Education technology consultant Karen Fasimpaur sounds like a revolutionary when she gets fired up talking about the potential of open educational resources (OER), the textbooks and other educational tools made available as free downloads or interactive Web experiences.
"We have an opportunity to take back the curriculum!" she told educators at last week's SXSW education event. "What if we took the $5 billion annually spent on textbooks and invested that in teachers and their work?"
The revolution might not be that total, but it is happening. Fasimpaur, the principal of the education technology consulting firm K12 Handhelds, was talking mostly about OER applied to K12. However, open resources are just as much of a force in higher education and are one of the underpinnings of massive open online courses (MOOCs).