User-Generated Content in Education/CK-12 Flexbooks

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CK-12 Flexbooks[edit]

The CK-12 Foundation[edit]

CK-12 Foundation, launched in 2006, is a not for profit organization with the goal of decreasing textbook materials costs for the K-12 education market in the United States and around the world. CK-12 hopes to be a pioneer in generating and distributing high quality educational content through the use of a web-based open content material, termed the "FlexBook.” The Flexbook is a digital textbook that allows individuals to adapt the content as they see fit. This allows educators to customize their texts to their students’ learning styles, locations, languages, or ability levels. Updating text is also just a click away. Not only is it adaptable, but it is also affordable. CK-12 allows individuals to create, edit, and print textbooks for free. No longer do school districts have to rely on book companies whose products are often expensive and out of date (CK-12 Foundation, 2010). [1] CK-12 flexbooks conform to national and state curriculum guidelines and standards, are available to everyone, and is currently the only free service like this of its kind. Funding is provided by the Amar Foundation and by Vinod and Neeru Khosla. CK-12 focuses specifically on K-12 education. Currently the focus is on middle and high school flexbooks, but the goal is to eventually add K-5 materials as well. [2]


Concept Map of Digital Textbook

Founders of CK-12[edit]

Neeru Khosla - Co-founder and Chair of CK-12 Khosla holds a Bachelor's degree from Delhi University/San Jose State, a Master's degree in Molecular Biology from San Jose State, and a Master's in Education from Stanford University. Evidence of Khosla's passion for education is demonstrated by her role in serving on the National Advisory Board for DonorsChoose, an organization dedicated to addressing the scarcity and inequitable distribution of learning materials in United States public schools. Khosla has been a member of the board at the internationally recognized Nueva School (a school for the gifted/talented) in Hillsborough, California since 1997. She is also on the advisory board of the American India Foundation whose goal is to accelerate social and economic change in India. Khosla has also worked on other open source projects including the Pacific Vascular Research Foundation and Connexions sponsored by Rice University and is one of the founding members of the K-12 Initiative of the D-School (Hasso Plattner Institute of Design) at Stanford University (CK-12 Foundation, 2010). [3]

In a TED presentation, Khosla talks about how textbooks are rigid, outdated, and expensive. The mission of her foundation is to move away from traditional textbooks and present the information in a familiar format that will hold students' attention. She feels the future is in creating "living books" that can be kept current and meet the needs of diverse learners. [4] For more information about Neeru Khosla and her thoughts about open textbooks read the interview by Creative Commons.Creative Commons interview "CK12 Foundation's Neeru Khosla on Open Textbooks"..


Murugan Pal - Co-founder and President of CK-12 Pal holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Thiagarajar College of Engineering, affiliated to Madurai University in India, a Master's in Industrial Engineering from Arizona State University, a Master's in Computer Science from Arizona State University, and was a Doctoral Candidate in Industrial Engineering at Arizona State University. A serial entrepreneur, Pal has worked with or developed numerous firms including Foundation Capital, SpikeSource, the venture capital firm of Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, Asera, Oracle Corporation, and Versant Corporations Object Database. Pal has worked on various application including real-time enterprise technologies, composite applications, service-oriented architecture runtimes, relational databases, object databases, and robotics and manufacturing automation. (CK-12 Foundation, 2010) [5] In this 3 minute video, Pal demonstrates how to create a flexbook. Demo of CK-12s flexbooks

Free Digital Textbook Initiative in California[edit]

California Initiative[edit]

CA Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger

In May of 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger launched a first-in-the-nation free digital textbook initiative for the state of California. ("Gov. Schwarzenegger releases," 2009) [6] California has long been faced with economic problems as well as controversy surrounding textbooks used in public school. Before launching the initiative, California schools spent over $400 million annually on textbooks and, those numbers were expected to rise with the increase in enrollment expected in public schools throughout the state. (California Dept. of Education, 2010) [7] Governor Schwarzenegger’s initiative attempted to address the high cost of textbooks in the ever increasing economic crisis that California is experiencing. The initiative began the process of creating and adapting open source content textbook to be used in the classroom as well as making the textbooks available though innovative licensing tools provided though such organizations as Creative Commons.

Creative Commons LogoCreative CommonsCreative Commons Logo.

