R.I. commits to use of free, openly licensed educational resources

#GoOpen initiative supports transition from traditional textbooks

Rhode Island has joined a new multi-state, open-education initiative to put more
free educational resources in the hands of students and teachers.

Through the #GoOpen initiative, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Education,
Rhode Island joins 12 other states that have pledged to work together in the first
#GoOpen cohort to support teachers in using high-quality, openly licensed
educational resources in their schools.

«By joining the #GoOpen initiative, Rhode Island has entered into a partnership with
other states committed to innovation and the use of technology to support learning,»
said R.I. Governor Gina M. Raimondo. «We recognize the importance of providing our
students with the highest-quality learning resources, and we want to make excellent
online instructional materials available to our teachers, free of charge. The
#GoOpen initiative will accelerate our commitment to bringing our schools and
classrooms into the digital age.»

Openly licensed educational resources are digital learning materials that can be
used, modified, and shared without breaking copyright laws or paying licensing fees.
As such, openly licensed educational resources have enormous potential to increase
equitable access to high-quality education opportunities for all students.

Rhode Island was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education at the #GoOpen
Exchange, taking place today (February 26) in San Francisco, for its commitment to
work with other states to help teachers transition from traditional textbooks to
openly licensed educational resources. «We are excited to work with Rhode Island to
make openly licensed educational resources available to more teachers,» said Joseph
South, Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of
Education. «The smart use of digital-learning resources can increase equity and
empower teachers.»

«Rhode Island has become a leader in digital learning through our Innovation Powered
by Technology grants and annual conferences. This new initiative, focused on openly
licensed educational resources, brings tremendous opportunities for our students and
teachers,» said Barbara S. Cottam, Chair of the Board of Education. «Not only can
these online materials advance classroom instruction – these resources can also save
taxpayer money, as they are available at no cost. I am glad Rhode Island has joined
this partnership.»

«We have made many wise investments in technology for our schools, such as the
Wireless Classroom Initiative, which has brought wireless Internet access to all
Rhode Island classrooms,» said Daniel P. McConaghy, Chair of the Council on
Elementary and Secondary Education. «The #GoOpen initiative is an important next
step that will support our adoption of digital learning in the classroom.»

«Teaching and learning improve only when teachers have time to collaborate, analyze
the learning standards, develop curriculum and lessons, review student work, observe
one another, get feedback, and reflect on their practice,» said Education
Commissioner Ken Wagner. «As members of the #GoOpen cohort, we encourage schools to
use high-quality open educational resources – free curriculum and instructional
materials that can be adapted for local purposes – and free up money to be used for
ongoing professional development.»

Transitioning to openly licensed resources is essential to preparing our students to
be successful. «We can’t prepare our students to thrive in the future using costly,
outdated textbooks of the past,» said Richard Culatta, Chief Innovation Officer for
the State of Rhode Island. «Openly licensed educational resources allow teachers to
adapt and modify learning activities to fit the needs of their students and save
money for their school.»

In joining the #GoOpen cohort, the R.I. Department of Education (RIDE), in
partnership with the R.I. Office of Innovation, has agreed to the following
commitments:

* Implement a statewide technology strategy that includes the use of openly
licensed resources as a central component.
* Create a repository of openly licensed educational resources for teachers,
students, and families.
* Collaborate with other #GoOpen states to share openly licensed learning
resources and professional development strategies.
* Create a website to share our commitment to #GoOpen and to document our progress.

For more details on #GoOpen commitments made by states, school districts, and
technology companies, visit:

Open Education