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Federal Government Launches GoOpen to Foster OER Use

Open Educational Resources or OERs are being pushed heavily by the federal government and thanks to GoOpen, a new initiative that was introduced by the U.S. Department of Education, OERs are becoming easier to access and use.

“Teachers can copy and remix the material as they see fit – without violating copyright laws – and innovative lessons can be shared widely, supporters say,” according to the Hechinger Report.

“Critics worry about the quality, and say that relying on free materials sidesteps the various quality assurance systems used to select textbooks.”

Educators are the ones who have to study the material in the textbooks and often decide what information is necessary in terms of their lessons. If they can save some time by using OERs, it could be yet another move towards a more efficient classroom. Efficiency opens up more one on one time for student development, which yields, overall better student-teacher interaction.

“The K-12 textbook market is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and powerful players have a lot at stake,” says Nichole Dobo of the Hechinger Report.

“If more schools opt out of using paid books, it could reshape the way paid publishers do business. A little competition might not be a bad thing – if we trust schools to sift through the free material and find something better than what they can buy now.”

It may not actually be the quality of the material that worries companies, but rather the effect that the move could have on the K-12 textbook market as a whole. 

“The federal government’s announcement also proposed a new policy that would require all materials created with U.S. Department of Education grant money to be licensed as open educational materials,” according to Dobo’s reports.

“This is meant to provide more bang for the taxpayer buck, supporters say. If one group develops a superb math textbook, for example, why not allow all public schools to use it for free?”

 

Read the full story.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor

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