Leicester City Council is the first local government authority in the United Kingdom (UK) to provide 84 community schools with blanket permission to openly license their educational resources. The council is recommending that school staff use the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to share materials created in the course of their work. The Council has also released guidance and practical information for school staff on using and creating open educational resources (OER).
As part of Josie Fraser’s (ICT Strategy Lead, Leicester City Council) work with the council, she leads on a citywide project to raise school staff skills and confidence in using technology to support teaching, learning, and school community development. The project has surveyed staff across the city to identify strengths and gaps in their use of technologies and digital resources. While the results on the whole have been very positive, the survey identified that school staff knowledge about OER and open licensing is very limited.
In response to this, Josie worked with Björn Haßler and Helen Neo (from the University of Cambridge) to create accessible OER schools guidance and practical resources for schools on finding, attributing, remixing, creating, and sharing CC licensed resources. School staff were invited to participate in the development of the resources, by review and discussion, and by taking part in pilot workshops for school staff and leaders.
“The response to the guidance has been very positive, with schools keen to raise the profile of excellent work being produced through the use of Creative Commons licenses. Schools want to raise staff knowledge in relation to copyright and open licensing, and see the classroom modelling of good practice in using and accrediting resources as important for their learners.”
– Josie Fraser
Schools routinely make use of web-based resources to support their learners, but don’t routinely benefit from the range of openly shared resources available if they aren’t aware of open licensing. The permission and guidance are designed to work together in raising awareness about CC licenses and OER, and support schools in promoting the work they are doing by sharing – enabling them to create, and to connect and collaborate with other educators. At a time when so many resources used in schools are digital, and accessed and shared online, understanding copyright and the role that open licenses play is essential for education professionals.
“Leicester City Council is the first local authority in the UK to provide its school employees with permission to openly license their resources. This is a highly commendable and visionary step. We very much hope that this will inspire other councils and schools to look at how they can also support staff in sharing their work.”
– Dr. Björn Haßler, University of Cambridge
Resource packs, which including model policies, guidance and resources for schools, are available at: http://schools.leicester.gov.uk/openeducation. The resources themselves build on existing openly licensed materials, and all new materials are all released under CC BY 4.0 and are available in editable versions for adaptation.
“Open licensing is an important step in making cultural change happen – for educators and learners to benefit from public work, and for schools across the city to move towards open practice. Change will not happen overnight, but the permission and guidance provides a great way for schools to think about how they share and collaborate, and how they would like to take their communities forward.”
- OER Guidance for Schools was commissioned by Leicester City Council, as part of the Council’s award winning digital literacy school staff development project, DigiLit Leicester.
- The OER Guidance resources were produced by Björn Haßler, Helen Neo, and Josie Fraser, and are available under CC BY 4.0.
- For further information please contact Josie Fraser (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Björn Haßler (email@example.com).