In October 2015, the U.S. Department of Education’s, Office of Education Technology (OET) launched the #GoOpen Initiative via a White House briefing. Since that time, 18 states and 91 districts have signed on to #GoOpen. What does this mean? #GoOpen states and districts commit to supporting the transition to the use of high-quality, openly-licensed educational resources. More importantly, this initiative has impacted states beyond the consideration for Open Educational Resources (OER).
As states consider the option to #GoOpen, state teams including chief technology officers, digital learning and instructional materials leaders have been collaborating on how this commitment will impact their state. States that in the past had left all decisions to the local schools and districts without providing any instructional materials guidance or policies are now digging in to identify how they can better support their schools and districts to make quality choices for learning. More than ever, states have the opportunity to encourage the acquisition and implementation of digital instructional materials by providing guidance for schools and districts regarding best practices related to instructional materials adoption, professional learning for educators, and recommended vetting practices for any instructional materials regardless of delivery platform or licensing type. In addition, states have been working together to share best practices, examples, lessons learned and to support one another. “Here in Vermont, the #GoOpen commitment has sparked collaboration among districts and moved the state to take a leadership role in providing guidance and considerations for instructional materials,” shared Peter Drescher, Education Technology Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Education.
As reported in SETDA’s 2015 Navigating the Digital Shift: Mapping the Acquisition of Digital Instructional Materials, seven states (Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin) have statutes requiring the implementation of digital instructional materials in the next five years. As instructional materials transition to digital, states need to grow their leadership by providing guidance for districts on how to most effectively and efficiently make the transition to digital, by providing flexibility in their funding and procurement policies, including the implementation of OER.
Kudos to the Office of Educational Technology for pushing the enveloping on the option to leverage quality OER and more importantly for bringing the need for state leadership regarding digital instructional materials as a top priority. Happy Birthday #GoOpen!
SETDA OER Resources:
SETDA’s OER in Action: Implementation Highlights is a series of case studies published in 2015 that demonstrate how the policies and practices at the state level have provided the avenue for the implementation of OER in New York, Utah, and Washington.
SETDA launched a series of policy briefs focused on various topics to support state, districts and policy makers as they move from print to digital. These policy briefs were developed to assist states in identifying and implementing additional policies and practices for keeping the digital content transition on track and on target. Current briefs focus on the topics of:
- accessibility of learning content for all students, including students with disabilities
- clarifying the ownership of teacher-created digital content
- ensuring the quality of digital content for learning
SETDA in collaboration with state leaders is developing an online vetting toolkit to provide the details necessary to launch and maintain digital instructional material vetting processes either at the state, district, school or classroom level. This toolkit will be released in early 2017.