Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

#OER State Policy in K-12 Education (from iNACOL) – Part I


WASHINGTON, June, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – A new report from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) – OER State Policy in K-12 Education: Benefits, Strategies, and Recommendations for Open Access, Open Sharing – helps policymakers promote collaboration and deeper learning with open educational resources (OER). Authors TJ Bliss, Ph.D. and Susan Patrick demonstrate how policymakers are helping teachers to build resources, share educational materials, and personalize instruction by permitting publicly funded learning materials to be shared openly as OER.

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Susan Patrick, President and CEO of iNACOL, said, “Education leaders can move away from re-creating the wheel in all 50 states and territories, enabling sharing and collaboration with learning materials, resources, and professional development to implement deeper learning and world-class academic standards. This report highlights ways in which state policymakers can support the collaborative development of open educational resources (OER) to foster personalized learning.

Highlighting from the report “OER State Policy in K-12 Education: Benefits, Strategies, and Recommendations for Open Access, Open Sharing” is as below.

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Introduction

Today, states are collaborating in more ways than ever on the goals of college and career readiness building on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). This guide is meant to help educational institutions and state governments understand the benefits of fostering deeper learning and personalized learning through open educational resources (OER).

Open educational resources (OER) are learning materials licensed in such a way as to freely permit educators to share, access, and collaborate in order to customize and personalize content and instruction. By sharing publicly funded learning materials as OER, we can move away from “re-creating the wheel” in all 50 states and territories, enabling sharing and collaboration with learning materials, resources, and professional development. Maximizing state, district and school resources in sustaining an environment of sharing and collaboration, this guide is meant to share bellwether state examples and recommendations as a guide for policy makers.

While specific recommendations are made at the end of this document, there are key principles to consider in enabling sharing of learning materials:

  • Emphasize that materials created by state, regional, or local entities using public funds will hold an open license for sharing, collaboration, and access for all educators and students.
  • Allow states with instructional materials lists to include OER.
  • Allow instructional materials and other funding to support development, maintenance, and infrastructure for OER and technology infrastructure with flexible uses of funding.

Open educational resources can be a solution to many areas of work that states are engaged in today. Some of these areas include moving to prepare students for college and careers through benchmarks via the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), better integrating their systems of curriculum, instruction, assessment, data, and technology, and focusing on the need to innovate and personalize learning to better engage students and lead the transformation toward student-centered education systems.

Today’s textbooks are obsolete and the acquisition process is broken. The use of OER is a solution that permits delivery of customized content to students much faster and more cost effectively than the current system allows. Open and public domain licenses for educational content that is developed with public funding will provide students and educators with increased access to the information they need to succeed and enable public access to publicly funded educational materials for sharing.

(to be continued)

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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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