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Using Free for Education Material and Open Education Resources

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In some cases, the copyright owner has already given their permission for a teacher to use their material. When this happens, this material is known as ‘free for education’.

The advantages of using free for education material include:

  1. It is free - the department/adminitering body does not pay for the use of this material by teachers.
  2. There are no mandatory notice requirements (although there are still obligations to properly attribute the material)
  3. Access to this material does not generally need to be restricted to students and teachers. Therefore, free for education material can be used on content repositories which are open to the public.

Note that you still need to comply with any applicable licence terms in relation to free for education material. 

A lot of ‘free for education’ materials are Open Education Resources (OER). OER are resources which are not only free for teachers and students to use, but also allow teachers and students to modify and share the materials for teaching and learning.

The Internet contains a variety of ‘free for education’ material and OER which are easy to find and use. A list of free for education materials and OER is also available here.

1. Creative Commons

The most common source of free for education material is creative commons (CC). CC is a set of licences which creators attach to their work. All CC licences allow the material to be used for educational purposes. As a result, material available under a CC licence is ‘free for education’. Depending on the type of CC licence used, a teacher and student may also modify and share the material.

The table below provides a summary of the different CC licences and what is and is not permitted under each licence.


For further information, see the ‘Creative Commons Information Pack’.

2. AEShareNet

AEShareNet is a licensing scheme which is widely used in the VET sector in Australia. For example, resources made available through the Australian Flexible Learning Framework’s Learning Object Repository Network (LORN) use AEShareNet licences.

There are several different AEShareNet licences available, and how a particular work can be used will depend on which licence has been applied to it.

AEShareNet instant licences include:

  1. AEShareNet-FfE - Free for Education 
  2. AEShareNet-U - Unlocked Content 
  3. AEShareNet-S - Share and Return 
  4. AEShareNet-P - Preserve Integrity 

AEShareNet commercial licences may include conditions around:

  • licence fees
  • royalties
  • use, copying, adaptation and distribution of the Learning Object
  • licence duration

Always attribute AEShareNet material as required by the particular AEShareNet licence.

For example:

Sourced from "Licensed to Plumb" toolbox © Commonwealth of Australia 2009 licensed under the AEShareNet-S  (Share and Return) licence

© Commonwealth of Australia  licensed under AEShareNet – S Licence


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