Districts can maximize curriculum investments by transitioning from print resources to digital content and Open Educational Resources (OER). Open educational resources are resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use by K-12 educators. According to EdNET, at least two-thirds of K-12 school districts are using digital content to stretch their budget dollars.1 Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina hasn’t purchased a textbook in eight years, transferring textbook dollars to instructional technology resources.2 And, many more districts are following Mooresville’s lead.

Today’s students want to use digital content to learn every day, both in and outside the classroom. At least 84% of K-12 students use mobile devices to self-direct learning on the Internet. 79% of high school students use the Internet at least once a week to support homework and school assignments (and 48% use it daily) even though only 14% of teachers say they are assigning Internet-dependent homework weekly.3 Mooresville’s former superintendent, Mark Edwards explained, “When students are using digital resources, building multimedia projects, collaborating and connecting online, and conducting online research, they are more interested in school work today, and they feel more connected to what their future holds tomorrow.”4

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) creates new avenues for public K-12 school districts to incorporate technology and digital content in the classroom – whether that is paid or (OER) or both5. ESSA authorizes funding streams that potentially can help states and districts invest in technology to support digital content adoption, personalized learning, advanced assessment, data analytics and more.

Today, Blackboard is excited to announce a new partnership with OpenEd, an ACT company and the leading online resource library for K-12 teachers. Teachers can now easily incorporate OpenEd’s materials into their digital classrooms for their students, at no additional cost, through Blackboard Open Content.

Blackboard Open Content is our cross-platform, cloud-based, global learning object repository that is available within our K-12 LMS solutions: Blackboard Classroom; the Personalized Learning Solution; Blackboard Learn; and Moodlerooms. Blackboard Open Content offers quizzes, videos, games, and lesson plans for Common Core Math, Language Arts, Social Studies and the Next Generation Science Standards. Thanks to this new partnership with OpenEd, and our ongoing relationship with Curriculum Pathways and CK-12, Blackboard Open Content now provides seamless access for teachers to over half a million OER resources.

Typically, districts opt for a blended approach where some digital content is purchased and some is OER. Districts can also purchase or lease digital content from publishers or other districts. This mixed approach offers a good blend of digital content resources and a great amount of flexibility to teachers.5 With Blackboard, you can do both. Blackboard is committed to enriching instruction and making teacher’s lives easier through the seamless integration of high quality digital content- both OER and paid- with our learning management solutions.

  1. EdNet Insight Survey @2016, Market Data Retrieval.
  2. Mooresville Graded School District: Digital Conversion Success for Every Child, Every Day; Blackboard, 2014. http://bbbb.blackboard.com/mgsd
  3. Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning, 2016 Findings. Speak Up is an annual research initiative of Project Tomorrow, a global nonprofit organization. Learn more about Speak Up and other research findings from ProjectTomorrow.org
  4. Edwards, M. (2014). Every child, every day: a digital conversion model for student achievement. Boston: Pearson.
  5. Embracing Digital Content” 2017, Center for Digital Education and International Society for Technology in Education.

 

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