PreK-12 OER in Practice

Two years ago, the U.S. Department of Education launched #GoOpen, a national movement to support states, school districts, and educators transitioning to the use of OER in place of traditional instructional materials. Today, over 100 PreK-12 districts have committed to use OER to increase equity, keep content relevant, empower teachers, and reallocate funds. Together they form a network sharing insights, strategies, and content. Learn from key district leaders as they highlight their process to put OER in practice.

January Open Perspective

Teacher Ownership

How has OER impacted professional learning or student learning?

OER has allowed our teachers to take ownership of their instructional materials. They are more invested in the success of what they are creating and curating because they see the impact their work is having, rather than hoping their voice was heard when a bulk purchase textbook comes down the pike. No one knows our school and students better than our teachers – the struggles and the expertise – so allowing our teachers to customize their content is so beneficial.

How has your approach to OER evolved?

As we’ve stated from the beginning, we aren’t rushing into this. We know that our teachers are overworked and we have a one-person curriculum department, so we will work with teacher groups when they are ready. We have known from the beginning that we aren’t going to get true buy-in if we force it on them.

What do you value most about OER?

I value the global community of practitioners. Rarely have I been involved with a group wanting to make a change or progress where we are all on the same page. There is very little credible oppositional argument to OER. It’s nice that we are all in this for the same reason, we just need to get the message out to more people!

What do you wish people understood about OER?

I wish people understood that they’re already doing it. So many teachers are supplementing district-issued materials, why not encourage them to stop hitting up Google first? Guide their searching to OER that are standards-aligned and properly licensed. Just the mindset and awareness could do wonders in the classroom as teachers transfer what they learn about copyright and fair use to their kids.


Josh is the technology integration specialist and #GoOpen contact for the Lewis Central Community School District in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He is also a part of the #GoOpen Leadership Team.