PreK-12 Districts Using OER

#GoOpen Districts

When conceived by the U.S. Department of Education in 2015, a #GoOpen District was a school district committed to providing high-quality, open educational resources to students and teachers. #GoOpen Districts had teams that planned, strategized, and organized the implementation of OER. They also had teams that implemented these plans and strategies. #GoOpen implementation teams often included classroom teachers, curriculum directors, librarians, educational technology directors, and administrators. An important activity of a #GoOpen district-level team was to assess needs and opportunities and determine specific actions that would best serve the district in the transition to open educational resources.

#GoOpen Launch Districts committed to:

  • Identify a #GoOpen district-level team that will apply best practices such as those described in the #GoOpen District Launch Packet to develop a strategy for the implementation of OER and a team to execute the strategy.
  • Replace at least one textbook with OER in 12 months.
  • Document and share their #GoOpen implementation process and experiences so others can learn from them.

#GoOpen Ambassador Districts committed to:

  • Mentor one or more #GoOpen Launch Districts as they design and implement their strategy for transitioning to OER. 
  • Develop their district’s plans for scalability and sustainability of OER.
  • Openly license and share their resources, and share information and insights about their #GoOpen process.

Starting Points

Across the country, there are a number of school districts looking for new instructional materials. Even if a district is not officially a #GoOpen district, it can still use OER—in fact, many districts do. For districts considering OER, the most commonly asked questions are around what content area to start in and when is the right time to start the process. The path that districts choose should be based on the goals, needs, and strengths of the district. However, most districts choose one of three following starting points:

  1. When textbooks are due for renewal: Districts reported that 12 months ahead of a renewal date is a good time to start the process. Of course, some districts are able to plan and execute this transition in as little as a couple of months. 
  2. When a curriculum is lacking: Districts unable to find excellent resources in specific content areas that meet the needs of students and are aligned to content standards start here. Some districts discover that their proprietary materials have gaps and start using open educational resources to supplement while planning a transition to fully adopt OER. 
  3. When teacher leaders have the skills and desire: Districts with a strong cohort of teachers in a particular content area with the skills and motivation to create and curate high-quality open educational resources may start here.

Is your district using OER and not currently on the map?