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Coronado Unified School District’s #GoOpen Movement to Support Learner-Centric Teaching

CUSD was motivated to #GoOpen because the learner has changed. “Students have a pervasive mindset of personalization. Personalization of clothing, communication devices, and food has become expected in the marketplace…so why not in our schools?” acknowledged Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Felix. Students today demand to have their instruction personalized, made to order, just the way they like it.

The goal of meeting students’ needs for personalized, anytime anywhere learning has been the driving force behind district decisions. This pathway led CUSD to the #GoOpen movement with three key goals:

  1. Changing attitudes toward the learner by making decisions that are learner-centric.
  2. Encouraging a paradigm shift and supporting instructors with professional development
  3. Building a robust infrastructure that is systemic, sustainable, and capable of future growth with a device agnostic approach.

After attending an iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium about five years ago, Superintendent Felix and his team were inspired to do more with blended learning, which included the use of OER.

“At that time,” Senior Learning Director, Claudia Gallant explains, referring to a need that CUSD had for new high school-level science texts, “our resources were limited, with no new textbook resources from the state of California, and limited funds for textbooks. Teachers needed current, high-quality instructional materials, so the district answered that challenge by enlisting an in-house team to design a textbook.” This began the very first OER Project in CUSD.

We learned quickly that OER is not “free.” More and more, the costs associated with OER are people-based. As teachers are becoming the curators of OER content, they need time to complete the task. During one of the CUSD OER projects, middle school science teachers began developing an open textbook, which required an intense number of hours over the summer months. They then met throughout the school year to adjust, update, and revise the content. It’s valuable work, but it takes time.

The impact of going open in CUSD has been well worth the effort. Students using teacher-curated content are experiencing a personalized education like no generation before them. Teachers are able to customize the pace, content, and activities based on data and feedback from students. And the results are staggering. “When students using the digital OER textbook created by our science team took the California Standards Test, 82% scored at or above their standards. That is several percentage points higher than both the 5th and 10th graders who are not using properly aligned instructional materials,” said Superintendent Felix.

The CUSD team found that the best way to start collecting openly licensed learning materials was to reach out to see what others were doing. CUSD watches other organizations, like the K-12 OER Collaborative, and attends symposiums and workshops to find out what how other states are transforming teaching and learning with OER. Once materials are found, CUSD teachers share these resources with students in a Learning Management System. Using an LMS allows teachers to present materials to students in an organized and one-stop location.

Our advice: “Keep putting yourself out there.” Going open ultimately requires taking risks. OER doesn’t fit into the curriculum-purchasing model of identifying a textbook and then teaching to it. OER moves, shifts, and changes along side teachers and students. In order to work with content that is constantly shifting, some projects will succeed from the start while other projects will need multiple revisions to get there, just don’t shy away from the task.

Additional Resources

From Coronado Unified School District:

From the U.S. Department of Education:

Point of Contact

Claudia Gallant, Senior Learning Director
Phone: 619-522-8900 ext. 1015