Utah Launches Statewide #GoOpen Initiative

Utah Launches Statewide #GoOpen Initiative

Utah’s Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Sydnee Dickson, today announced the launch of a new statewide #GoOpen initiative, joining the inaugural cohort of states across the country committing to support school districts and educators in the use of high-quality, openly-licensed educational resources in their schools. Utah was recognized for its leadership by the U.S. Department of Education at the #GoOpen Exchange, a gathering of state and district leaders, innovative ed tech platform providers, and non-profit organizations working together to share knowledge and experiences to help educators transition to using openly licensed educational resources.

“States are powerful collaborators in supporting and scaling innovation. They can connect forward thinking educators, share effective ideas and approaches widely, amplify successes, and can support districts in leveraging limited resources,” said Joseph South, Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education. “With the launch of statewide #GoOpen initiatives, states are helping districts thoughtfully transition to a new model of learning by facilitating the creation of an open ecosystem of digital resources that can increase equity and empower teachers.”

Utah was recognized for its commitment to a statewide technology strategy that includes the use of openly-licensed resources as a fundamental component, developing and maintaining a statewide repository solution for openly licensed resources, and participating in a community of practice with other #GoOpen states and districts to share learning and professional development resources. The State Board of Education master technology plan identifies its responsibility to

“Continue to support Open Education Resources (OER), including the state’s online textbooks (http://www.uen.org/oer) as well as licensed content and applications.”

In partnership with the Utah State Office of Education, the Utah Education Network (UEN) provides the infrastructure to create and distribute open educational resources. These resources are available through UEN’s eMedia (www.uen.org/emedia ).

Nebo School District was an early adopter in Utah to create and utilize Open Education Resources.  Cory Little, Curriculum Specialist in the Technical Services department at the district stated: “Our district is very supportive of OER efforts since we began the process with science materials a few years ago.  We are excited about new initiatives in this direction.”

Utah Electronic High School and Mountain Heights Academy have been using openly licensed curriculum since January of 2009.  OER science, mathematics, and language arts materials are scattered in districts throughout the state.

Openly-licensed educational resources have enormous potential to increase equitable access to high-quality education opportunities in the United States. “Switching to openly licensed educational materials has enabled school districts to repurpose funding typically spent on static textbooks for other pressing needs, such as investing in the transition to digital learning,” says Andrew Marcinek, Open Education Advisor at the Department, “We are excited that Utah is committed to supporting its districts in using openly licensed educational resources.”

For more details on #GoOpen commitments made by states, school districts, and technology companies, visit http://tech.ed.gov/open.

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