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SXSWedu! Sessions We’re Excited About: OER and K-12

Posted in Knerds on March 5, 2012 by

So, we’re heading down to the 2nd annual SXSW Edu this week. We’re really, really excited, but we’re trying to be cool about it. This year’s schedule is crammed with a ton of exciting sessions presented by some of the brightest educators and edupreneurs around, and we’ve got our hashtags at the ready.

Given the momentum the OER movement has picked up over the past year, it comes as no surprise that it’s a dominant theme in the agenda, with a particular emphasis on its applications in K-12. Some pretty exceptional districts and organizations are leading the charge in this arena, and we’re looking forward to hearing their insights on curriculum design, implementation, and efficacy. Here are a few sessions we’re planning on attending:

Moving Beyond Textbooks: OER in Support of K-12 Ed
March 6, 10:15-11:15 AM

Jason Neiffer from Montana Digital Academy, Montana’s publicly supported online K-12 school, leads this session about “strategies and successful implementation of OER in support of K-12 classrooms.” As the first Curriculum Director of Montana Digital, Jason is right in the trenches of next-gen educational practice (this year alone, he led 75 first-time online teachers in delivering 50 courses across Montana). We can’t wait to hear Jason’s thoughts on how teachers and administrators can take advantage of OER to improve learning outcomes and engagement in online and blended environments.

Implementing Open Educational Resources in K12
March 6, 2:00 – 3:00 PM

The state of Maine has long been an edtech supporter and pioneer. Way back in 2002, the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) implemented a program to equip all 7th and 8th grade students with “personal learning devices” (laptops), and ever since then, their efforts have only grown. This session, led by Jeff Mao, the Learning Technology Policy Director for the Maine Department of Education, and Dr. Pam Buffington, Senior Project Director at Educational Development Center, Inc. (EDC), will focus on Maine’s creation of a professional development model to help middle and high school math teachers effectively integrate Open Educational Resources into their curricula. We’re excited to hear about the project’s successes — which, according to the session description, included “increases in student engagement, achievement and motivation.”

Is Open Content the Future of K-12 Education?
March 8, 9:00 – 10:00 AM

What’s better than listening to one smart person talk about the future of education? Listening to four smart people, of course. And eating a sandwich at the same time. As such, we definitely don’t want to miss this panel discussion about OER and the future of the textbook. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. David Wiley, an Associate Professor of Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young Unversity and a noted leader in the OER movement. The other participants include Larry Rosenstock, CEO and founding principal of High Tech High; Dr. Louise Waters, Superintendent and CEO of Leadership Public Schools; and Neeru Khosla, Co-Founder and Executive Director of CK-12 Foundation.

Where is the Disruption? Panel of Experts Discuss
March 8, 9:00 – 10:00 AM

We agree with this session’s blurb that “a perfect storm for disruptive change” is brewing in education. The panel features a policy advisor (Mary Throop, a certified teacher and Education Advisor to Texas State Representative Mark Strama), a professor (Paul Resta from the Learning Technology Center at UT Austin), an educational software CEO (Michael Mayrath from GetYa Learn On, LLC), and a state edtech advocate (Lori Gracey, Executive Director of the Texas Computer Education Association). The four make a diverse group, and one uniquely suited to discuss cross-sector questions about the ways in which “simultaneous changes in legislation, technology, and learning theory” are helping usher the educational technology revolution forward.