Open Education Resources (OER) "are teaching and learning resources that anyone can share, reuse and remix" and it is predicted that they will play a huge role in helping students gain the skills they will need in the 21st century. Google has been very proactive in "increasing access to a cost-effective, high-quality education" by supporting "the OpenCourseWare Consortium—a collaboration of higher education institutions and associated organizations from around the world creating OER—in organizing Open Education Week 2012, which begins today."
In the following video, Cable Green, Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons, explains the importance of changing policies to ensure that teachers and students will have the resources necessary to legally access textbooks, courses, and find resources for research without having to pay any additional fees. Green ties the spirit of Open Education Week to an ongoing project in which educators are developing "a vast pool of resources on the internet open and free for all to use." He also emphasizes the importance of increasing the amount of "publicly funded education resources that operate on an open license allowing the public to revise, reuse, remix, and redistribute those materials."
To increase awareness about Open Education, the U.S. Department of Education will be launching a video competition that highlights how the movement to publicly funded education that uses open policies will benefit Americans: "The competition will award cash prizes for the best short videos that explain the use and promise of free, high-quality Open Educational Resources—or “OER”—and describe the benefits and opportunities these materials create for teachers, students and schools." Aside from the intrinsic value of making a video about this subject, there are handsome financial rewards for the winners: "Video submissions are accepted until June 5, 2012 and winners will be announced July 18, 2012. Cash prizes, provided by the Open Society Institute, include $25,000 (first), $5,000 (second), and $1,000 (Public Choice Award). Judges include prominent artists and education experts, including Davis Guggenheim, Nina Paley, James Franco, and many others."
The top prize reflects the average yearly salary for Adjunct instructors working in community colleges (adjuncts make approximately $2,000 per 15 week course) so i wouldn't be surprised if a lot of educators decided to compete and get the word out.
Maggie Johnson, Director of Education and University Relations at Google, explains that Google will "[...] be acknowledging OER week through a panel event in Washington, DC, and over on our +Google in Education page, where we’ll be posting articles, and sharing stories and interviews about the benefits of open education resources. Opening these resources to everyone can improve the quality of education while getting more out of our investments in educational resources."