A Collaborative Future for the #GoOpen Network

Group of adults sitting around table in school library

Photo by Allison Shelley CC BY-NC 4.0

This week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology (OET) announced that it is sunsetting the federal #GoOpen initiative. While OET will continue to support the principles of open education, such as through policies like the Open Licensing Rule, they are passing the baton to ISKME to foster ongoing national engagement in K-12 open education. We see this as a great opportunity to establish new #GoOpen leadership from within the community, building on the foundation developed by the U.S. Department of Education. 

Since the early days of the initiative, states and districts welcomed a federal partner in helping to promote equity, cost savings, and improved teaching. Many states have been bolstered to develop their own #GoOpen initiatives during the last six years. Now, with greater community ownership of the #GoOpen Network, future activities can be national, rather than federal, in scope and governance, and we are excited to steer the network in the direction of a community-driven governance model over the course of 2022.

When our formal partnership with the federal #GoOpen initiative began in 2018, we developed a set of guiding principles to support the advancement of a national infrastructure for K-12 open education. Our goal was to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing, in the hopes of building a vibrant and sustainable community. We started with a platform to enable the cross-pollination of knowledge and resources, and to surface engagement opportunities by states, districts, individuals, and supporting organizations.

The objectives for the #GoOpen Network also included supporting relationships that might grow solution-oriented OER strategies and programs; highlighting successful implementations in states and districts across the country to influence OER practice and policy; and to make OER meaningful to community members by translating OER evidence of impact into action to improve teaching and learning; and to increase equity and inclusion in education for all. Most recently OET and ISKME convened the #GoOpen Network at the inspiring and highly attended #GoOpen 2021 virtual convening and launch of a new pledge for states, districts and individual educators. You can read more about that on OET’s recent blog post.

ISKME will continue to support the newly launched #GoOpen pledge and help make the connections for the community to thrive and grow. The #GoOpen website and @GoOpenNetwork Twitter will continue to amplify and share key topics of interest to OER policy and practice. ISKME will bring our established expertise in strategic networks and digital infrastructure for open education to the next phase of #GoOpen, in partnership with others in the field. For example, in 2020, ISKME launched the K-12 Voices for Open effort, aimed at encouraging district leaders to consider OER when allocating new federal funding. The group operates as a community-led K-12 OER effort made up of working groups that seek to mentor district leaders and others around OER implementation. K-12 Voices for Open is a ground-up, inclusive mentoring community that supports state, district, and practitioner implementation of OER. 

Going forward, we encourage states, districts, and individuals to take the #GoOpen Pledge of Support, using it as an opportunity to define their commitment to open education and its principles of equity, inclusion and access to the highest quality teaching and learning for everyone. Stay tuned for more communication about this transition, as well as for upcoming activities of the #GoOpen Network, and last but not least, please join us in expressing gratitude to the U.S. Department of Education and OET for their pioneering efforts in this space. 

Remember, #GoOpen belongs to the community--it belongs to you, champions and practitioners of open. This is a call to action for open education to be adopted as an integral solution to improving and accelerating student learning  through supporting the creation and sharing of high-quality, adaptable, accessible, and free teaching materials.

January 14, 2022