(COSTP, 2002) [8] California Open Source Textbook Project (COSTP) was created to address the movement toward free, high quality, digital textbooks that align to California standards and make them available in schools across the state. (California Dept. of Education, 2010) [9] Textbooks are being created using various nonprofit organizations such as CK-12 foundation which uses an online system for “collaborative, custom-collated, self publishable educational content that can be adapted for individualized needs in a digital-age textbook known as a FlexBook.” (CK-12 Foundation, 2010) [10] These open source textbooks created through CK-12 or similar organizations lead to a more technologically savvy educational approach in the classroom as they are downloadable and not only viewable via a computer screen or printed for student use but would also they are able to be projected onto a screen for use in a classroom. ("Gov. Schwarzenegger releases," 2009) [11] The advantages of COSTP are expected to be four fold. One, COSTP hopes to eliminate the $400 million spent on K-12 textbooks across California each year. Second, COSTP hopes to increase the range of content included in the textbooks used K-12 in California Third, COSTP hopes to end current textbook shortages in California. And finally, COSTP hopes to create a portable content holding database that is adaptable with new technologies as they become available. (COSTP, 2002) [12] In a statement given regarding the free digital textbook initiative, Governor Schwarzeneggar said, "As California's budget crisis continues we must find such innovative ways to save money and improve services. California was built on innovation and I'm proud of our state's continued leadership in developing education technology. This first-in-the-nation initiative will reduce education costs, help encourage collaboration among school districts and help ensure every California student has access to a world-class education." (Paul, 2009) [13] California Secretary of Education Glen Thomas stated, "This represents an important first step toward ubiquitous instruction that will help ensure all California students have access to the first-rate education they deserve." ("Gov. Schwarzenegger releases," 2009) [14]

One critical step in the COSTP is ensuring the open source textbooks are meeting the state standards. To ensure the quality of open source textbooks, California Learning Resource Network (CLRN) reviewed open source textbooks to help school districts when dealing with the decision of which textbook to adopt. ("Gov. Schwarzenegger releases," 2009) [15] Governor Schwarzeneggar stated, "From government to non-profit organizations, teachers to textbook publishers, we all have a role to play in leveraging 21st century technology to expand learning and better serve California's students, parents, teachers and schools. This initiative will ensure our schools know which digital textbooks stand up to California's academic content standards - so these cost-effective resources can be used in our schools to help ensure each and every student has access to a world-class education." (California Learning Resource Network, Free digital textbook initiative review results, 2008) [16] Should you be interested in viewing flexbook content more thoroughly you are encouraged to explore the FlexBook Demo video here http://www.ck12.org/about/fbdemo12/. [17]. Created FlexBooks may be shared by printing the books, sharing it as a .pdf file, or providing people with a link to the FlexBook online. The goal is also for FlexBooks to be shared with the CK-12 Community in coming years. Whether you create a FlexBook or utilize an existing FlexBook you should be able to access it within minutes.[18]

Initiative Phase I[edit]

Phase 1 of the initiative looked at the adaptation of high school math and science textbooks in California classrooms. CLRN released their review of 16 free digital textbooks and how they measured up against California state standards in August of 2009. [10] 10 of those 16 were found to meet at least 90% of California standards and 4 of those met 100% of California’s standards. Of those four textbooks to meet 100% of California’s standards, three were CK-12 Flexbooks: CK-12 Single Variable Calculus, CK-12 Trigonometry, and CK-12 Chemistry. (Free digital textbook, 2009). [19] Below is a chart showing how CK-12 Flexbooks measured up against California state standards for that content area. ("Gov. Schwarzenegger releases," 2009) [20]


Textbook Title Number Standards Addressed
CK-12 Single Variable Calculus 32 of 32
CK-12 Geometry 21 of 22
CK-12 Trigonometry 20 of 20
CK-12 Biology 63 of 67
CK-12 Life Science 61 of 67
CK-12 Chemistry 73 of 73
CK-12 Earth Science 38 of 46

Initiative Phase II[edit]

In phase 2, of the initiative, COSTP hopes to generate a list of free or open source textbooks in history/social science including world history, culture, & geography; U.S. history & geography; principles of American democracy; and principles of economics was well as additional mathematics in the areas of geometry, algebra II, trigonometry, calculus, linear algebra, and probability and statistics and science textbooks in the areas of physics, chemistry, biology/life sciences, or earth sciences that align with California standards for high schools. (California Learning Resource Network, Digital textbook initiative phase 2, 2008) [21] Governor Schwarzenegger stated, “I urge content developers to jump on board this second phase and submit social science and advanced math material to help ensure California’s shift to a more advanced and cost-effective education system continues.” (Park, 2010) [22] CLRN will then review the submitted free or open source textbooks to investigate and report on their level of alignment to California academic standards. (California Learning Resource Network, Digital textbook initiative phase 2, 2008) [23] Additional information regarding the phase 2 initiative may be accessed at http://www.ck12.org/flexbook/books/cafreetextbooks/. Below is a chart showing the CK-12 Flexbooks that were evaluated during phase 2 and how they measured up against California state standards for that content area. [24]

