Three Keys To Gaining Traction With #GoOpen This Year

As we close in on the one-year anniversary of the launch of the #GoOpen Campaign by the team at the United States Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology, it is time to reflect on the progress that has been made over the last year in this area. While the teachers and students in most schools are still unaware of the existence and purpose of this #GoOpen initiative, the number of resources to support this work has expanded dramatically over the last year. More importantly, there is a rapidly expanding group of educators ready to dive in and support one another as schools start to tackle this important work.  After leaving yesterday’s #GoOpen Regional Summit in Boston, I have a renewed sense of optimism that schools will make better progress in the adoption of Openly licensed educational resources (OER) in the coming year and expand the work within and beyond the 17 #GoOpen States highlighted below.Screen Shot 2016-09-24 at 10.25.46 AM.png
Of course, the biggest question we have in the area of OER is the same one that we have with every initiative we undertake in schools – how do we build our capacity in this area? Here are my top three takeaways for districts to move forward with OER in the upcoming year.
  1. Get support from the top – Make sure that your school and district leaders are on board with the #GoOpen Movement. Have your Superintendent sign on to become a #GoOpen District. District’s just need to commit to replacing one textbook over the next year with openly-licensed educational materials. By signing on, you will be matched up with an ambassador district that will support your efforts and share materials they have already created.  In addition, you will join a cohort of other schools involved in the same work.
  2. Connect locally – Superintendents and Principals need to reach out to local colleagues to see if they can pool resources to take on this work.  There is no doubt that every school out there is looking to update course-related materials in various subjects and grade levels. School leaders need to check in with their local/regional administrative groups to see what areas they might have in common with neighboring schools and districts. This work will go much faster if we share the load. Also, make sure that you are taking advantage of state support for this work if you are in one of the 17 #GoOpen states. In Massachusetts, we are fortunate to be supported at the state level by our Department of Education and our Director of Digital Learning Ken Klau. 
  3. Use the resources from the Office of Ed Tech – The resources under the Office of Ed Tech’s  #GoOpen Campaign provide a great foundation to undertaking this work.  The #GoOpen District Launch Packet provides a comprehensive outline for schools and districts to organize their efforts to infuse their curriculum with openly-licensed educational resources. In addition, there are 12 stories from #GoOpen districts that share best practices and provide some concrete steps that other districts can replicate as they move forward.
Thanks to Daniel Downs, Digital Learning Coordinator at North Reading Public Schools, for organizing yesterday’s #GoOpen Summit. I feel fortunate to work in a state with so many forward-thinking educators.  Also thanks to the present and past Chief Open Education Advisors  from the Office of Ed Tech in Washington, D.C. (Kristina Peters and Andrew Marcinek) for their continued leadership in this area.

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