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A new framework to guide OER curation leadership


Curation is one of our Shared Foundations. It is also identified as a leadership area on the Future Ready Librarians Framework.

But what does it look like when the school librarian really dives into digital curation?

And what does it look like when the librarian, armed with a rich OER toolkit, regularly curates urgently needed, high-quality, flexible, no- or low-cost digital tools and content across the curriculum, expertly modeling that practice for the entire learning community?

Over the past couple of years, I’ve had the privilege of serving on the advisory board of the IMLS study, Exploring OER Curation And The Role of School Librarians.

One major early outcome of this work is The Role of School Librarians in OER Curation: A Framework Guide to Practice.

The two-year research partnership led by ISKME, the nonprofit Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education and Florida State University School of Information (iSchool) and funded by IMLS, involved case studies of school librarians and school leaders in five states, California, Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Washington. The goal was to better understand school librarians’ digital curation practices and workflows, using Open Educational Resources (OER).

The team research team asked the the following questions:

  • What does OER curation look like for participating school librarians?
  • What workflows and practices help us to understand how school librarians are using OER as part of their digital curation efforts?
  • What core competencies and values for school librarianship are emerging related to OER curation?

The document lists a critical rationale for OER Curation:

School librarians play a vital role in curating instructional resources to match the needs of their targeted school audiences. They have long been the experts in how to find resources and make them discoverable by others, and in understanding copyright and its pitfalls. These skills are especially useful when OER are part of a school system’s curriculum development process—where the selection of openly licensed materials depends on careful evaluation of use permissions, and where the outputs of curation may be adapted and shared for discovery by future users.

The new Framework Guide to Practice includes:

  • A primer on what is and what isn’t OER
  • An outline of key process steps involved in curating OER
  • Example OER curation workflows drawn from school librarians in the field
  • Resources to enable school librarians’ OER curation practice

Among the many immediately useful resources, perfect for professional development opportunities are:

  • A chart to help you identify entry points into OER
  • Recommendations for how to initiate conversations about OER with colleagues
  • A list of places to start your search in finding OER
  • A  flowchart to help you determine where and how to share OER
  • A guide that will help you understand open licensing and use permissions
  • Field-tested rubrics you can use in evaluating OER
  • An example chart to help in aligning learning outcomes to curation goals
  • A sample protocol for piloting your curation outputs with classroom teachers

Appropriately, because of the document’s Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License, we can adapt, reuse and remix the Framework itself.

The researchers offer key recommendations that state and districts might take in further developing the librarian’s role in OER curation leadership:

  1. Make OER Curation a Formal Part of the School Librarian Role Description.Work with your school librarian(s) to develop formal role description that highlights the collaborative role they play in supporting high quality instructional resources, and that incorporates both OER curation and open licensing expertise. In such a description, the librarian is positioned as an instructional leader that utilizes the curation of OER to support transformational teaching and learning and to develop the digital curation skills of others.   
  2. Encourage School Librarian Partnerships Around OER. Promote collaboration between school library staff and other school system stakeholders to leverage the best of a school’s resources. For example, teachers can be prompted to include school librarians in their curriculum meetings, and encourage curriculum specialists and other district-level folks to invite school librarians  into OER initiatives and into discussions about material ownership and intellectual property.
  3. Support OER Learning Opportunities.Even school librarians that are the most well versed in OER can benefit from opportunities to extend their OER knowledge—especially in the area of open licensing, as ISKME’s study revealed. There are many web-based trainings and resources, including Creative Commons Certificate Program, and ISKME’s  OER Curation Framework for School Librarians.

From: Cynthia Jimes; Changing Practice: Librarians as OER Curators. April 15, 2019.

Look for the full report and a LibGuide version of “Exploring OER Curation and the Role of School Librarians,” in summer of 2019.

For current information on the GoOpen initiative, keep an eye on:

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Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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