almost a year to the day since I wrote the blog “OER: One Size Does Not Fit All.” Little did I know at the time it would take an entire year to find the correct fit for  Napa Valley USD libraries.

A few months ago, we  agreed to take part in a two-year project “Exploring OER Curation and the Role of School Librarians” managed by ISKME (www.iskme.org) and supported by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (http://www.imls).  After many back and forth emails and phone conversations, we reluctantly agreed to be a part of the project. We hesitated because our OER curation is managed at the district level with requests and some input from sites. But we rationalized that our participation would force us to up our game and become competent OER curators!

Over the next few months we endlessly discussed implementing a workable vision for OER. Since NVUSD is a member of the New Tech Network, teachers have access to ECHO, a project-based learning system. ECHO is the platform that allows teachers to create and share OER lesson plans that support the project-/problem-based learning curriculum. ECHO also provides access to existing projects, plans, and an extensive library of instructional resources. However, Echo does not interface with our district libraries’ print and digital resources.

As part of the ISKME project, we envisioned an OER model that would specifically reflect our school libraries. The model had to provide easy access to our existing digital and print materials while including resources from our partner, the Napa County Library. We wanted to include credible web-based resources,  primary sources, articles, images, video, audio and even music and songs…we wanted everything and more!

With this wish list in mind, we explored OER Commons, Amazon Inspire, Follett’s Collections and OverDrive. We looked at SymbalooEdu, LiveBinders, EvernoteWeb, and Clipper to name a few. All of these had certain features that we liked but were missing key components.

After too many stops and starts, we created a blended model that uses Follett Collections as the hosting platform with OER Commons and OverDrive as supportive resources and/or alternatives. Each of these platforms provides access to designated materials that can then be transferred to a Follett CARD (Curated Academic Resource Delivery). With this blended model, we can combine audio, video, print, primary sources, articles, and websites into a multifaceted CARD that will support our curricular needs. Most of the materials are open to the public, but some–including district-owned print and OverDrive materials and Gale and World Book subscriptions–re either IP or password protected. This may not be the original vision of OER and  perhaps we should call the CARD a digital bibliography But whatever it is, it fits our needs!


Author: Kate MacMillan

18 years as Coordinator of Library Services for Napa Valley USD and Napa Valley School Library Consortium; 2010-current CDE Recommended Literature Committee member; 8 years as an outside library consultant for Follett Library Resources; 6 years as a Napa County Library Commissioner; Current member of California Dept of Education’s Literature Committee; Napa TV Public Access board member; ALA, AASL, CLA (Californiia Library Association), CSLA (California School Library Association) and CUE (Computer Using Educators). Conference presentations include: United We Stand; School and Public Libraries Working Together (CLA 2016, CSLA 2017), It’s Not Your Mother’s Library 2012 and 2013 (CUE); Enhancing Online Resources through Library Partnerships (CUE 2010); Implementing School Library Consortium (CSLA 2008); Athletes as Readers and Leaders (2008 Association of American Publishers & CSLA Project). Contributor to School Libraries: What’s Now, What’s Next, What’s Yet to Come!

Categories: Blog Topics, Collection Development, Community/Teacher Collaboration

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