U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has announced the National Education Technology Plan. For the first time, the Obama strategy for education is spelled out in great detail -- and at its heart is a deep reliance upon open infrastructure and open educational resources. For those who believe in the power of open source to transform education, the plan is essential reading.
The Executive Summary gives a great overview of the goals of the plan. Here's a phrase that does a pretty good job of summing up the entire philosophy of the plan: "a model of 21st century learning powered by technology."
Have a read through it, and as you do, take careful note of the language that clearly favors open approaches. There's plenty of that language scattered all through the plan. In particular, there's a whole section devoted to open educational resources, in which this gem stands out:
"The Department of Education has a role in stimulating the development and use of OER in ways that address pressing education issues. The federal government has proposed to invest $50 million per year for the next 10 years in creating an Online Skills Lab to develop exemplary next-generation instructional tools and resources for community colleges and workforce development programs. These materials will be available for use or adaptation with the least restrictive Creative Commons license. This work is expected to give further impetus to calls for open standards, system utilities, and competency-based assessments."
That's half a billion dollars, folks. All dedicated to OER, all earmarked for content to be made available under Creative Commons licenses.
The plan is open for comments. If you support this initiative, be sure to make your voice heard.