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OpenEd17: The 14th Annual Open Education Conference
October 11 – 13, 2017  ::  Anaheim, CA

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Wednesday, October 11 • 1:30pm - 2:25pm
Addressing educational equity in - and through - OER

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In the US, there is desperate need to address inequity in our education system. High poverty-schools account for 25% of all public schools, and in every state, those students complete high school at a significantly lower rate than their peers.

OER has tremendous potential to bring equity to our schools and ensure that all students – regardless of their economic status, location, and background – have access to the same high quality learning materials.

However, there is a complicated path between OER and reducing inequity in K-12 education. Here are two examples:

- In a recent study, 69% of educators in high-poverty schools said their students lacked access to books at home, compared to just 20% at low-poverty schools. Increased availability of OER would shrink that gap, but it's likely that these high-poverty districts also struggle with consistent Internet access at home and budgets too tight to allow print materials for students to keep – both of which limit the impact of OER.

- Similarly, teachers at high-poverty schools are often less able to focus on pedagogical development. Between the greater time burdens of formal and informal roles that teachers play for students at high-poverty schools, they are less likely to spend discretionary time developing curriculum than their peers. As a result, the benefits of audience-adapted OER are less likely to be experienced by students in high-poverty areas.

These challenges pose a significant question for the OER community: as we work to expand the use of OER on a macro level, how can we ensure that we don't leave behind the schools that will simultaneously benefit the most but be the hardest to transition?

This session will feature a panel of practitioners and experts to discuss how the OER movement is helping to close the education gap – but also how we can adapt to better address the economic challenges faced by some students and schools.

avatar for Ethan Senack

Ethan Senack

Policy and Communications Manager, Creative Commons USA

Wednesday October 11, 2017 1:30pm - 2:25pm
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Attendees (15)