Open Educational Resources (OERs) is a term coined by UNESCO to mean “any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license.” OERs can be freely reused, copied, and adapted.
We love OERs because they are free for anyone to use, and also because they can be translated for our students. It’s very hard to find children’s books and learning resources in Lingala, for example – the language spoken at home by most of the students using our library in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Thanks to OERs, we can translate children’s picture books, introductory math and science textbooks, and more into Lingala so that students can learn in their native language.
Here’s a roundup of our favorite OER websites that we use to find great books and learning materials for our students. Do you have any to add to the list, or want to help us translate them into local languages like Lingala and Haitian Creole? Contact Nicole firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Just because something is available for free online does not necessarily make it an OER. To be an OER, a work must be either in public domain or openly licensed, generally through Creative Commons.
Image by Jonathas Mello, UNESCO
English & Multi-Language Resources
- Project Gutenberg is the most comprehensive website for public domain books (mainly books published in 1922 and earlier) in the U.S.
- Feedbooks.com has taken many of the classics and added their own covers and descriptions.
- The Internet Archive
- CK-12 publishes wonderful “Flexbooks,” which are textbooks that can be easily modified.
- Mustard Seed Books creates early readers for a variety of levels in English and Spanish – and we have translated and contributed some of them in French.
- Pratham Books, based in India, publishes OER children’s literature and textbooks.
- African Storybook Project, based in South Africa, has a range of OER children’s readers based on African folktales and stories by African writers.
- Curriki brings together resources for teachers.
- OpenCulture.org has a great list of free and educational books, courses, videos and more, many of which are OERs.
- UNESCO Open Access now offers all recent reports and publications by UNESCO as OERs, including their wonderful new African Women in History series, available in English and French.
- The Open Education Consortium has some useful resources, including a list to each of their member organizations in different countries
- The Commonwealth of Learning
- Siyavula has some excellent openly licensed math and science textbooks for grades 4-12.
French Language Resources
- Creative Commons France has a good list of French OER initiatives.
- IFADEM (Initiative francophone pour la formation à distance des maîtres) has some wonderful teacher training OERs for various francophone countries.
- Sankore is a platform that allows you to search for OERs, mainly in French.
- Le Livre Scolaire has textbooks for a variety of ages and subjects.
- Sésamath math textbooks