Press releases | Education 20.05.2015

Education for all: Siemens Stiftung makes teaching materials available under open license

Teachers and students are now able to access some 300 different teaching materials via the Siemens Stiftung media portal in the form of Open Educational Resources (OER).

The increased use of digital media in education is boosting the importance of online platforms offering high-quality lesson content. Quality, the way in which the content is made available and the options for using it all play a key role. Siemens Stiftung has chosen to provide its teaching and learning materials under an open license as “Open Educational Resources” (OER). The foundation has now made the first 300 individual media items available from its media portal in German, English and Spanish. In contrast to traditional media, OER can not only be downloaded for use in lessons, but also edited, passed on and republished. In providing OER, Siemens Stiftung is supporting UNESCO's call to enable everyone to participate in high-quality education wherever possible. The offering will be continually expanded over the coming months.

The media portal contains some 4,800 items of teaching and learning material on science and technology topics for preparing and conducting lessons. Only registered users have access to this media (currently around 30,000 users from more than 100 countries). Its use is subject to special terms and conditions that restrict reproduction and editing by users. For the 300 resources placed online under the open Creative Commons license (CC BY-SA 4.0 international), however, it is a very different story. Any Internet user can access and download these, edit them as needed and make them available to other people. The 300 media resources largely comprise instructions for teachers and students for learning through discovery in science and technology education. The experiments suggested cover topics from the areas of energy, the environment and health, and are suitable for children and young people in different age groups.

“Despite a wealth of OER initiatives around the world, few high-quality teaching and learning materials are available under an open license. However, open media offers great potential for individually supporting learners based on their abilities and level,” enthuses Dr. Nathalie von Siemens, Managing Director and Spokesperson of Siemens Stiftung. “We see it as a way of improving education and career opportunities for children and young people, particularly in developing and emerging countries.”