The Office of eLearning has supported the hard work of Indiana teachers committed to evaluating, creating, and curating digital instructional materials to support student learning. In February of 2016 the USDOE celebrated the efforts of Indiana and 13 other states and launched the #GoOpen Campaign which promotes the use of openly licensed educational materials. The #GoOpen Campaign aims to ensure access to quality digital resources to teachers and students regardless of zip code. To learn more about the history of this work, please read our narrative below. To jump right in and learn more about the #GoOpen initiative and how YOU can get involved, click here.
Several years ago the state of Indiana saw a unique opportunity for teachers and students as educational technology became the focus for many districts thanks to the introduction of more portable device offerings. Educational leaders saw the potential of these devices in the hands of students and decided that textbook adoption money would be better spent elsewhere. Districts were now encouraged to simply adopt materials that met the needs of their students, regardless of format (Public Law 73-2011). Once districts were given permission to forego traditional textbook adoption, many started exploring the world of 1:1 initiatives and digital instructional materials. A lot has happened in the past six years, and currently Indiana is a leader across the country in the educational technology arena.
Beginning in 2013 with the Imagining and Creating Grant, Indiana districts and the Office of eLearning teamed up to provide professional development to teachers who were starting to make the switch from print to digital. The first year over 700 digital instructional materials were shared and used in classrooms across the state. Since then the Office of eLearning has continued to support teachers as they transition from print to digital through a variety of programs.
During the 2014-2015 school year a cohort of teachers was formed to make up the Indiana Rockstars of Curation. Over 50 media specialists and English, math, science, and social studies teachers met to curate digital lessons in their areas of expertise. Currently the work of the Rockstars is focused on curating digital learning activities and vetting quality digital instructional materials for other teachers to use in their classrooms. Our goal is simple: to support Indiana teachers and students by providing examples of quality digital content and vetting quality digital resources to promote efficiency and statewide collaboration. For a list of Indiana Rockstars visit HERE.
Thanks to the work of so many Indiana teachers, the Office of eLearning knew it was imperative to house this work in an open space free for anyone to access and use. In the summer of 2015, a partnership was formed with Amazon Inspire. Not only does Amazon Inspire offer all Indiana teachers a free place to go to find quality, vetted resources by keyword or Indiana standard, it also provides them with a space to organize their digital materials. As of January 2018, there are 800 digital resources uploaded and tagged by Indiana educators; just search INeLearn.
As Indiana continues this work it only made sense to join the US Office of Educational Technology in their #GoOpen Campaign. In February of 2016 Indiana was named a #GoOpen state to help launch the initiative. By using openly licensed digital materials to support teaching and learning, Indiana districts are saving money, increasing equity, providing timely and relevant resources to students, and supporting Indiana teachers as they strive to meet the needs of all students. Since 2016 Indiana has hosted two #GoOpen Summits and has three Indiana #GoOpen districts: Hamilton Southeastern School District, Noblesville Schools, and MSD of Warren Township.
“Openly licensed educational resources can increase equity by providing all students, regardless of zip code, access to high quality learning materials that have the most up-to-date and relevant content.” - Acting Secretary John King
Lastly, in an effort to support as many Indiana educators as possible, the Office of eLearning began a Digital Content Workshop Tour in the fall of 2015. The workshops are held across the state and offer free professional development around the process of digital content curation. The workshops aim to support those just starting down the path of digital learning and allowing them the opportunity to connect with teachers outside of their district to share ideas and empower one another! The Digital Content Workshop tour will continue through the 2017-18 school year. Check here for dates and locations.