Looking @ TPT vs OER and Problem Solving

Looking @ TPT vs OER and Problem Solving - Problem solving is a crucial skill for students to learn during their K-12 education, and there are many Problem-Solving Models to use. Download my FREE chart of 14 different PSMs to help you teach your students the best one for any decision they need to make now and in the future. #NoSweatLibrary #schoollibrary #libraryresearchskills #problemsolving #projectbasedlearningEducators are sharers, and School Librarians are super-sharers as evidenced by the 11,000+ members of LM_NET listserv. Through my 13+ years as a Middle School Librarian I’ve created documents for Library Lessons through online service providers and freely offer these links and documents to other School Librarians who need new ideas.

After retiring I began to update and save my Library Lessons and administrative documents to Google Drive, which was openly shared with anyone to whom I sent the links. Then I realized I could earn some extra retirement money by selling my lessons on Teachers Pay Teachers. Teachers Pay Teachers logoTheir goal is “to make the expertise and wisdom of all the teachers in the world available to anyone, anywhere, at any time” and they provide an online “marketplace where teachers share, sell, and buy original educational resources.”

I established a brand—”No Sweat Library Lessons“—and since TPT asks sellers to give away their first upload, I offered, for free, my Library Lesson Planner Template which I’d amalgamated from the best of other planners I’d used over the years. For a small charge I also offer my Library Orientations and other lessons, and I’m adding more as I update lessons to current NSLS standards.

Open Educational Resources LogoNow lately I’ve been pondering the growing trend toward Open Educational Resources. What is OER? First proposed at a UNESCO conference in 2000, it became reality a year later when Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) put their 2,000 courses online. Making this university-level content available began what the MIT president called “the global intellectual commons” and since then more than 300 colleges and universities around the world have contributed OER courseware and materials. The purpose is best expressed on the Open Education Consortium-About Us webpage:

…probably the most basic characteristic of education … is sharing knowledge, insights and information with others, upon which new knowledge, skills, ideas and understanding can be built. Open Education combines the traditions of knowledge sharing and creation with 21st century technology to create a vast pool of openly shared educational resources.

OER Commons - Open Educational ResourcesPublic K-12 education has stepped into the OER movement through the OER Commons, which offers over 40,000 items for primary and secondary educators. Most importantly for us, the Open Educational Resources initiative doesn’t just mean access to free—as in no-cost—materials but it also means free as in openly licensed, that is, teachers or students can copy, modify, and redistribute OER materials! As a partner with FutureReady Schools and FutureReady Librarians, OER Commons promotes research-based and personalized lessons that comply with ESSA and with Common Core ELA and Math Standards, NextGen Science Standards, the C3 Framework for Social Studies, and AASL National Standards for School Libraries.

So, now I’m very conflicted. Do I want to spend time developing a marketing brand and strategy to generate a supplemental income from TPT or do I want to remain faithful to my inherent desire as an educator/librarian to freely share my materials with others? I’ll have to put in the work to update stuff regardless of which I choose, and since I’m no creative artist I’ll also need to use openly licensed graphics either way. Which brings me around (finally) to the point of this blog article—to give something away.

Image of Problem Solving Models Comparison Chart - Overview of 14 Student Research ModelsProblem solving skills are needed for so many decisions we have to make as students and as adults. It’s our responsibility as educators to prepare students for the variety of problem-solving and decision-making circumstances they will encounter, not just for current classwork—especially project-based learning—but throughout their education, career, and life. I’ve discovered that problematic situations vary, so each one requires a slightly different method to arrive at a solution.

Several problem-solving models are common to education and each is touted by creators and supporters as the best one. I created a grid comparing 14 different Problem Solving Models in order to determine the best one for the problem at hand. I taught at least 2 different PSMs to my middle school students each year that I had them, so I felt confident they would be able to approach each new problem with a reliable decision-making strategy. Please feel free to download my free Problem Solving Models Comparison Chart PDF as a reference tool for research, design, projects, and other assignments that need information and decision-making.

Now I have another decision … which model help me to determine how to distribute my Library Lessons and Library Management documents between TPT vs. OER …

Update: 11/23/17

Some more OER online sources:

The 5Rs of OER: Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, and Redistribute. Some examples include:

  • Retain: House them in a digital cloud space, such as Google Drive.
  • Reuse: Once in a digital cloud space, the teacher has access to frequent use as needed.
  • Revise: Teachers make edits so that the content best fits the readiness needs of their students.
  • Remix: In some cases, content is taken from one source like a lesson or online textbook, and merged into something completely different, such as a video, which is more accessible to the learner.
  • Redistribute: Acquired resources can be shared with as many people as desired, without a cap on numbers.

line of books laying down

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5 thoughts on “Looking @ TPT vs OER and Problem Solving

  1. Barbara,
    What a great look into your struggle with wondering whether to put your energy into the TpT or OER. (I have benefited from using resources from both.) Best wishes to you as you struggle through that decision. Thank you for giving throughout your career, and now continuing to in your retirement.

    Thanks for sharing the research notes. That was a lot of work!


    • Thanks for your comment, Denise. Since you mention using both TPT and OER, what makes you decide which to choose? Is it just the lesson plan itself or is there a particular criteria you use? I’m interested as a way of deciding which of my lessons I might contribute to each platform!

      • Hi Barbara,
        Thanks for asking. I actually prefer to share my work with a Creative Commons license and on my blog. I appreciate collaborative work and building on the work of others, which is much better done with OER and other open source work, like the games created on Breakout EDU, for instance.

        I’ve never sold anything on TPT, but I have benefited from buying things. Perhaps I’m not sure if what I create is truly my own, or if it
        has been built too much on the work of others. If I had something that I knew was my own special creation, I might consider using TPT. The lessons I have bought on TPT are lessons or resources I need right away, usually nice-looking and ready to use. (Like a calendar set, for instance.) I especially needed more of these when I was teaching kindergarten and grade 2.

        Best wishes to you!

  2. Thank you for sharing such great information! I like the set up of the reference tool, everything on one document makes it so much easier to compare and choose!

    • Thank you, Von, for your comment. I’m glad to hear you like my PSM document. Yes, it is so much easier to see everything together! I have a few more of these types of documents that I will work to update and share on the blog, since it’s helpful for others.

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