A number of factors are driving the adoption of open educational resources in K-12 classrooms, including a fit with current educational trends, an interest in staying current amid changing standards and societal changes, policies put forth at the district, state and federal level and financial implications.
Those factors are among the areas explored in a new report, Use of Open Educational Resources in K-12 Schools 2018, published in January by Simba Information, the parent of Educational Marketer. The report also details the challenges OER can present and provides case studies of OER in use at the district and state level.
One of the top reasons for OER adoption is the fit with current pedagogical philosophies and standards, namely the move from teacher-led to student-led learning.
Additionally, OER supports personalized learning, since it can be tailored to the specific needs of the student as well as customized to the needs of the district and the teacher. OER also supports access and equity. As a low-cost option, low-income districts have access to the same materials as wealthier districts.
An important attribute from an educational standpoint is that OER can be updated in real time, meaning materials stay current with changing standards and with world events. Teacher feedback and collaboration with other districts helps OER change and improve over time.
Policies Drive Acceptance
At the federal level, the Every Student Succeeds Act gives school districts more freedom to choose their instructional materials and allows flexibility in funding, including for OER, as well as supporting new standards for student-led learning.
A critical driver of OER usage has been the federal #GoOpen program, launched in 2015. The campaign is not a federal mandated program, but rather a catalyst to support more OER usage. As of 2018 there were 20 states that have committed to the #GoOpen campaign, up from 13 in 2016. In addition to states, 119 districts have joined the campaign.
Most OER instructional materials are available for free or at low cost, resulting, over the long term, in savings compared to commercial alternatives. However, while the materials themselves are free, there are cost—like printing—that must be factored in to the financial equation.
For a complete look at the implementation of open educational resources in classrooms, check out Simba Information’s Use of Open Educational Resources in K-12 Schools 2018, published this month. For more information or to purchase the report, call 888-297-4622 or e-mail [email protected].