The U.S. Department of Education today announced the launch of 13 statewide #GoOpen initiatives committed to supporting school districts and educators as they transition to the use of high-quality, openly-licensed educational resources in their schools. This inaugural cohort of #GoOpen states joins leaders from an expanding number of #GoOpen districts and innovative platform providers in setting a vision and creating the environment where educators and students can access the tools, content and expertise necessary to thrive in a connected world
“Openly licensed educational resources can increase equity by providing all students, regardless of zip code, access to high quality learning materials that have the most up-to-date and relevant content,” said Acting U.S. Education Secretary John King. “The leadership, mentorship, and collaboration of these #GoOpen states and districts are critical, not just to grow and sustain this movement, but to transform our schools.”
States and districts were recognized for their leadership by the U.S. Department of Education at the #GoOpen Exchange, a gathering of state and district leaders and innovators from education technology companies and nonprofit organizations working together to help educators transition to using openly-licensed educational resources. At the event, several education technology companies unveiled new platform features that enable the integration of openly-licensed educational resources into their platforms and sharing between platforms via the Department of Education Learning Registry so teachers and schools will have access to these materials no matter where they start their search.
“States are powerful collaborators in supporting and scaling innovation. They can connect forward-thinking educators, share effective ideas widely, and amplify successes,” said Joseph South, director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education. “With the launch of statewide #GoOpen initiatives, states are helping districts transition to a new model of learning by facilitating the creation of an open ecosystem of digital resources that can increase equity and empower teachers.”
Openly-licensed educational resources have enormous potential to increase equitable access to high-quality education opportunities in the United States.
“Switching to openly-licensed educational materials has enabled school districts to repurpose funding typically spent on static textbooks for other pressing needs, such as investing in the transition to digital learning,” said Andrew Marcinek, Open Education Advisor at the Department.
As part of the exchange, states, districts, non-profit organizations and companies committed to do more to ensure schools have access to open education resources.
- Thirteen states–Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin–are launching statewide #GoOpen initiatives designed to support districts as they expand their use of high-quality openly licensed educational resources. Details about the #GoOpen state commitments can be found here.
- Thirty-one #GoOpen Launch Districts are committing to replace at least one textbook with openly-licensed educational resources within the next year. These districts will work closely with ambassador districts and tool providers to build capacity to sustainably implement openly-licensed educational resources in their districts. Details on the #GoOpen district commitments can be found here.
- Nine #GoOpen Ambassador Districts are mentoring #GoOpen Launch Districts as they design and implement their strategy for transitioning to openly-licensed educational resources. These #GoOpen Ambassador Districts have already taken steps toward implementing the use of openly-licensed materials at the district-level.
- The Center for Digital Education, in partnership with Inquiry Schools, and in collaboration with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), is developing a guide to selecting digital content and curriculum for districts taking on a digital conversion and utilizing openly-licensed educational resources. The guide will include checklists, strategies, and example case studies drawn from #GoOpen districts.
- ASCD, a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading, will provide professional learning resources for #GoOpen districts, including the development of an interactive workbook and online course to help educators make use of openly-licensed educational resources to supplement their classroom materials. ASCD has also published two case studies to highlight the district-level #GoOpen process.
- Creative Commons (CC), the global leader in open licensing to enable use and re-use of content, is actively working with multiple education platforms to integrate CC licenses and other open education best practices into their tools – making it easier for the public to share, find and reuse openly-licensed educational resources. Creative Commons will also lead workshops across the country to provide the hands-on help that districts need to scale the use of openly-licensed materials in their districts and propel them to a new model of empowering their teachers to create, share, customize, and improve openly-licensed educational resources.
- Amazon Education is committed to the #GoOpen vision of making OER content from districts, schools, and teachers easily discoverable, so the education ecosystem can benefit from the collective work of every member of the K-12 teaching and instructional community. Amazon Education will provide infrastructure and developer support for the Department of Education’s Learning Registry, which runs on AWS Cloud, for two years, ensuring that it remain robust and freely available for all 15,000 school districts in our country so every child can benefit from these resources, cutting waste and allowing teachers to focus their time and efforts more fully on teaching. In addition, Amazon Education is collaborating with educators around the country for the open discovery and sharing of content to support open education resources initiatives and the Learning Registry.
- Edmodo, the world’s largest K-12 social learning network, is integrating its resource-sharing platform, Edmodo Spotlight, into the core Edmodo experience. Through the integration, Edmodo will make it easier for millions of teachers to create and share resources. Content on Spotlight is publicly available as open educational resources using a Creative Commons license and discoverable in the Learning Registry. Edmodo will give tailored recommendations of open educational resources to every teacher on the Edmodo platform. Edmodo will continue to be a free communication and collaboration platform for teachers and a free platform for anyone- whether or not they are signed into Edmodo- to discover the great content teachers share on Edmodo. Edmodo will give recognition to teachers whose OER content is shared widely.
- Microsoft is delivering an LTI app that provides educators and students with access to openly-licensed educational resources from within learning management systems and publisher platforms such as Canvas, Moodle, and more. The app is powered by OpenEd.com’s query API that provides users with an innovative effectiveness rating on all OER resources. In addition, Microsoft announced enhanced features to com to enable educators to create, discover, rate, and share openly licensed educational resources. The products are fully integrated with Microsoft Office 365 and will enable tailored curation of resource collections, and encourage reuse by supporting open licenses and metadata sharing.
- ISKME’s OER Commons is a comprehensive public digital library that advances the collaborative use of open educational resources (OER) among states, districts, schools, and partner organizations around the world. OER Commons offers expertly curated collections from over 400 content providers, with over 100,000 resources, structured group workflows, and tools for content authoring, remixing, evaluating, and version tracking for those engaged in making the most of OER. OER Commons is making additional K-12 resource metadata available in the Learning Registry, and is also announcing new content creation and remixing tools.
- Follett announces the introduction of searching and access to the Learning Registry into its Destiny solution beginning in the fall of 2016. This new functionality will make it easier for librarians and teachers to work together to find and utilize open educational resources as part of their K-12 curriculum. Follett’s Destiny solution is used by over 60,000 K-12 schools in the US and throughout the world to provide teachers and students with access to educational resources.
The #GoOpen Exchange was made possible by the generous support of Amazon Education.