OER | News

School Ditches Textbooks for Open Educational Resources

The Amarillo Area Center for Advanced Learning in Texas is replacing textbooks with digital open educational resources (OER) for its math and science classes using iPads.

The specialty high school in Texas recently implemented a 1:1 iPad initiative, and the OER pilot program is intended to help cut costs while providing students with access to high-quality, easily updatable learning resources on their iPads. The district selected a free, Web-based solution, Net Texts, to provide teachers with access to a library of more than 21,000 free OER learning resources from Curriki, Khan Academy, and several universities and colleges.

Teachers can use Net Texts to search for digital learning resources, optionally combine them with their own resources, and then create, publish, and deliver lessons directly to their students' iPads. While the Amarillo Area Center for Advanced Learning is using Net Texts for math and science on the iPad, the content management system includes complete lessons, units, and courses on other subjects, such as British and American literature and United States history and world history for grades 6 through 12. It also supports Android tablets and works on traditional computers.

Net Texts content is stored locally on the students' devices, so they can access the materials even when they're not connected to the WiFi network. The Net Texts app also lets students type notes, record audio notes, look up definitions, take quizzes, create calendar events, and send emails directly to their teachers.

“This pilot program will give our teachers and administrators invaluable information on how to effectively assess, incorporate, and leverage the best materials from the growing pool of quality OER as we begin our 1:1 iPad implementation,” said Chuck Higley, director of digital learning for the district, in a prepared statement. “Pinpointing the best possible course materials that engage students, improve academic achievement, and help save the district money is what this evaluation will focus on.”

The Amarillo Area Center for Advanced Learning is an alternative school located in Amarillo, TX. It provides hands-on job skills training and educational opportunities not available at the district's traditional high schools. It offers five areas of specialized instruction, including animal science, automotive technology, computer science, engineering technology, and health science.

Further information about Net Texts is available on the Net Text's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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