The K-12 OER Collaborative

As our recent article on The Impact of Open Textbooks on Secondary Science Learning Outcomes in Educational Researcher demonstrated (OA version coming soon), when used in the K-12 context OER have the potential to provide local control, save districts significant money, support students in building up a personal library of science books, and improve learning outcomes. What can be done to help other students and schools enjoy the benefits of using OER?

Last week at OpenEd14 we announced the K-12 OER Collaborative. The Collaborative is creating comprehensive, high-quality, open educational resources (OER) for both teachers and students supporting Mathematics and English Language Arts learning, aligned with state standards. Because the resources will all be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, the resources will be absolutely free to states, districts, schools, (and parents and students, as well) and they will have total and complete local control over what to use and how to use it.

So how will we do it? The Collaborative is issuing a Competitive RFP, open to any and all content developers – both independent developers working out of their garages and major publishers like Pearson and McGraw Hill. The RFP specifications have been informed by extensive educator input with the goal of creating OER that offers a full range of instructional supports and state learning standard alignments. These materials will be vetted by teachers, openly licensed, regularly updated, aligned to assessments, and available for free in digital formats and extremely low cost print formats (states will be able to make their own print on demand deals with vendors, with no royalties to pay because the materials are openly licensed).

The Collaborative is supported by a number of states and organizations, including Arizona, California, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin, and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Achieve, The Learning Accelerator, Lumen Learning, Creative Commons, the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), the State Instructional Materials Review Association (SIMRA), and the Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics (ASSM).

The launch of the RFP last week represents hundreds of hours of dedicated work and is a milestone for OER in the K-12 context. Congratulations to everyone involved!

If you’re interested in creating OER for the Collaborative, check out the Competitive RFP.