MEUSD Press Release – Open Education Symposium
Mountain Empire Unified School District to Participate in Open Education Symposium Hosted by U.S. Department of Education and White House
Mountain Empire Unified School District participated in the Symposium on Open Education hosted by the White House and U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology. At the symposium, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the launch of #GoOpen, a movement that aims to encourage States, school districts, and educators to use openly licensed educational materials.
Mountain Empire Unified School District will further its commitment to becoming a Future Ready district by working with a mentor district and an education technology tool provider to replace one textbook with openly licensed educational resources. Mountain Empire Unified School District will become one of the first #GoOpen ambassador districts dedicated to helping other districts transition to the use of openly licensed educational materials.
“Open Educational Resources can open up great opportunities for MEUSD students,” commented Superintendent Kathy Granger. “By harnessing the power of technology, we will be able to utilize the most up-to-date, standards-aligned and engaging resources for our students. We will transition into OER with our upcoming Language arts materials adoption.
“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 accessibly, openly-licensed materials,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said. “Districts across the country are transforming learning by using materials that can be constantly updated and adjusted to meet students’ needs.”
The announcements were made at an Open Education Symposium hosted by the Department and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for state and district superintendents and other educators from across the country committed to adopting openly licensed educational materials. They were joined by innovators from education technology companies and nonprofit organizations who have committed to working alongside these districts to create new tools that help educators find, adapt, create, and share resources.
With the proposed policy, the Department joins the U.S. Department of Labor, USAID, State, and other Federal agencies in leading the Administration’s open government initiatives. After the proposed policy is published in the Federal Register, members of the public can submit comments for thirty days at //www.regulations.gov.
“By requiring an open license, we will ensure that high-quality resources created through our public funds are shared with the public, thereby ensuring equal access for all teachers and students regardless of their location or background,” said John King, senior advisor delegated the duty of the Deputy Secretary of Education. “We are excited to join other federal agencies leading on this work to ensure that we are part of the solution to helping classrooms transition to next generation materials.”
The Education Department recently hired its first open education adviser, Andrew Marcinek, who is working with school district leaders, tool providers, nonprofits, and open education coalition members to expand awareness of openly licensed educational resources in PreK-12.
“Openly licensed educational resources support teachers as creative professionals by giving them the ability to adapt and customize learning materials to meet the needs of their students without breaking copyright laws,” says Richard Culatta, Director of the Office of Educational Technology.
Openly licensed educational materials can increase equitable access to high quality learning resources and allow teachers to exercise their own creativity in developing new lessons, modifying and improving lessons to fit their own teaching style and students’ needs, and sharing their materials so teachers and students alike can benefit.
“Switching to openly licensed educational materials has enabled school districts to repurpose funding typically spent on static textbooks for other pressing needs, such as investing in the transition to digital learning,” says Andrew Marcinek, Open Education Advisor at the Department. “We are excited that Mountain Empire Unified School District is committed to taking this step.”
The Open Education Symposium was held on Thursday, October 29, 2015 at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
For more information, contact Dr. Kathy Granger, Superintendent, Mountain Empire Unified School District