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On Friday, September 23, administrators, teachers, and curriculum specialists from around the New England region met at Amazon’s offices in Cambridge for the #GoOpen regional summit hosted by the North Reading Public Schools. For district leaders and educators interested in open educational resources (OER) and how these resources can be scaled to support curriculum initiatives, this was an opportunity to connect with other leaders and OER experts to develop strategies and next steps.

Whole group at #GoOpen

Kristen Peters, Open Education Advisor for the US Department of Education Office of Educational Technology, addresses #GoOpen regional summit attendees.

The summit was an opportunity for participants to dive in and get familiar with the #GoOpen initiative and hear the perspectives from the the US Department of Education Office of Educational Technology’s Open Education Advisor Kristen Peters and Andrew Marcinek, the former #GoOpen Advisor from Massachusetts. Also speaking was Ken Klau, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Director of Digital Learning, who provided the state perspective on the support for districts developing teams and selecting curricula to curate OER content.

The summit featured sessions from Nicole Allen from SPARC who provided an overview of OER and provided strategies for how districts can start using openly licensed educational resources, and how it can relate to our existing curricula. Nicole also shared some places we can find high-quality openly licensed educational resources to support the #GoOpen initiative.

Daniel Downs and Kerry Gallagher

Presenters Daniel Downs, Digital Learning Coordinator, North Reading Public Schools and Kerry Gallagher, Digital Learning Specialist, St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers take a break for a photo.

Grace Magley, Director of Digital Learning for Natick Public Schools and Kerry Gallagher, Digital Learning Specialist from St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers provided presentations targeted at teachers seeking to leverage these resources in the classroom. Grace presented on Natick’s approach to curating, sharing, and evaluating OER/free resources. Kerry presented on how classrooms look, feel, and sound different when teachers and students are using OER curation and distribution tools.

An administrative session led by Andrew Marcinek and Daniel Downs provided a forum which reviewed strategies to increase sharing and collaboration related to scaling of OER. A dominant topic amongst administrators was the shifts necessary for districts to support transitions to OER, and administrators were asked to create long and short term goals for aligning the utilization of OER with district initiatives.

Andrew Marcinek at the podium

Andrew Marcinek, former #GoOpen Advisor and current Chief Information Officer at Worcester Academy, introduces the New England Open Education Collaborative.

In addition to the presentations, there were vendors and representatives from several organizations such as Amazon Education Services, Friday Institute, and CommonLit.org who provided options for resources and professional development opportunities to assist in the scaling of OER in schools.

Next steps for districts participating in the #GoOpen initiative is the upcoming Future Ready Summit in Boston in November.  Additionally, districts looking to be part of the New England Open Education Collaborative can join by following this link: http://bit.ly/neoec2016. Thank you to Amazon Education Services for providing a great venue for sharing perspectives and resources.

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Digital Learning Coordinator

Daniel Downs is the Digital Learning Coordinator for the North Reading Public Schools in North Reading, Massachusetts.

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