Lawrence school district joins open source initiative

The Lawrence school district is taking part in a new U.S. Department of Education campaign, #GoOpen, to encourage states, school districts and educators to use openly licensed educational materials.

The Lawrence school district is one of 10 districts nationwide that have taken up the #GoOpen challenge to replace at least one textbook with openly licensed educational resources within the next year.

The announcements were made on Thursday at an Open Education Symposium hosted by the USDE and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The symposium included state and district superintendents and other educators from across the country.

Lawrence schools Superintendent Rick Doll attended the symposium by invitation. The school district uses open source material as part of its “blended learning” classrooms — a system that allows reading and other learning materials to come from a wider variety of sources — that began in 2013.

“Our blended learning initiative includes the use of digital resources to engage and motivate students, personalize learning and maximize teachers’ time to meet the individual needs of students,” said Lawrence schools spokeswoman Julie Boyle, in an email.

As part of the #GoOpen campaign, the USDE is proposing a new regulation that would require all copyrightable intellectual property created with USDE grant funds to have an open license.

“In order to ensure that all students — no matter their zip code — have access to high-quality learning resources, we are encouraging districts and states to move away from traditional textbooks and toward freely accessible, openly-licensed materials,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a news release. “Districts across the country are transforming learning by using materials that can be constantly updated and adjusted to meet students’ needs.”