What is the Open Source Movement?

The open source movement is a social and business model that rejects secrecy and centralized control of creative work. It promotes transparency and unrestricted sharing of compiled computer programming language instructions, called source code.

The movement is credited with advancing technology at a breakneck pace. It has also spread beyond software to hardware.

It’s a social movement

The open source movement is a social movement that promotes the development of software as a public good. Its goal is to democratize the production of technology by removing barriers to entry. The movement is driven by a sense of community and mutual support. It also challenges the boundaries of private and public goods.

The free software movement was formed in the 1980s by a charismatic programmer named Richard Stallman. He believed that proprietary software denied computer users the freedoms that they deserved. This included the freedom to study and modify the program. He started the GNU project to develop a free UNIX-like operating system.

The movement has since expanded to include hardware. Many hardware manufactures now publish their product design specifications so that anyone can use them to make the product. This allows for more competition and innovation. However, the movement has not been without its problems. Its activist approach can alienate commercial software developers.

It’s a philosophy

The open source movement has a philosophical side, and it’s not just about free software. It’s about sharing information, collaboration, and a desire to create more value than you take in. These principles are also important to social change, and they can help you make more informed decisions about your business.

The movement began in the 1960s when computer programmers shared code they had written (hacked) with one another. Eventually, different technical cultures developed, with small groups of individuals sharing, modifying, and expanding code to solve common problems.

Today, open source is a global movement with commercial traction. Its success in operating systems and other critical software has surprised many analysts, and large corporations are now embracing it. This trend has created a new business model that is changing the way we think about software.

It’s a business model

A successful open source business model requires a company to understand what kind of value it can provide. This includes analyzing the market to determine whether there’s a demand for open-source software. For example, the World Wide Web was made possible by Tim Berners-Lee and Marc Andreessen’s decision to release their code under a free software license. This model can be applied to any type of software.

Another way to make money with an open source project is to offer add-on features. This can include subscriptions or a “software as a service” solution. This allows companies to get a return on their investment while retaining control of the core technology.

However, this model isn’t for everyone. Many people argue that a company should not be allowed to profit from open-source software. For example, github is a great platform for developers to collaborate on projects, but they also sell the software as a service. Opening up the source for github would cut into their profits.

It’s a way of life

The open source movement is a community of programmers who collaborate to create new technology. It is a model that has become a fundamental part of software development and has also spread to other areas of business. Many websites use open-source software. It allows developers to share code and build better, more stable applications. It also allows developers to work together to solve bugs and improve features.

Most open-source software projects start with a single programmer or small team. These programmers contribute their time to testing, writing documentation, and building the project website. They are known as contributors, and they are rewarded with the satisfaction of developing quality software.

The open-source philosophy also applies to other kinds of work, such as research and education. For example, Wikipedia, a free, user-edited online encyclopedia, is based on the open source principle. It also applies to Web-based social networks, such as MySpace and LiveJournal. These communities have established a code of conduct that protects participants from harassment and discrimination.

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Teachers Can Field Test the OpenSciEd Science Curriculum

Teachers can field test the materials and participate in professional learning centered around goals that promote important shifts in classroom instruction. Participation should prioritize educators from non-dominant groups.

Massachusetts is one of ten partner states participating in the national OpenSciEd project to create a high school curriculum that is designed for NGSS and aligned with the NM STE Frameworks. Teachers in 5 Massachusetts districts have field tested and provided feedback on middle school units.

What is OpenSciEd?

OpenSciEd is a free, open source curriculum initiative launched to address the need for high-quality, standards-aligned, full-course science instructional materials that teachers can use in their classrooms. While the initiative started at the middle school level, the goal is to eventually create an entire K-12 science curriculum.

Each OpenSciEd unit centers around a specific phenomenon and follows a logical scientific storyline. The units are designed to motivate students to think deeply, plan investigations, and develop evidence-based explanations. They also support the development of crosscutting concepts and STEM skills.

Activate Learning curriculum experts provide extensive field test product implementation support and certified professional learning for teachers before and during the use of each unit. The professional learning options are designed to meet teachers where they are in their learning journey and can be delivered in-tandem with implementing the materials. Typically, professional learning is offered in virtual synchronous formats.

How does OpenSciEd work?

OpenSciEd brings together a team of partners, including the AESD Network, to support teachers as they implement and use the NGSS-aligned science curriculum. The AESD Network supports the statewide project through serving as the curriculum management team and providing professional learning opportunities; developing structures for teacher networking across the state; and informing the development of additional instructional and assessment materials.

The AESD Network also serves as one of the certified destitution partners for the OpenSciEd middle school science field test. Teachers across the state are using these units to engage students in scientific thinking that moves from memorizing facts (mechanistic understandings) to figuring things out through phenomena-driven instruction that includes ELA/literacy and math integrations.

The OpenSciEd materials are based on research and have been designed to work in a wide range of classroom contexts. A rigorous research methodology was used to develop the units, which were then field tested with educators in ten partner states. The field test was supported by the BSCS Science Learning, Boston College, University of Colorado Boulder, Dana Center at the University of Texas, Digital Promise, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

What are the benefits of OpenSciEd?

