October 30, 2015 -- As a part of Mentor Schools’ commitment to the Future Ready (#FutureReady) schools program with the U.S. Department of Education, our superintendent, Mr. Matthew Miller, was invited to present at an Open Education symposium at the White House this week.
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. Open educational materials are freely accessible, open licensed, and/or non-copyright documents and media that can be used by anyone, anytime for learning.
Mr. Miller was selected as one of only ten superintendents from across the country to be there to present on the importance of having access to open educational materials, and Mentor Schools is now one of the first #GoOpen ambassador school districts.
This initiative fits right into our district’s scope of innovative instruction, where teachers are infusing technology into the classroom to better meet the needs of each student on an individual level.
“In Mentor, we are very fortunate to have a supportive community that recognizes the importance of providing a high-quality education to the children of our community,” said Superintendent Matthew Miller. “This has afforded us the ability to obtain the materials necessary to deliver innovative instruction – which until recently was textbooks, but now needs to be technology.”
The goal would be for Mentor Schools to take the funds that would have typically been spent on textbooks and reallocate them for devices. However, at this time, online textbook fees are still very steep. Access to more openly licensed educational resources would be of great value for the Mentor Schools community and that is why our district has joined the #GoOpen initiative.
“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 accessible, 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.”
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.”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.