Textbook Title Number Standards Addressed
CK-12 Advanced Probability and Statistics 19 of 19
CK-12 Probability and Statistics 8 of 8
CK-12 Biology I (updated) 67 of 67
CK-12 Life Science (updated) 67 of 67
CK-12 Earth Science (updated) 46 of 46

Initiative Phase III[edit]

Phase 3 focused on textbooks that are both online and contain at least one interactive component. Thirteen “books” were submitted to CLRN for review. Six of the submissions met all of the content standards for that subject area and two of the submissions met all but one standard. Overall, ten of the submitted interactive textbooks met at least 90% of the content standards. [25] There are now more than 30 free digital textbooks available that are aligned with California’s academic standards. [26] Below is a chart showing the CK-12 Flexbooks that were evaluated during phase 3 and how they measured up against California state standards for that content area. [27] Resources are evaluated in terms of legal compliance, alignment to the standards, and minimum requirements.

Textbook Title Number Standards Addressed
CK-12 Advanced Probability and Statistics, Second Edition 19 of 19
CK-12 Calculus 32 of 32
CK-12 Biology 67 of 67
CK-12 Biology I Honors 67 of 67
CK-12 Chemistry, Second Edition 73 of 73
CK-12 High School Earth Science 45 of 46

Regarding the success of the program to this point, Governor Schwarzenegger states, "I launched the nation's first digital textbook initiative to provide California's students and teachers with free, high quality open educational resources. We now have more than 30 free digital textbooks available for use in the classroom that can provide a more interactive experience for students and cost districts less- a win win that can allow educators to engage a new generation of tech savvy students."[28]

Initiative Future[edit]

Eventually, California hopes to be able to offer textbooks and other curriculum materials to other outside educational organizations. This would in turn save those other educational organizations money as well as begin to generate revenue for California as they would become available at a small price to those interested organizations. ("California Open Source," 2010) [29]. There are many who feel printed textbooks are becoming obsolete in education due to rapidly changing information and the time and cost affiliated with textbook revisions. Due to this fact and increased access to available technology and technology tools, many believe flexbooks will become the textbooks of the future. Currently the browsers that work best with flexbooks are Firefox 3.0 and above, Internet Explorer 7.x and 8.x, and Safari 3.x and 4.x. CK-12 currently supports the following images: jpeg, png, gif, bmp. [30]

New Initiatives[edit]

CA Open Education Resources Amendment Pending[edit]

Seal of the Senate of the State of California

On May 30, 2012, the California State Senate approved two bills (SB 1052 & SB 1053) that would extend the philosophy of the California Open Source Textbook Project (COSTP) by augmenting the public postsecondary education textbook supply chain. These measures would establish the California Digital Open Source Library, an open education resources repository of "free or low-cost digital textbooks for the (50) most common lower division courses in the UC, CSU and California Community College systems".[31] In addition to the affordability benefits, the Creative Commons licensing will allow teachers the flexibility to "use, remix, add to, or edit as they see fit".[32] These bills were referred to the Assembly on June 07, 2012, and are in committee process at the time of this writing.[33]

"Flexbook 2.0 Beta Program"[edit]

In June 2012, CK-12 Flexbook Program will be available in the form of concepts. [34] Concepts are "small units of content that can be used to learn or review a particular topic." [35] Another new innovation of the CK-12 Flexbook program is the creation of a Understanding Biodiversity flexbook. This book will be created and used by secondary school students. The book will include information on different organisms studied in life science and students in biology courses are invited to participate. [36]

One example of the Flexbooks program being used successfully is at Annoka-Hennepin School District in Minnesota. The teachers used the CK-12 Foundations Probability and Statistics Flexbook to create their own custom textbook. Once the book was complete, students were able to access it online, in the library, or purchase it for $5. Both students and teachers were pleased with the results. By using Flexbooks, the district was able to save money. Creating a Flexbook costs the district $25,000; whereas, purchasing a textbook would have cost $200,000. [37]

References[edit]

