#108 – Unpacking AOA: Making the Most of AVID Open Access

Unpacking Education August 24, 2022 25 min

AVID Open Access (AOA) was established in the spring of 2020 in response to the pandemic and related educator needs. Teachers were reaching out for resources and guidance to help them transition to remote and hybrid learning, an avenue of instruction that was new to most educators. AVID sought to help by providing a collection of free resources.

Since those first days, AOA has continued to evolve based on additional teacher requests and needs. The focus has shifted from remote and hybrid learning to a broader range of classroom topics ranging from equity to relational capacity to accelerating learning. In our podcast today, we are joined by Dr. Michelle Magallanez, Director of Special Projects at AVID Center, to dive deeper into the various types of resources available on the AOA website, as well as ways you might use these for instruction and professional learning.

Paul Beckermann
PreK–12 Digital Learning Specialist
Rena Clark
STEM Facilitator and Digital Learning Specialist
Dr. Winston Benjamin
Social Studies and English Language Arts Facilitator

Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.

Peter Drucker, Educator


The following resources are available from AVID to discover more about the various components of the AVID Open Access website:

Explore AVID Open Access Resources

Educators often mention that they never have enough time. At AVID Open Access, we are working hard to help you out with this challenge. We continue to create and post free, open educational resources that you can use directly in your classroom, as well as content you can explore to learn about cutting-edge topics in education. Throughout this episode, we highlight the key resources you will find at AOA as well as ways you can use these resources. The list below provides some highlights from our conversation.

  • What Is AVID Open Access?: AOA is a collection of free, open education resources (OER) sponsored by AVID.org. The site provides a variety of content, including podcasts, articles, collections, templates, tool tips, grab-and-go lessons, and more.
  • The Beginnings of AVID Open Access: The AOA team began creating and posting resources in the spring of 2020, when the pandemic began. Michelle explains that AOA has been “an opportunity for our organization to give back during the pandemic.” The original resources were focused primarily on the needs teachers had to switch from in-person to remote teaching. Since the very beginning, we were committed to listening to educator needs and providing content targeted to the topics and resources educators have been requesting.
  • The Evolution of AVID Open Access: As teacher needs have evolved during the pandemic, so has AOA. Content has shifted from materials that focused almost exclusively on remote and hybrid learning to topics relevant to educators in any model. Content has been added relating to topics such as equity, relational capacity, community and connectedness, and accelerated learning. Michelle points out that the “digital resources truly help teachers give kiddos the skills that they need to thrive in a digital landscape.”
  • How Educators Can Use These Resources: The materials on the website can be used in multiple ways. Some content is intended to be downloaded and used immediately in your classroom (such as templates, graphic organizers, and grab-and-go lessons). Other content works very well for self-study or collaborative group study. The collections, in particular, can be used to walk professional learning teams through key elements of important educational topics. In many cases, guiding questions have been added to help guide these conversations. The back-to-school collections have downloadable versions of these study guides and are perfect for helping teachers focus on key instructional strategies and priorities to begin a new school year.
  • Classroom-Ready Resources: AOA includes over 150 free, downloadable digital templates and graphic organizers. Michelle points out that teachers are incredibly busy, so we listened to their needs and created content to help them meet these needs and save time. In addition to graphic organizers, there are downloadable posters that can be directly shared with students to help guide them through important thought processes such as inquiry and information literacy. Grab-and-go lessons are very popular as well. A variety of engaging and relevant critical reading lessons, developed in partnership with National Geographic, are also included.
  • Journeys: The Journeys functionality is made available by creating a free account. Click the icon of a person at the top right of the screen to set up your account. With the journey feature, you can collect, organize, and share AOA resources. This is perfect for developing a self-study list of resources and can be used to structure group study.
  • Ed Tips: These short and quickly digestible tips offer ideas and tools you can immediately use in your classroom. They also link to the more extensive collections in case you wish to learn more and dig deeper.
  • Audio Available: Much of the content on AOA includes embedded audio versions of the articles. The audio format allows you to multitask and listen as you go about your other daily tasks. Listen in your car, as you are cooking, or when you’re on a walk!
  • Sign Up for Our Email List: There is an option at the bottom of the AOA website to sign up for our email list. Enter your email to be notified of new content as it is released.

Guiding Questions

If you are listening to the podcast with your instructional team or would like to explore this topic more deeply, here are guiding questions to prompt your reflection:

  • What do you currently know about AVID Open Access and the content posted there?
  • Which portions of the website would you most like to explore further?
  • What topics posted under the classroom resources tab on the website are of the greatest interest to you or your team?
  • What grab-and-go lessons look the most interesting, and how might you use these?
  • Which topic collections are of most interest to you and your team?
  • How might you use the podcasts, summary pages, and guiding questions?
  • Which templates would you most likely use with your students?
  • How might you take advantage of the Journeys functionality?
  • Are you interested in signing up for the AVID Open Access email list?
  • Are there topics that should be added to the AVID Open Access collection of resources?

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