Open Education Resources in Washington State

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

From the Creative Commons Blog and I think it is about time someone actually addressed key issues in Education and this is indeed one of them.

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.”

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has declared that the status quo — $130M / year for expensive, paper-only textbooks that are, on average, 7-11 years out of date — is unacceptable.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.

Teaching and Learning with Moodle

From by Helen Foster – Friday, 19 March 2010, 09:39 PM

I’m pleased to announce a new course on – Teaching and Learning with Moodle!

According to Tomaz Lasic, Moodle HQ’s Education Researcher, in his welcome message,

The main aims of the space are to:

  • provide a clear, synthesised and relatively gentle ‘intro to Moodle’ to new users in education and training environments
  • serve as an organised point for great ideas and resources for new and experienced users alike
  • become a generator and repository of Moodle-related (in)formal research in the use and design of Moodle

Be sure to check out Moodle recipes for educators – a community cookbook! for ideas on using Moodle in education, and feel free to add your own!

Five Percent Solutions: 6 Sites to Learn Something New

How can we ever find the time to actually learn something new? Use Five Percent of your time on one of these sites everyday and you may be amazed at the results.

1. 5min

5min Media is the leading syndication platform for broadband instructional, knowledge and lifestyle videos. Our library includes tens of thousands of videos across 20 categories and 140 subcategories, which are professionally produced and brand-safe.
5min Media features content from some of the world’s largest media companies as well as the most innovative independent producers. Video recipesyoga and fitness routinestech tutorials, DIY projects for home and gardenhealth videos on specific conditions, beauty and fashion tipsvideo game walk-throughs and much more.

2. MonkeySee

MonkeySee is a website where accomplished experts from all walks of life share their skills and knowledge on video. MonkeySee provides free access to a wide range of how-to videos across multiple content categories.

3. HowStuffWorks

HowStuffWorks, which is now owned by the same company that owns The Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, is a great information site that endeavors to clearly explain how things work in layman’s terms. Articles are paginated, illustrated, and written in a format that makes reading and digesting them quickly very doable. Many articles are accompanied by videos that make understanding abstract or unfamiliar concepts even easier.

4. Instructables

Instructables is a huge community of do-it-yourselfers who actively engage in creating and sharing well-illustrated, step-by-step how-to articles on everything from building robots to repairing torn clothing to creating 3D anamorphic sidewalk art (really). The guides are written by the extremely vibrant community, and all follow the same, step-by-step illustrated format that make comprehending the information quickly a snap.

5. eHow

The ten-year-old eHow is one of the largest how-to sites on the Internet, with over 160,000 videos and a whopping 600,000 articles. The majority of the articles, which are often presented in a clear and concise step-by-step format, can be consumed in under 10 minutes, as can their how-to videos.

6. wikiHow

It’s built using the familiar Wikpedia model: anyone can contribute a how-to article and anyone else can edit it and make it better by refining the steps, adding photos, or correcting mistakes. The site has over 61,000 articles and all of them are free and Creative Commons licensed.

How to Run a Successful Free Software Project

Producing Open Source Software

Producing Open Source Software is a book about the human side of open source development. It describes how successful projects operate, the expectations of users and developers, and the culture of free software. The book is released under an open copyright: it is available in bookstores and from the publisher (O’Reilly Media), or you can browse or download it here.