As states have become more aware of the advantages of open educational resources (OER), they have taken a variety of steps to raise awareness among school districts and to speed their adoption via high-profile initiatives and projects. Whether it is Utah creating science OER, or Washington leading statewide efforts to discover and vet OER, or New York creating OER curriculum modules that are incorporated into EngageNY, interest and activity among state leaders is high. Other states are incorporating OER into state portals or helping teachers discover, vet and use OER.
SETDA has been pleased to support states in both awareness building and, in some cases, implementing initiatives. In the fall of 2012, SETDA released the groundbreaking report, Out of Print: Reimagining the K-12 Textbook in a Digital Age. Out of Print highlights the sea change underway in the K-12 instructional materials market enabled by recent technology and intellectual property rights innovations. With a focus on the ultimate impact on student learning, the report provides examples of lessons learned from recent digital and open (OER) content initiatives by leading states and school districts and offers comprehensive recommendations for government, industry, and educators to ensure that the inevitable shift to digital instructional materials improves student achievement and engagement and efficiently uses scarce resources. More recently, SETDA has launched a policy brief series on issues emanating from Out of Print – the first two of which focus on issues of accessibility and the ownership of teacher-created content.
That is why it is especially exciting to see today the announcement of the release of a request for proposals (RFP) from the K-12 OER Collaborative, which closely relates to a recommendation we made in Out of Print: “…the implementation of the Common Core State Standards provides a unique opportunity for states and districts to collaborate in the creation, acquisition and use of instructional materials aligned with the new standards.” The Collaborative is an initiative led by a group of eleven states with the goal of creating comprehensive, high-quality OER. SETDA supports the K–12 OER Collaborative and its work along with many others, including state content specialists from the participating states, the Council of Chief State School Officers, Creative Commons, Lumen Learning, The Learning Accelerator, Achieve, the State Instructional Materials Review Association, and the Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics.
Kudos to the K-12 OER Collaborative. We look forward to continuing our work together to ensure states and districts have a variety of choices for high-quality instructional materials that can be tailored to meet the individual needs of their students. For additional information about the K-12 OER Collaborative and the RFP, please go to http://k12oercollaborative.org.