  1. Ck-12 Foundation. (2010). Retrieved from http://about.ck12.org/
  2. CK-12. (February 12, 2011). Retrieved from http://flexbooks-wiki.ck12.org/index.php/Main_Page
  3. Ck-12 Foundation. (2010). Retrieved from http://about.ck12.org/
  4. TEDxNYED - Neeru Khosla 03/06/10. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfHd1FpJXbU&feature=related
  5. Ck-12 Foundation. (2010). Retrieved from http://about.ck12.org/
  6. Gov. Schwarzenegger releases free digital textbook initiative phase 1 report. (2009, August 11). Retrieved from http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/12996/
  7. California Dept. of Education. (2010, February 05). Curriculum framework and instructional materials. Retrieved from http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/cf/index.asp
  8. COSTP. (2002). California open source textbook project. Retrieved from http://www.opensourcetext.org/
  9. California Dept. of Education. (2010, February 05). Curriculum framework and instructional materials. Retrieved from http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/cf/index.asp
  10. Ck-12 Foundation. (2010). Retrieved from http://about.ck12.org/
  11. Gov. Schwarzenegger releases free digital textbook initiative phase 1 report. (2009, August 11). Retrieved from http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/12996/
  12. COSTP. (2002). California open source textbook project. Retrieved from http://www.opensourcetext.org/
  13. Paul, Ryan. (2009, May 08). California open source digital textbook plan faces barriers. ARS Technica, Retrieved from http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/05/california-launches-open-source-digital-textbook-initiative.ars
  14. Gov. Schwarzenegger releases free digital textbook initiative phase 1 report. (2009, August 11). Retrieved from http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/12996/
  15. Gov. Schwarzenegger releases free digital textbook initiative phase 1 report. (2009, August 11). Retrieved from http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/12996/
  16. California Learning Resource Network. (2008). Free digital textbook initiative review results. Retrieved from http://www.clrn.org/fdti/
  17. CK-12. Retrieved from http://www.ck12.org/about/fbdemo12/
  18. CK-12. (February 18, 2011). Retrieved from http://flexbooks-wiki.ck12.org/index.php/Frequently_Asked_Questions#When_will_you_have_K-5_materials.3F
  19. Free digital textbook initiative report. (2009, August 11). Retrieved from http://www.clrn.org/fdti/FDTI_Report.pdf
  20. Gov. Schwarzenegger releases free digital textbook initiative phase 1 report. (2009, August 11). Retrieved from http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/12996/
  21. California Learning Resource Network. (2008). Digital textbook initiative phase 2. Retrieved from http://www.clrn.org/dti2/
  22. Park, Jane. (2010, February 2). Ca free digital textbook initiative launches phase 2. Retrieved from http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/20367
  23. California Learning Resource Network. (2008). Digital textbook initiative phase 2. Retrieved from http://www.clrn.org/dti2/
  24. Digital Textbook Initiative Retrieved from http://www.clrn.org/fdti/
  25. Digital Textbook Initiative, Phase 3 Review Results Released. (2010, December 30). Retrieved from http://bbridges51.edublogs.org/2010/12/30/digital-textbook-initiative-phase-3-review-results-released/
  26. Digital Textbook Initiative. Retrieved from http://www.clrn.org/blog/news/index.cfm/2010/8/20/Announcement-Digital-Textbook-Initiative-Phase-3
  27. Digital Textbook Initiative Retrieved from http://www.clrn.org/fdti/
  28. California Department of Education. (December 29, 2010). Digital Textbook Initiative, Phase Three Report. Retrieved from http://www.clrn.org/fdti/DTI_Phase3_Report.pdf
  29. California Open Source Textbooks. (2010). Wikipedia. Retrieved (2010, March 6) from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Open_Source_Textbook
  30. CK-12. (February 18, 2011). Retrieved from http://flexbooks-wiki.ck12.org/index.php/Frequently_Asked_Questions#Which_browsers_are_supported_by_the_FlexBooks_site.3F
  31. California State Senate Majority Caucus. (2012, May 30). Senate passes Steinberg's measures to save millions in college textbook costs [Press release]. Retrieved from http://sd06.senate.ca.gov/news/2012-05-30-senate-passes-steinberg-s-measures-save-millions-college-textbook-costs
  32. T. Barseghian. (2011, December 13). California Bill Pushes for Free Online College Books [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2011/12/california-bill-pushes-for-free-online-college-books/
  33. TotalCapitol.com, LLC. (2012). Retrieved from http://totalcapitol.com/?bill_id=201120120SB1052
  34. CK-12 Foundation Newsletter. (2012 March). from http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs041/1103157460863/archive/1109476497008.html
  35. CK-12 Foundation Newsletter. (2012 March). from http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs041/1103157460863/archive/1109476497008.html
  36. CK-12 Foundation Newsletter. (2012 March). http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs041/1103157460863/archive/1109476497008.html
  37. CK-12 Foundation Case Studies. (2012 April) from http://beta.ck12.org/community/anoka-hennepin-school-district