Last month, the Solar Foundation, a grantee of our Environment Program, released their National Solar Jobs Census for 2014, showing huge growth in employment related to solar energy—up 86% over the last five years. Minh Le, director of the Solar Energies Technology Office at the Department of Energy, marked the release with a blog post.
A few highlights:
As of November 2014, the solar industry employs 173,807 workers, representing a growth rate of nearly 22% over the previous year.
And the good news doesn’t stop there. Here are just a few key findings from this year’s census:
-Solar employment has grown by 86% in the past five years alone.
-One out of every 78 new jobs created in the U.S. over the past 12 months was created by the solar industry.
-The solar industry is adding workers at a rate nearly 20 times faster than the overall economy.
California's venerable state parks—from sunny Los Angeles beaches to towering redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains—are under "serious stress" and suffering from declining budgets, shorter hours, higher fees, a $1.3 billion maintenance backlog and outdated technology.
That's the conclusion of a new report scheduled for release Friday by a blue-ribbon state commission made up of business leaders, government officials and park experts.
The California Parks Forward Commission says the parks system can be fixed but that a dedicated source of new funding must be found.
Nice piece by Sharon Noguchi in the San Jose Mercury News on the inroads being made by open educational resources:
"We're just at the initial stages of a revolution in education," said Matt Chamberlain, principal of Venture School, an independent study school in the San Ramon Unified School District. Selecting and managing online material is challenging, "but to put resources in kids' hands is very exciting."
Added Venture biology teacher Maureen Allison, "There's so much potential, so much rich stuff out there."
The effort to collect, edit and spread that material has been quietly incubated by philanthropies like the Menlo Park-based William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, other nonprofits and now a consortia of state governments. It has made headway in school districts like Riverside Unified, where 40 percent of the curriculum comes from open educational resources, and in private and budget-conscious charter schools.
Interesting post from longtime Open Educational Resources scholar David Wiley on what's he's learing about the theoretical benefits of OER and the empirical research that supports those theories:
I’m continuing to learn an incredible amount as I work with Lumen Learning, supporting institutions as they go through the process of replacing traditional textbooks with Open Educational Resources (OER), and as I simultaneously continue my work with the Open Education Group conducting empirical research on the effects of OER adoption by faculty. While I’m learning many things down “in the weeds” of implementation, at a higher level I’m understanding more deeply and appreciating more thoroughly how the adoption of OER in place of traditionally copyrighted educational materials is literally better for everyone involved. Adopting OER in place of traditional textbooks truly is:
Better for Students
Better for Faculty
Better for Institutions
Better for Society
Here’s a sample of what I’m learning together with these marvelous teams of people.
For those interested in understanding more about OER and what their adoption would mean for our educational system, the whole thing is worth reading.
Bliss will be sharing his perspective on the worldwide OER and open textbooks movements, participant perceptions of OER, and examples of effective application of OER in higher education.
The University of Northern British Columbia will be hosting a livestream event to connect TJ Bliss, Program Officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, with the people throughout the province interested in Open Educational Resources (OER), such as the Open Textbook project at BCcampus. Bliss will be discussing the projects funded by the Hewlett Foundation, background on the worldwide OER movement, student and faculty perceptions about OER, efforts within the Open Textbook campaign, and examples of open educational practice within higher education.
Cyber Initiative Program Officer Eli Sugarman, writing for Forbes:
On Tuesday, President Obama announced a series of new cybersecurity measures to improve information sharing between the private sector and government, modernize law enforcement’s approach to tackle cybercrime, and require national data breach reporting. These are all important steps towards what it’s increasingly clear is really needed: a comprehensive policy playbook to guide U.S. and other governments’ response to serious cyber incidents, like the recent hack of Sony Pictures. The United States can no longer afford to respond in an ad hoc and uncertain manner to serious cyber incidents because the Internet plays a critical role in the lives of millions of Americans and billions of individuals worldwide. Instead, it must work with cybersecurity experts in the private sector and civil society, as well as other nations, to put in place robust policy frameworks and doctrines to guide both offensive cyber operations and responses to cyber-attacks. Failure to do so will leave both public and private assets unnecessarily vulnerable to future attacks.
Nice report from NBC Bay Area's Joe Rosato, Jr. on last month's reopening of Boeddeker Park in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood. The park's extensive renovation was made possible by a grant from the Trust for Public Lands, which the Hewlett Foundation supported through our Serving Bay Area Communities grantmaking.
In August 2013, the Hewlett Foundation’s Education Program engaged ORS Impact to conduct an evaluation of the Deeper Learning portfolio’s role and influence on education advocacy policy. The evaluation report is now available on our website.
Earlier this year, Evaluation Officer Amy Arbeton and two colleagues from ORS Impact presented the report's findings at the annual American Evalaution Association conference.
Nice interview at Redstone Strategy Group's blog with Cathy Casserly, who helped start the Hewlett Foundation's Open Educational Resources (OER) work, and later served as CEO of Creative Commons, on the past, present and future of OER:
What has the OER movement learned over the last 10 years?
When we first released an openly-licensed textbook in the marketplace, if it didn’t look as polished as a publisher’s textbook, it was perceived to be of lower quality. While there may be 350 pages of great content, it wasn’t in the format that teachers and students could use easily. It didn’t have nice photos and pretty layouts. We realized we couldn’t jump too far ahead of where the system is today. So we focused on supporting ecosystems that could produce high-quality, open materials that are aligned with standards, and look like the materials that teachers are used to buying from publishers.
We wanted to leap-frog to our longer-term vision in which teachers and students actively produce materials, and not just consume them. In many ways, OER is not just about providing content; it’s about the process of developing them in an open ecosystem. And that process is also about participatory learning and collaboration. This is the longer-term vision we wanted to jump to, but we learned that we had to build a bridge for teachers from the materials they are familiar with to OER.