Count Me IN!

At the end of July Liberty hosted the first #GoOpen Regional Summit with about 200 educators signing up to be part of the conversation. There are a few things I really appreciate about professional learning opportunities such as these:

  • It was a free event
  • Anyone can attend
  • Conversations were rich
  • Connections were made

More questions were asked than answers provided as no one, outside of Kristina Peters (K12 Open Education Fellow) and Joseph South (US Department of Education Director of Educational Technology), were experts on #GoOpen.

As most of you know, I take notes via Twitter and want to share some of the ideas still resonating with me as I build my working knowledge on the use of OERs within our educational landscape.

Districts that choose to GoOpen are committing to replacing text books with Open Education Resources (OER) in a systematic way. How can you get started? Check out the Office of Education’s Launch Packet.

Personally, I enjoyed the conversations about what is the difference between OER and just free digital content. It is empowering to hear more about educators making an intentional decision to give their content the thumbs up to reuse. This leaves me wondering how powerful our content would be if it was up-to-date and curated by great minds all over the world!

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There were a lot of logistical conversations around what kinds of platforms could or should be used to how do we ensure quality of content for our learners. I found the following tweet especially intriguing:

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To truly “GoOpen”, is to ignite larger District groups to help curate the best resources for our students. GoOpen isn’t meant to be one teacher living in a silo although this statement isn’t meant to stop anyone from taking the first step. To be effective, we have to make sure groups of educators are talking about curating resources and ensuring quality with district level support.

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So why would teachers ever want to put forth the amount of work it takes to GoOpen? I think Erin English summed it up nicely in her session where she talked about four new elements being added to the Periodic Table this past year and how a college class using OER text had the updated Periodic Table within 24 hours. Imagine the possibilities with access to continually updated text for all students. This opportunity literally writes history in real time!

I had an opportunity during this Summit to not only work as part of the organizational team, but also serve as a co-facilitator for a session with one of my all-time favorite people, Sara Wickham. Through our session, we were able to connect with so many talented educators such as Erin English who is a Director of Blended and Online Learning as well as a Principal for the Vista Unified Schools in sunny California.

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We wanted to pose the question is OER a weak link or strong link phenomena and design compelling questions to help leaders build capacity for continued conversations in growing background knowledge and use of OER. You can take a look HERE at our session.

Sara found the most amazing quote below and I want to close out this post by asking one simple question…

What is stopping you from considering how OER might impact education in your district?

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