Educational Materials: Should They Be Free For All Everyone?

Last week, a letter signed by over 100 educators, scientists, lawyers, and students was sent to the White House. They were asking for educational materials and professional development to be free for the public to use and funded by the government. Writing for The Hechinger Report, Nichole Dobo reveals the letter’s contents.

“We, the undersigned organizations from the education, library, technology, public interest and legal communities are writing in response to the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s call for ideas to strengthen the U.S. Open Government National Action Plan. To ensure that the value of educational materials created with federal funds is maximized, we call upon the President to issue a strong Administration policy to ensure that they are made available to the public as Open Educational Resources to freely use, share, and build upon.”

Making educational tools readily available to the public will not only help improve the infrastructure of our school systems, but will give companies the opportunity to implement recent technology so their businesses can grow.

OER are Open Educational Resources free for everyone to use. Dobo tells us to think of these as the Wikipedia of educational resources, stating, “It is a free, online encyclopedia that can be repurposed and rewritten by anyone, anywhere, without fear of violating copyright laws.”

Today, more and more companies are adopting tools that will help educate employees and improve their business strategies. For example, a nonprofit organization called CK-12 has recently devoted multiple resources to help develop free digital materials for science, technology, engineering, and math – collectively known as STEM. CK-12 hopes to bring these resources to not only younger students, but for those willing to learn and educate themselves throughout the workplace.

Dobo’s report says that the CEO of the Learning Accelerator, Scot Ellis, believes that competition for resources that can be made available for the public to use will have an overall positive impact and value.