Open educational resources get federal attention

By Laura Devaney, Director of News, @eSN_Laura
November 2nd, 2015

U.S. Department launches campaign to encourage schools to use open educational resources

open-educational-resourcesThe U.S. Department of Education is launching a campaign that will encourage states, school districts and educators to use open educational resources.

As part of the #GoOpen campaign, the Department is proposing a regulation that would require all copyrightable intellectual property created with ED grant funds to have an open license.

“In order to ensure that all students – no matter their zip code – have access to high-quality learning resources, we are encouraging districts and states to move away from traditional textbooks and toward freely accessible, openly-licensed materials,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said. “Districts across the country are transforming learning by using materials that can be constantly updated and adjusted to meet students’ needs.”

The announcements were made at an Open Education Symposium hosted by the Department and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for state and district superintendents and other educators from across the country committed to adopting openly licensed educational materials.

They were joined by innovators from education technology companies and nonprofit organizations who have committed to working alongside these districts to create new tools that help educators find, adapt, create, and share open educational resources.

With the proposed policy, the Department joins the U.S. Department of Labor, USAID, State, and other Federal agencies in leading the Administration’s open government initiatives. After the proposed policy is published in the Federal Register, members of the public can submit comments.

“By requiring an open license, we will ensure that high-quality resources created through our public funds are shared with the public, thereby ensuring equal access for all teachers and students regardless of their location or background,” said John King, senior advisor delegated the duty of the Deputy Secretary of Education. “We are excited to join other federal agencies leading on this work to ensure that we are part of the solution to helping classrooms transition to next generation materials.”

The Education Department recently hired its first open education adviser, Andrew Marcinek, who is working with school district leaders, tool providers, nonprofits, and open education coalition members to expand awareness of openly licensed educational resources in PreK-12.

“Openly licensed educational resources support teachers as creative professionals by giving them the ability to adapt and customize learning materials to meet the needs of their students without breaking copyright laws,” said Richard Culatta, Director of the Office of Educational Technology.

Next page: Learn about school districts, stakeholders, and companies pledging their support for open educational resources