The Office of Educational Technology (OET) develops the nations education policy and provides direction for using technology to transform education. The department recognizes that open licenses and software are essential to meet it goals and is implementing policies to further the use of open standards.
"We believe that educational opportunities should be available to all learners. Creating an open education ecosystem involves making learning materials, data, and educational opportunities available without restrictions imposed by copyright laws, access barriers, or exclusive proprietary systems that lack interoperability and limit the free exchange of information"
The consortium has the objective of advancing policies that require open licenses for information, materials and applications.
The Department of Education defines open licenses as follows:
"Openly licensed educational resources are learning materials that can be used for teaching, learning, and assessment without cost. They can be modified and redistributed without violating copyright laws."
The U.S. Department of Education requires that all software and materials created grant funds are openly licensed to the public. This is a two billion dollar initiative and is the largest Open Education Resource initiative in the world.
The adoption and use of Linux for education is occurring globally. Brazil, Spain, India and Germany are a few among the many countries that have active educational programs utilizing Linux.
Open Source software supports education globally by providing education focused distributions and distance learning applications/services. Millions of students utilize Edubuntu, OpenSuse Education or some Linux bundle with enhancements for education. Others utilize online course content delivered through systems such as the Free Technology Academy or MOOCs like Edx.
Linux is being selected because of its low cost and economic benefits but also because of the opportunity it provides for practical learning.
The Brazilian government designed and implemented a plan to increase computer access in their schools. They believed that the development of computer skills in K-12 was essential to the long term success of their students and their society. Their goals were to (1) create a more skilled workforce, (2) decrease the digital divide, (3) diversify the economy by enhancing the utilization of technology and (4) increase the participation of their citizens in the "knowledge-based economy".
Linux was implemented to provide technology access and today 35 million students in over 50,000 schools throughout Brazil are now enjoying 523,400 new computer stations, in what has become the largest digital inclusion project in the world. See Brazil Case Study
In 2008 the Government formally ordered that only free Linux-based software should be used for IT education in high schools. The project is being implemented in over 12,000 schools and involves 5 million students and 200,000 teachers. India has some of the best computer and software learning schools in Asia and produces some of the best programmers in the world. Kerela in India is one of top regions in the country for IT learning, from primary schools to technical schools and universities.
In addition to use open source in schools the Kerala government has established The International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) in order to assist in the development and training of software developers. The institute establishes mentoring programs and relationships with organizations engaged in open source projects.