Open source goes to high school

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A student reading open education resources

Before heading out to film this story on the Open High School of Utah, I wasn't sure what to expect. I had a lot of the same questions most people would have about an online high school: What kind of students go to high school online? How are teachers building their curriculum from open educational resources and what does it look like? How are the students interacting with their teachers and other students in an online venue?

After spending a day with the founding members, administration, faculty, and a room full of students and their parents, we got answers to all those questions, and left feeling like we were witnessing the beginnings of something phenomenal.

Technology rules at Open High where their approach to learning embraces the idea that teaching shouldn't be as static as the textbooks on which it's based. Shattering traditional methods, the Open High School of Utah curriculum is built from open educational resources. These resources are the foundation for their content and are aligned with Utah state standards to ensure the highest quality educational experience. The teachers enhance with screencasts, interactive components, and engaging activities to create high quality curricula for their students.

The use of open resources also makes it possible to very easily modify the curriculum to meet student needs. This is perhaps the most exciting aspect of the Open High School of Utah! Every student’s educational experience can be customized to best fit their needs, turning the one-size-fits-all, teach-to-the-middle education system on its head.

In keeping with their mission the Open High School of Utah, a public charter school, is the first secondary school to share the curriculum they develop as an open educational resource. Today they announce the release of ten semesters of creative commons licensed content at invites you to watch the video below and share this amazing story. If you are interested in learning more about the Open High School of Utah, check out the website.

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At work, I'm a proud member of Red Hat's Brand Communications & Design team. As the Team Leader for the Digital Media & Video team here, I'm fortunate enough to be a part of virtually every video we produce. Which I love.


The most positive thing I have seen all year.

The entire Open Source community needs to get
behind this.

It's great to see open source ideals getting some traction in a public school setting. However, you don't need to wait for the schools. Homeschoolers have been doing this for 20+ years.

I am skeptical of your claims. :)

We serve a large homeschool population and the parents appreciate the transparency that the online arena affords them, the data, and the high-level curriculum and instruction our teachers provide. It's a good fit because they have the level of participation they desire in their student's education but aren't overloaded having to plan and teach all 7 subjects.

I'd say there's so much more than 7 things you can be taught in school. What are the 7 subjects?

Certainly there are more than seven subjects :-) We currently teach 26 different courses, but any given student only has 6-7 at a time because the graduation requirements in Utah are 24-28 credits for four years of high school. The point is that some homeschool parents enjoy having their student at home without having seven preps to worry about.


Good work; the beginnings of something phenomenal indeed. I referenced your story in a blog post today wherein I described the prediction of such programs years ago by a visionary new media guru. That post is here: Do you guys take credit for the "Property of Everyone" tagline, or is that the work of people at Open High?

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the shout out on your blog! Love that this story is getting out there. It will be fun to sit back and see how quickly this catches on in other areas of the world. The "property of everyone" tagline was something I threw together while looking for an image to accompany the post. I was looking for educational type phrases to go alongside "open education resources" and stumbled upon a bunch of college sweatshirts that had "property of _____" on them. It just seemed to fit. Thanks again for the shout out and participating on!

Great initiative,

there is a similar effort on university level from the Free Knowledge Institute (, the Free Technology Academy ( Fantastic to see that Open Source Education is spreading.


Volker Schmidt


Take a look at SchoolTool (FOSS gradebook, attendance, calendars and other school administrative software) and the CanDo competency tracking component of it:

(I'm not directly affiliated w/ either but know several of the players.)

P.S. What's that icon in the lower left corner at 2:24 in the video above? ;-) Oh well, progress... not perfection. C'est la vie.

Could someone caption the video? Or at least turn on YouTube's auto-captioner, such as it is? I've referred several colleagues, some of whom are deaf, to this article. Thanks.

@messer, can we do this on YouTube?


I just went to the YouTube site and told it to try... Not quite ready for prime time, sad to say.

Check out my handiwork. :-)

<a href=""></a>

And, if you find mistakes, well, it's open source! Fix it yourself! ;-)

(Note the cut 'n' paste <strong>Javascript textbox</strong> on the above page for embedding the captioned version into your page.)

Whether people believe it or not, this is the wave of the future in education. Check out the link below to Khan Academy.

The government continues to cut funding for education and schools..where will it go?...The answer is simple. To the most flexible and accessible platform there is, the internet.

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