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News Brief

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology Hosts first Open Education Symposium

On October 29th, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology (OET) and the White House hosted their first Open Education Symposium and launched the #GoOpen campaign. #GoOpen is "a campaign to encourage states, school districts and educators to use openly licensed educational materials." 

The Symposium featured announcements about commitments to open educational resources (OER) from the federal government, state and local education agencies, non-profits, and the private sector.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was in attendance and stated, "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." He went on to say, "Districts across the country are transforming learning by using materials that can be constantly updated and adjusted to meet students' needs." 

Open Licensing Requirement for Direct Grant Programs 

As part of the #GoOpen campaign, the U.S. Department of Education is proposing a new regulation that would require all copyrightable intellectual property created with Department grant funds to have an open license.  The full Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is posted and open for public comment until December 3rd. 

#GoOpen Districts

Six school districts signed on to serve as #GoOpen Ambassador Districts and will provide support around the curation and discovery of open educational resources to other school districts. Those districts are:

  • Bethel School District, Spanaway, WA
  • Bristol Tennessee Schools, Bristol, TN
  • Chesterfield County Public Schools, Chesterfield, VA
  • Columbus Municipal School District, Columbus, MS
  • Upper Perkiomen School District, Pennsburg, PA
  • Williamsfield Community School District, Williamsfield, IL   

Another ten school districts accepted the #GoOpen Challenge and pledged to swap out at least one traditional textbook with open educational resources by the '16-'17 school year. Those districts are:

  • Affton School District, Saint Louis, MO
  • Colonial Public Schools, New Castle, DE
  • Oxnard Union High School District, Oxnard, CA
  • Department of Defense Education Activity
  • Grossmont Union High School District, La Mesa, CA
  • Kettle Moraine School District, Wales, WI
  • Lawrence Public Schools, Lawrence, KS
  • Mentor School District, Mentor, OH
  • Mountain Empire Unified School District, Pine Valley, CA
  • Vista Unified School District, Vista, CA 

The symposium also featured presentations from Amazon, Microsoft, Edmodo, Creative Commons, ASCD and the Illinois Shared Learning Environment. Each organization pledged to support the #GoOpen campaign and the Learning Registry in its own way, including technical assistance for districts and educators as well as technological tools and infrastructure. Full details are available here.