Edtech developers to create open educational resources

The developers will be tasked with creating free, online educational content that can be adapted and customized by teachers — and substituted for textbooks.

Ten content developers will compete to create prototype open educational resources with $1.3 million raised by The Learning Accelerator, a California-based nonprofit organization focused on blended learning.

The goal is for school districts to transition from using textbooks, which OER advocates say are expensive and outdated, to online instructional materials with licenses that allow users to adapt and customize the content.

Twenty-four developers applied for this round of funding, but the 10 selected were: edCount LLC, Expeditionary Learning, Illustrative Mathematics, LearnZillion, Literacy Design Collaborative, Mathematics Vision Project, Odell Education, Public Consulting Group Inc., Victory Productions and the University of Utah.

They will create prototypes of K-12 educational content that aligns with Common Core standards in English language arts and math, said Jennifer Wolfe, who runs The Learning Accelerator’s K-12 OER Collaborative.


“We’re doing this to provide a high-quality, low-cost option for all of America’s students,” Wolfe told StateScoop. “I’m excited to see innovative materials that kind of transform how we think about digital learning — away from a textbook to a more engaging learning experience for students.”

The Hewlett Foundation offered a $1 million grant for the initiative, and The Learning Accelerator raised matching funds. Also in the works is a plan to spin off the K-12 OER Collaborative into a separate nonprofit entity by the end of the year.

The developers’ samples will be reviewed by educators for their effectiveness, and then up to eight will be selected this summer to create full-scale programs. States participating in the collaborative include Arizona, California, Georgia and Washington state.

As StateScoop reported in February, the collaborative put out a request for proposals last year to a variety of publishers interested in creating free content that can be adapted by instructors and administrators. Officials hope for the prototypes to turn into full-scale programs ready for use in time for the 2016-17 school year.

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