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OER Platform* Comparisons

February 14, 2017

I was at Venture Academy in Minneapolis for the viewing of Most Likely To Succeed on Monday evening, Feb. 6. The following day, Tuesday, we got a tour of Venture Academy and then about four hours of workshop/discussion with a team from Summit Learning which Venture Academy is using. Venture Academy also got money from the Gates Foundation; their school is doing good things.


I observed that SABIER is essentially doing the same thing as Summit Learning with a few differences.


The differences are:


SABIER is platform agnostic (although, we like Moodle a lot. And, I don’t think Facebook developers actually really understand K12 education.) All of their content requires a keyboard – can’t use iPads or tablets???


SABIER starts in 3rd grade instead of 6th (and maybe in earlier grades if we get a collaboration going with the principal I met at the event.)


SABIER focuses on ‘traditional’ public schools rather than charters


SABIER encourages a lot more interaction in online content between student and teacher


SABIER doesn’t have Zuckerberg’s money


        There are probably more, but that’s a start.
I found it reassuring to have proof of concept demonstrated by Facebook (Summit is financed by Mark Zuckerberg.)


OER via an LMS such as SABIER promotes and which is consistent with Education Reimagined’s five interrelated elements characterizing student centered learning could be considered best practice for education in 2017. The accessibility to content in a digital format for those who choose something other than English on paper is what will really drive the future of learning.  The creation of an electronic record or archive of student work and teacher comments from which reports about how students actually understand aligned material is also crucial. There’s a lot of chatter these days about the need for aligned content but very little talk  about how assessment of student learning of the aligned materials gets accomplished. Using standardized tests is Not going to be adequate or desirable.


I think it will be useful to compare the various offerings of OER content that are accompanied by targeted and extensive professional development which is key to making OER work effectively for students. To that end, I’ve created a comparison table on a Google doc. I’m aware of what Lumen Learning is doing and have included them in the table. Please add your thoughts and suggestions for additional ‘platforms’ here or on the doc in comments.
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