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Calling all developers: Are you ready to create OER?

by Jennifer Wolfe on November 20 2014

K-12 Collaborative releases RFP for new education resources

Yesterday at the Open Education in Washington, D.C. we announced the release of the K-12 OER Collaborative’s Request for Proposals to create full-course Open Education Resource (OER) content across K-12 grade bands. In my work at The Learning Accelerator, I’m dedicated to seeking out the best solutions for improving student learning experiences and outcomes for all of America’s students. As I explore the world of instructional materials, I have increasingly become excited about the potential of OER to improve how we deliver content, while simultaneously significantly reducing costs. Schools across the country are currently looking for new materials that better attend to the higher levels of cognitive function called out in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The more I learn, the clearer I can see the great opportunity for OER to meet teachers’ critical need for CCSS-aligned curriculum for English language arts (ELA) and math. My clarity about this tremendous prospect led The Learning Accelerator to join the K-12 OER Collaborative as a partner and facilitator.

What are Open Education Resources?

By way of background, OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. In other words, OER are free learning materials that can be modified and enhanced because their creators have given others permission to do so. OER gives teachers an opportunity to modify content to meet their students’ personalized needs and to iterate materials rapidly.

What is the K-12 Collaborative?

The K–12 OER Collaborative is an initiative led by a group of 11 states with the goal of creating comprehensive, high-quality, open educational resources (OER) supporting K–12 mathematics and English language arts that are aligned with state learning standards. The project is exciting because it can help us leverage new improvements in technology and online content which create the very real potential to offer students dynamic digital content that is organized, searchable, tagged, aligned with standards, and engaging. The huge aggregate demand represented by the nationwide need for new materials creates a unique opportunity for states to acquire higher quality, more effective content aligned to the CCSS in a smarter, far less expensive, and far more flexible manner, and make these available to districts. The project will also, importantly, preserve state and local control of instructional resources.

Who should respond to our RFP?

The Collaborative has released a RFP to create full-course OER content across K-12 grade bands. We are looking for contractors who will create (or build upon existing OER) a comprehensive set of instructional materials, aligned to the CCSS, and licensed with the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) version 4.0 license.

Teachers play a very important role in this project. We surveyed teachers across multiple states to identify their areas of greatest need, and the results drove the project’s objectives. We will engage teacher review teams from the participating states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin) to evaluate contractors’ materials according to well-established rubrics such as Achieve’s EQuIP and together they will decide what the final materials will look like. This will give educators an authentic and strong role to play in determining which materials best suit their needs and ensure they are well equipped to prepare their students for college and career success.

I invite you to help us spread the word of this opportunity to your networks of content developers, teacher networks and traditional publishers so that the resulting materials are a compelling option for educators and students.

Follow us @k12OER.

About the Author

Jennifer Wolfe is a Partner at The Learning Accelerator. Email comments to [email protected], and follow Jennifer @JenniferAWolfe.