Anyone who has ever bought academic textbooks knows they can be pricey, sometimes prohibitively so. This is true not only at the university level, but also for K-12 schools and districts, especially those in rural areas. For Idaho, nearly 90% of districts are rural.
Boise State researchers like Associate Professor Kelly Arispe create Open Educational Resources, more familiar as OER, which supplement and can even replace expensive, traditional textbooks. One project called The Pathways Project, led by Arispe and Co-director Amber Hoye, works with faculty, K-12 teachers and 72 interdisciplinary Boise State students to create a repository of more than 800 high-quality, editable digital materials for 10 world languages and cultures.
Now, with a $100,000 two-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Arispe and her team of researchers are taking the next step forward in their OER mission. Arispe, Hoye and Associate Professor Carl Siebert will work with three user groups of rural and urban teachers from across Idaho to give them the training and confidence to both use and create OER that integrate a wide array of digital humanities content. The grant will enable the team to work with more than 800 K-12 language teachers already using The Pathways Project repository. The 16 Idaho teachers who participate will receive monthly professional development opportunities and stipends.
“We feel really committed to the strategic plan of trailblazing programs and partnerships,” Arispe said. “To have funding and a robust program to move this forward is exciting. Teachers who participate in this grant receive high-quality professional development to retain, reuse, revise, remix and redistribute Pathways and Digital Humanities materials to impact learning in digital ways they’ve never seen before.”