Last year, UNESCO recognized the importance of openly licensing educational resources at the 2012 World Open Educational Resources Congress.
There, its member states drafted and approved the Paris OER Declaration, which recommends the “re-use, revision, remixing and redistribution of educational materials across the world through open licensing.” It also encourages the open licensing of educational materials produced with public funds.
Today, Creative Commons licenses are the global standard for open content licensing, in use by education organizations and institutions throughout the UNESCO member states.
Even if you aren’t familiar with CC licenses, you have definitely accessed or used materials under them, which is a testament to their function – to minimize the barriers to reuse of cultural, educational, and scientific works.
What does this mean for you?
If you’ve ever watched a lecture from MIT OpenCourseWare, excerpted a Wikipedia article, or cited a journal in the Public Library of Science, you have done so thanks to a CC license on all of these materials that allow their reuse.
The most liberal CC license is called the Creative Commons Attribution, or CC BY. It enables maximum reuse – allowing anyone around the world to share, build on, translate, and even make commercial – use of the work, as long as attribution is given to the creator.
Since their inception in 2002, CC licenses have enabled millions of educational works to be accessed, adapted, translated, and redistributed. It is estimated that over half a billion works exist under CC licenses, including everything from educational materials (textbooks, lecture videos), scientific journal articles and research, cultural works (music, film and photography) and public sector information and data.
Now comes Teach Deeply’s “I Am Syria,” a campaign to increase education about Syria in the classroom, which joins the global open education movement by licensing its resources under CC BY.
By doing so, “I Am Syria” will encourage teachers everywhere to educate their students about the ongoing crisis in that country, and why it impacts them.
Teachers will also be able to adapt “I Am Syria” resources to their particular classroom needs, and even contribute to the resources’ improvement over time.