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Designing Student-Informed Modules Using OER

Utilizing OER curriculum to support students' needs through interdisciplinary modules


Concourse Village Elementary School’s (CVES) leader, Alexa Sorden, wanted to shift educator practice by reducing stand-and-deliver instruction and increasing student engagement through innovative OER practices and instruction. By partnering with TNTP through a grant from the Robin Hood Foundation Technology and Learning Fund, CVES was able to adopt new OER curriculum to support its students and create its own social studies and literacy interdisciplinary OER modules to address this need.

The ongoing process of creating the topic- and unit-based modules is two-fold:

  • First, the school conducts an annual student survey to gather input on topics of interest so that the materials feel engaging and relevant for students.
  • Second, Sorden pulls together vertical curricular teams that work to develop materials, starting with the standard they want to teach.

The teams then incorporate experiential learning and student interests (obtained from their survey) into their modules.

Example module:

The school developed modules around the ocean after many students expressed interest in learning about animals. Once the team understood the standards and incorporated student interests, members started curating resources and vetting them using Achieve’s EQuIP rubric. At the end of each module, the school held a week of reflection where teachers and students provided feedback, encouraging double-loop processing and allowing for iteration and improvement.

Additional programs used to enhance learning and personalization included:

  • Zearn (a digital version of EngageNY with personalized supports and data)
  • Khan Academy