primary education

OER K-12 Bill Passes in U.S. Washington State

Cable Green, March 1st, 2012

There was exciting open policy news from U.S. Washington State (WA) last evening.

HB 2337 “Regarding open educational resources in K-12 education” passed the Senate (47 to 1) and is on its way back to the House for final concurrence. It already passed the House 88 to 7 before moving to the Senate.

The bill directs the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to support the 295 WA K-12 school districts in learning about and adopting existing open educational resources (OER) aligned with WA and common core curricular standards (e.g., CK-12 textbooks & Curriki). The bill also directs OSPI to “provide professional development programs that offer support, guidance, and instruction regarding the creation, use, and continuous improvement of open courseware.”

The opening section of the bill reads:

  • “The legislature finds the state’s recent adoption of common core K-12 standards provides an opportunity to develop high-quality, openly licensed K-12 courseware that is aligned with these standards. By developing this library of openly licensed courseware and making it available to school districts free of charge, the state and school districts will be able to provide students with curricula and texts while substantially reducing the expenses that districts would otherwise incur in purchasing these materials. In addition, this library of openly licensed courseware will provide districts and students with a broader selection of materials, and materials that are more up-to-date.”

While focus of this bill is to help school districts identify existing high-quality, free, openly licensed, common core state standards aligned resources available for local adoption; any content built with public funds, must be licensed under “an attribution license.”

Representative Reuven Carlyle has been a leader working on open education (including the Open Course Library) in WA for years and has blogged about it: here, here, here and here.

Representative Carlyle introducing HB2337 in the House:

Creative Commons’ Director of Global Learning, Cable Green, testifying about the impact of the bill on elementary education in the Senate:

WA is poised to follow the good work of Utah, Brazil, and so many others who have gone before.

This legislature has declared that the status quo — $130M / year for expensive, paper-only textbooks that are, on average, 7-11 years out of date — is unacceptable. WA policy makers instead decided their 1 million+ elementary students deserve better and they have acted.

Congratulations Washington State!

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Pratham Books joins the Commons

Jane Park, November 25th, 2008

Pratham Books is a nonprofit publisher started by the Pratham Education Initiative, which, since 1994, has been working to secure primary education for every child in India. “Pratham Books is a not-for-profit trust that seeks to publish high-quality books for children at a affordable cost in multiple Indian languages. Pratham Books is trying to create a shift in the paradigm for publishing children’s books in India.”

While working with One Laptop Per Child and the Open Learning Exchange in Nepal, Pratham Books decided to contribute educational books and other content for use in low cost laptops and an open eBook library. They released six books under CC BY-NC-SA, and they are available for download at Scribd. The children’s books include titles like The Moon and the Cap, Annual Haircut Day, and books that make mathematics fun—translated into Neplai for local use. Pratham Books also has an imprint, Read India, that publishes more children’s books in many different Indian languages and at low cost to make them more universally accessible.

Currently, the format of the books are in PDF, but Gautum John of Pratham writes that this will soon change, as they are working on a platform to remix books and they will also be available in HTML. Check out their official blog post about it here.

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