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Why Open Education Matters

The Why Open Education Matters video competition was launched in March 2012 to solicit creative videos that clearly communicate the use and potential of free, high-quality Open Educational Resources— or “OER”—and describe the benefits and opportunities these materials create for teachers, students, and schools everywhere.

Open Educational Resources are teaching and learning resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits their free use. Open Education Resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools or materials used to support access to knowledge. Open Educations Resources have the potential to improve the quality and reduce the costs of educational materials.

Open Society Foundation’s Information Program partnered with the Shuttleworth Foundation in 2008 to launch the Cape Town Open Education Declaration, which laid out strategies for the development of Open Education Resources.  Currently, the Information Program works in a few pilot countries, including Poland and Brazil, to raise greater awareness of Open Education Resources and advocate for public access to publicly funded educational materials.

While Open Education Resources have been available for the more than a decade, they are not well known, thus Open Society Foundations partnered with the U.S. Department of Education and Creative Commons to develop a video competition to raise awareness of Open Education Resources.  Arne Duncan, the US Secretary of Education, announced the launch of the competition, in this video

Today we are pleased to announce the winners of the Why Open Education Matters video competition.

First Prize

Congratulations to Blinktower, an extremely talented creative agency based in Cape Town, South Africa.

Second Prize

Congratulations to Laura Rachfalski and her great team. Laura is an artist, videographer and photographer from Philadelphia.

Third Prize

Congratulations to Nadia Paola Mireles Torres, a Mexican Open Education Resources advocate and her collaborators from the design firm Funktionell.

The prize winners were decided by a panel of distinguished experts including Davis Guggenheim, Nina Paley, Liz Dwyer, Anya Kamenetz, James Franco, Angela Lin, and Mark Surman.  In addition to the winning videos, all of the qualifying videos are available for viewing on the competition website, All of the videos are licensed CC BY, which means others may distribute, remix, and build upon them, even commercially, as long as they give credit to the creators.

The Why Open Education Matters videos are a valuable addition to explaining and promoting Open Educational Resources and certainly worth a look.

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