September 15, 2014

CORE (Collaborative Online Resource Environment)

This fall we have an exciting new online resource that is available to all of our teachers in PHRD.
CORE is a resource repository that takes a lot of the resources many of us have already been using, and puts them together in one place.  No longer do I need to go to Learn Alberta and then Discovery Education and then 2Learn and do three separate searches to find learning resources.  CORE lets me run one search and find resources from all of these difference sources.   It brings all of my favourite resources together in one spot.  I can search Discovery Education, Learn Alberta, CBC Resources, MIT OpenCourseWare, Iris Resources, Pearson Resources, eTexts, Destination Imagination, and so much more!  Once I find what I’m looking for, I can save it to my favourites and it’s there for me to use in my classroom at any time.
To make it even easier to find what you are looking for, you can use the “PHRD Power Search” which lets you narrow your search parameters by subject, grade, resource format, resource provider, and language.  You can also use the “Browse by…” button to browse materials by grade, by subject and by format.  Enter your keyword, and CORE will find a wealth of information for you to look at.  Each resource comes with a brief description that will help you to decide if the resource is right for you and your students.
To get a brief overview of CORE and how you might consider using it, you can check out the video below.  It was created by CORE and CBE to help explain what CORE is and how teachers and students can make use of it.  Just click on the link below and it should take you to the video’s site in CORE.
Another feature of CORE is that it contains teacher made materials as well.  A bit like “Teachers pay Teachers” or “,” CORE is a place where teachers can upload material and make it available to other teachers within the CORE community.  I can find lessons materials on a number of topics and course materials created by other teachers right here in Alberta.  For example, when I type “digital citizenship” into the search bar, I find an entire bundle of information for “Digital Citizenship Week” that was put together last year by teachers in Calgary along with the help of George Couros from Parkland School Division.  The bundle includes a recorded webinar aimed at junior high and high school students, student and teacher version of a passport to the internet, a planning template and an Ed Talk.  This material has already been used by other teachers, and it has been shared in CORE for me to use with my students.  In the future, as I develop some of my own learning materials, I will be able to upload them to CORE and share them with teachers in PHRD and in the other participating Alberta school jurisdictions.
One more way to use CORE, is as an online database.  All of the online reference center materials from Learn Alberta are available for use through CORE.  You can access Bookflix, World Book Kids,  Culturegrams, BrainPOP, Britannica School, Shakespeare in Bits, Lit2Go, Visual Dictionary Online, Art Encyclopedia, CN Images of Canada Gallery, The Atlas of Canada, Amazing Animal of the World, World Book Advanced, Visual Thesaurus, The Alberta Online Encyclopedia, CBC News in Review, Grolier Online Passport, and so much more.  It’s a great place to take your students using your SMART board and show them how to search for information.  I like to use World Book Kids when young kids are researching owls or penguins.  For older kids, you can get “Coles notes” type study guides and animated version of “Hamlet” through Shakespeare in Bits, and the CN Images of Canada Gallery would be great for Grade 7 or Grade 5 Social.   Eventually, the plan is to make CORE accessible to our students as well.  When this happens, you can set up a link to Grolier Online for your students to use when they need to do some research in class.  It’s great for younger kids who can get lost trying to do a Google search.
If you haven’t already had a chance to check out CORE, you might want to take a few minutes to run a search or two and see what you can find.  Just go to and login.   
Tammy Tkachuk
Collaborative Lead Teacher
Pembina Hills Regional School Division