|+Edudemic "How to Find Open Educational Resources"|
There are several types of content. The most common is, put simply, educational content which includes anything you would give to your students to read, watch or listen to. This will include books/ textbooks, videos, audio recordings, maps, graphs, photographs and historical documents. This group could also include courseware which is typically an all-encompassing, pre-packaged set of instructional materials created by textbook companies like Pearson. If Apple's iBooks ever hit their stride they will probably the best example of courseware where one iBook focused on a particular topic will include all the text, photos, videos and interactive animations in one tidy location.
(related article: Edudemic: The 100 Best Web 2.0 Classroom Tools)
+Schoology which is the best overall LMS package available - and it's free.
Curating your material by placing them in folders (by chapters or topics) in an LMS is effective, but it isn't very eye-catching. Combine other methods of curation with your LMS to keep your students' interest. A playlist on YouTube, a photo collection on Flickr, or a magazine-like collection on Flipboard are all ways to curate a collection of materials that look great - and hopefully they inspire your students to do the same on a future project.
What is the difference between OERs and online content?
Open Educational Resources, or OERs, are materials that are written by educators (or educational non-profits) for the specific purpose of using them in the classroom, and the materials are often aligned to Common Core standards. Most OER providers have a mission of providing high-quality resources for free so that all students in all cities and nations can improve their education. You see the same desire to improve education for all people in places like Harvard, Stanford, and Penn State. Professors in those universities are offering all of the course materials for free. (Check out a list of 700 free courses listed on OpenCulture.)
This is the mission statement of +CK-12 Foundation, a company that provides OER textbooks:
"CK-12 Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to high quality educational materials for K-12 students all over the world. We offer free high-quality, standards-aligned, open content in the STEM subjects. By providing these free resources, CK-12 is working toward educational equity for all."
I've listed about some OERs on my Delicious social bookmarking page. Do you like my not-so-subtle use of a curation site to list the resources? It looks much nicer than a bulleted list inside this blog.