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14 Open Resources For High School

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Co-written by Tom Vander Ark and Sarah Cargill

Last week Secretary Duncan said it was time to dump the heavy, expensive books students lug around in their backpacks. We agree, it's time to shift to digital. High-quality open educational resources (OER) help make the case.

Digital learning advocate and co-founder of two online high schools, Robyn Bagley, recently asked, "What are some good open high school courses?" We compiled 14 open resources.

Science and Mathematics

  1. CK12.org is a pioneer in open resources providing secondary math and science Flexbooks includingFlexmath content originally developed at Leadership Public Schools.
  2. National Repository of Online Courses (NROC) provides an online library of OER high school and AP courses at HippoCampus.org. You'll find solid courseware available in modules with voice over text. It is easy to create media playlists, find track high-trending learning materials, and share learning content with students.
    Find their next gen content at NROCmath.org including a great Hewlett Foundation-funded open Algebra 1 course and a developmental math sequence.
  3. Educurious is Gates-funded OER and project-based learning (PBL) curriculum designed to align with Common Core State Standards.
  4. Khan Academy has a library of more than 3,000 math, science, and history lessons delivered in easy-to-understand videos.

Comprehensive Modular Resources

  1. The Gateway to 21st Century Skills is one of the oldest repositories of education resources online, providing a variety of activities, lessons plans, projects, and assessments.
  2. Curriki.org is a big library of shared courses and content.
  3. OERcommons.org offers free-to-use teaching and learning content and a long list of content providers.

Grade-Level Collections

  1. Gooru curates the Web's best resources, compiling them into collections and attaching quizzes.
  2. Power My Learning provides math, Language Arts, science, social studies, art/music, computer programing, and more educational activities for parents and teachers.


  1. Big History Project is a Gates-funded thematic interdisciplinary project.
  2. Muzzylane transforms history into a game.

Mostly Higher Education

  1. Connexions provides a platform for learning modules and content creation that can be compiled into courses, books, reports, and more.
  2. Open Courseware Consortium provides free and open college- and university-level educational materials online, anytime.
  3. The Saylor Foundation provides free and open college-level courses to students without registrations or fees. Several districts are using Saylor.org courses in high school. Watch for more Common Core aligned resources.

Additional Free Resources

  1. Google in Education and Google Course Builder provide great professional dvelopment and learning resources for educators to create and collaborate in the classroom.
  2. iTunesU has tons of mostly post-sec content.
  3. YouTube EDU has more than 1,000 educational channels.
  4. PBS LearningMedia provides tens of thousands of digital resources for educators and is especially valuable to the flipped classroom.
  5. National Geographic has a longstanding reputation of supporting learning with valuable multimedia resources for any classroom.
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