DENVER — States, schools and superintendents continue to move into new territory as they prepare for the future and shift to open educational resources. At the ISTE annual conference on June 27, U.S. Education Department (DOE) leaders shared how two initiatives are gathering steam at the local and state levels.
The Future Ready initiative is designed to help leaders create a digital learning culture, and more than 2,200 superintendents have committed to making changes that will support this effort by signing the Future Ready Pledge. Seventeen states also have committed to support these superintendents, and as of this week, the department is expanding the initiative to librarians. With this expansion, the department plans to highlight stories of how libraries are shifting to digital learning, said Sara Trettin, a librarian who's spearheading the DOE's efforts.
On the open educational resources front, 63 districts have committed to transitioning to no-fee, customizable learning resources, along with 15 states. Illinois became the 15th state to make the commitment this week. The DOE also created a #GoOpen District Launch Packet designed for district leaders who want to join the initiative and partnered with a number of organizations including the Center for Digital Education to design a Guide to Digital Content and Curriculum, which covers open educational resources.
Joseph South, director of the U.S. Office of Educational Technology, compared open educational resources to bungee jumping during a session. He said it would have been a tough sell to convince the first person to go bungee jumping, just like it would be challenging to convince someone to adopt open educational resources if they didn't have examples of what would happen as a result. That's why the DOE wanted to give districts a guide with examples of what other school districts have done with open educational resources and ideas for how to get started.
"What we create must be actionable," South said.