OpenSciEd is an NGSS-aligned curriculum that transforms science education. Its pedagogical approach shifts teaching to student sensemaking by using driving questions and scientist circles. The pedagogy is supported by unit-specific professional learning so that teachers can experience the pedagogical shift firsthand and then implement it in their classrooms.

The pedagogical approach requires that students construct their own understanding of real-world phenomena by asking and answering scientific questions and designing investigations and collecting and analyzing data. OSE also emphasizes the crosscutting concepts and practices that are essential to all sciences.

The consortium of creators, led by the nonprofit curriculum developer BSCS Science Learning Team and the Next Generation Science Storylines project out of Northwestern University, started building the OpenSciEd materials in 2017. They recruited ten partner states and field tested three prototype units with teachers. These teachers helped create the scope and sequence, design specifications, and instructional model for the middle school curriculum. The consortium also created teacher training instructions that are available for free and aligned to each unit.

What are the challenges of OpenSciEd?

A critical factor in determining if any curriculum implementation will be successful is the level of support and training given to teachers. If a school does not have leadership that supports the new approach to science instruction, high-quality teacher training and empathy for current workloads, it can be very challenging to implement a curriculum with a major shift in instructional practice.

OSE uses hands-on, relevant, and inquiry-based lessons that engage students as scientists to build their understanding of real-world phenomena. Each unit is part of a coherent sequence anchored in driving questions that follows a logical science storyline, and the lessons are designed to motivate students to think deeply and develop evidence-based explanations.

During the initial design and writing of each unit, professional learning developers create resources that both familiarize teachers with the details of that specific unit as well as supporting their learning about a key aspect of the OpenSciEd approach generally. The focuses are selected based on feedback from field test teachers, who report a range of issues that need to be addressed in these learning opportunities.

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The Benefits of Using an Open Source Textbook

Open educational resources (OER) are free and publicly available learning materials. These include textbooks, courses, and modules. OER are usually released with an intellectual property license that permits their use and adaptation.

The promise of this new approach led California to pass two pieces of legislation in 2012. This legislation will fund the development of digital textbooks that can be used by its schools.

Cost Savings

Using open source textbooks can be much cheaper for students than traditional books. For example, an algebra class of 50 students could save $5,400 if they switched to an open source textbook instead of a standard textbook. Another benefit of using open source textbooks is that they allow faculty to customize the texts for their courses. They can also add in supplemental material to help students understand the materials.

Rising textbook prices have prompted many professors to seek alternatives. Nonprofit organizations have been developed to bring greater resources to bear on the task of creating and distributing open source textbooks. These nonprofits are reliant on private charitable donations at least initially, but they are working toward a long-term self-funding model through the sale of additional study tools such as flash cards and audiobooks.

Research suggests that open source textbooks are effective in achieving the same learning outcomes as commercial textbooks. The studies have compared student outcomes and perceptions when using either a conventional or an open textbook.


When students are given the opportunity to contextualize course material, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated in class. It can also help them better understand complex concepts and develop critical thinking skills. This is particularly important in a world where globalization and cultural diversity are increasingly prevalent.

Linguists who support contextualization argue that the context in which words are used is just as important as the actual words themselves. If the context is ignored, it can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

Aside from cost savings, contextualization can improve student learning outcomes by helping them to relate the material to their everyday lives. Teachers can do this by providing a meaningful context for the information they teach, and by encouraging students to discuss the material with their peers. For example, a teacher could ask students to research the environmental impact of a local development project. This will encourage them to learn about the real-world implications of their work and help them better understand how science, technology, and engineering affect their communities.


Several accessibility benefits are associated with using open source textbooks. For instance, they are more accessible to students with visual, auditory and physical disabilities. In addition, these books are readable by text-to-speech software and can be converted to formats compatible with assistive technology. However, there are some limitations to using these textbooks. Some of them may not meet the accessibility standards required by law.

The authors of open textbooks should use software that can help them ensure their books are accessible. For example, the free software NonVisual Desktop Access can be used to test a book’s accessibility. It also helps authors create more accessible files by automatically tagging and describing images and tables.

In addition to tagging and labeling content, authors should try to include accessible metadata for each chapter. This will help readers understand the content’s purpose and structure. They should also choose a reflowable format, rather than a fixed layout, when publishing their books.


Unlike traditional books, open textbooks have an “open copyright” that allows them to be modified, revised, and redistributed without being infringed upon. This means that they can be customized for specific courses and students. For example, a calculus teacher can remove a chapter that doesn’t pertain to her class and add a video to keep students engaged.

While the ability to customize and adapt open textbooks is an important benefit, many faculty also value the quality of content. For example, one communication professor cited that the open textbook she adopted was of high quality and relevant to her course.

Furthermore, these textbooks are available for free online or at a reduced cost in print. This makes them a viable alternative to traditional textbooks, which can be very expensive. Additionally, they are easily updated as our knowledge of a subject increases or when errors are discovered. This is much faster than traditional textbooks, which can take months to update.

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