When it comes to technology on campus or in schools, there are really only two things to know – you’re either lucky to be inside the classroom or you’re on the outside praying to find a way in. Software, databases, and media technologies are every bit a part of the instructional kit today as books and study guides. In the competition for attention and implementation, though, what makes it to the classroom is what changes results for student and instructors alike.
Educational publishers in 2015 recognize the need to build a digital platform that includes not only textbooks but also a variety of tools and other content. The sources for all that content can be proprietary and privately-developed as well as so-called Open Educational Resources. As defined by the Open Educational Resources Commons, OER are teaching and learning materials that are freely available online for everyone to use, whether you are an instructor, student or self-learner.
At Boston-based Boundless, technologists team with teachers to bring original OER materials to a wide audience. Boundless isn’t building a backlist of published texts so much as a community library.
“The benefit of working on a platform like ours is that you’re not publishing a Word doc or a PDF or a static Web page. You’re actually publishing into a platform dedicated and built to facilitate content creation in the educational space,” says Ariel Diaz, Founder & Chief Executive Officer at Boundless. “What that means is you can publish it once. You can collaborate with colleagues to help improve that content. We track every single version and every single change that’s made so that over time, you can see how the content is changing and improving. And because it’s in our platform, you can seamlessly integrate to all of our educational tools, which include bundling into classes, into other customized books and … integrating into the leading learning management systems.”
Before Boundless, Ariel co-founded YouCastr, an online video platform that enabled hundreds of high schools to broadcast and sell live sports and other events to parents and the community. In addition, Ariel founded a consumer web consulting company and worked in management consulting. With content created by a community of educators, who work side-by-side with subject-matter experts, Boundless provides ready-to-use online content, study materials, and assessment items intended to make teaching more efficient and learning more effective.