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ASCD Releases Case Studies and Poll Data on Open Educational Resources

Alexandria, Va. — ASCD, a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading, has released two new case studies demonstrating the effective use of open educational resources (OER) in school districts in California, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Illinois, as well as the results of a recent poll on OER use. The case studies and poll were produced and released as part of ASCD’s commitment to the #GoOpen campaign, which is being led by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology.

“At ASCD, we believe educators must be equipped with the knowledge and tools to make use of all available resources,” said Jim Hemgen, ASCD managing director of professional learning services. “In our commitment to the #GoOpen campaign, we have stated our intent to provide expert professional development to schools and districts interested in using openly licensed materials to supplement existing resources, and we are excited to release two new case studies that will begin to demonstrate the benefits of these resources to educators nationwide.”

ASCD has pledged to provide ongoing professional development resources and webinars for Future Ready school districts committing to help train educators on the use of OER—openly licensed materials that educators can share, reuse, and adapt. The release of these two case studies and poll results fulfills the first part of ASCD’s commitment; ASCD will also be developing an interactive workbook and online course for educators using OER in their classrooms. The case studies and poll data are described below. Each full case study can be found at www.ascd.org/goopen.

Interdistrict Collaboration Powered by Open Educational Resources
Three districts in three states―California, Ohio, and Wisconsin―were each committed to leveraging technology to improve student outcomes and serve as testbeds for new approaches to teaching and learning. They decided to collaborate to develop a competency-based, interdisciplinary class—incorporating OER—that students from all three districts could engage in together. This innovative project offers lessons for other districts to consider, such as how interacting with like-minded peers from different districts benefited teachers and how the project could be improved upon with more periodic check-ins between teachers and students.

To Turn Challenges into Opportunities, a Rural District Goes Open
The newly hired superintendent of schools in a small, rural Illinois town was faced with two challenges. First, he had to select new math textbooks aligned to the Common Core State Standards—but he knew that the available textbooks did not align well. Second, he had to figure out a way to provide adequate access to classroom technology for students and teachers. To solve the first problem, the district embraced the use of OER to develop an elementary math curriculum, and teachers built additional supplementary resources. With the cost savings from not purchasing math textbooks, the district was able to solve the second problem by applying the leftover funds to buy laptops for use in the elementary grades.

ED Pulse Poll on use of Open Educational Resources
A January 28, 2016, ED Pulse poll in the ASCD SmartBrief e-newsletter asked educators, “How prevalent is the use of open educational materials―defined as resources released under a license that allows their free use, remix, or sharing by others―in the classroom in your school or district.” The results from the 259 educators responding to the poll found that

  1. More than half (52 percent) of educators stated OER are “somewhat” or “very” prevalent in classrooms in their school or district.
  2. Fewer than 10 percent said OER are “not at all” prevalent in their school or district.
  3. 11 percent were unsure of the meaning of open educational materials.

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