in Watershed Study with Brigham Young University entitled Utah Open Textbook Project:
Determining the Cost Effectiveness and Educational Effectiveness of Open
Before digital textbooks can gain
true widespread adoption in the K-12 market, educators and administrators need
to have a better understanding of what kind of impact they would be expected to
have on students, teachers and, of course, budgets.
Within a year, we will all have a
better understanding of the impact of digital textbooks thanks to a study being
conducted by a Brigham Young University (BYU) team led by Dr. David Wiley, a pioneer and academic of
open education. Dr. Wiley is an
Associate Professor of Instructional Psychology and Technology at BYU, where he also serves as the Associate Director of the Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling with responsibility for the research
BYU launched this study, funded by
the Hewlett Foundation, to examine the potential for deeper learning and cost
savings when Open Educational Resources (OER) textbooks replace traditional
textbooks in public high school science classrooms. A total of 9 teachers and more than 1,700
students are participating in this study.
The study is using CK-12 middle school and high school science FlexBooks,
including CK-12 MS Earth Science, CK-12 HS Earth Science, CK-12 Life Science, CK-12 Biology, CK-12
Biology - Honors, and CK-12 Chemistry - Second Edition as seed content for teachers. These teachers met with the CK-12 team to
review the FlexBooks process over the summer and have been "flexing" the
content to create customized instructional materials for their classes, most of
them printed versions, with a small portion using online versions of the books.
The BYU research team will be evaluating the ability of both printed and
online, open resource texts to potentially promote deeper learning by students
in the study with those in comparable classrooms. The metric at the end of the school year will
be to compare CRT (Criterion-Referenced Test) scores of students in the study
with those in comparable classrooms.
They are also carefully evaluating costs associated with the use of OER
texts, monitoring all affiliated expenses so an accurate comparison of using
OER textbooks versus traditional textbooks in a public high school setting can
be achieved by the end of the year.
"This study will provide the hard evidence that everyone is seeking about
the actual impact of OER textbooks and CK-12 is proud to participate," said
CK-12 Executive Director Neeru Khosla. "The results will hopefully support our belief that digital textbooks have
a profound impact on teacher empowerment, student involvement and enhanced
learning, not to mention the tremendous cost-savings."
CK-12 will provide periodic updates
on the progress of this study in this newsletter. To follow it more closely, visit http://utahopentextbooks.org/.
School Students Making Impressive Contributions to FlexBook Content|Pictured above are some of CK-12's hard-working interns. Top
row, from left to right: Philip Ramirez, Jodi So and Nicole Crawford. Bottom
row, from left to right: Rupali Raju, Suparna Jasuja and Lizhi Fan.
A brain trust of high school
student interns has been making valuable contributions to FlexBook content
through CK-12's summer internship program. These interns, many of whom have worked with CK-12 for two-plus summers,
are bringing their knowledge, energy and, most importantly, their unique
perspective to FlexBook projects ranging from a mini-FlexBook on the
Pythagorean Theorem, to the creation of more than 100 YouTube videos designed
to serve as supplemental physics lessons.
"Our interns bring so much to the
table when it comes to framing our content in a manner that will really resonate
with students, whether it assisting with filming of educational YouTube videos
or demystifying organic chemistry," said Neeru Khosla, co-founder and executive director of
CK-12. "The CK-12 team loves working
with these passionate and knowledgeable young adults and we're gratified to
have many of them leave here as published FlexBook authors."
While CK-12 interns receive class credits for
their work, many of them get involved because they share an appreciation for
the digital textbook movement.
"I interned at CK-12 because I was
drawn to the overall message of making educational materials more accessible
and the fact that the FlexBooks are offered for free is great," said Laura
Swenson, a 2010 graduate of the Castilleja School in Palo Alto, Calif. and
author of the Pythagorean Theorem
FlexBook. Laura's next stop is
Lizhi Fan, a junior at Gunn High
School in Palo Alto also commented on the vision of CK-12. "I chose this internship because it was a
nice opportunity to give back -- creating free textbooks is a great cause,"
said Lizhi. "It opened my eyes to many
new things - before my internship I had never even heard of digital textbooks."
Lizhi also noted the challenging
nature of the work and the extensive research that her project required. She and a fellow Gunn student Kieran
Gallagher contributed to the From
Vitamins to Baked Goods: Real Applications of Organic Chemistry FlexBook,
which will be available for download in late September. As a team, the two transcribed the content to
wiki, incorporating high resolution images.
For sheer volume, it's hard to beat
Bradley Eckert and Nicole Yee, both seniors at the Menlo School in Atherton,
Calif., who worked with Menlo School physics teacher Dr. James Dann on the filming
of 120 physics lessons now posted on YouTube. They will also be incorporated into The
People's Physics Book on www.ck12.org by
the end of September.
who will be serving as a teaching assistant for Dr. Dann this year, believes
these video-format mini-lessons will be incredibly helpful for students. "These videos are great because Dr. Dann
shows how to solve the problems and actually demonstrates principles, so I
think they're very useful, especially for students who may need an extra
tutorial on certain topics," said Brad. The
students are also featured in a few of the videos, like this one on pressure,
featuring Brad, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvYp1nYBqP4.
"What I really like about CK-12 is the alternative
delivery mode. I would love all my students to have individual on-line
use if we had one-to-one computers. However, it still works well sharing
portions of the text and the video clips with an LCD projector for group
discussion and work on scientific vocabulary - and then giving them printed
individual readings." Danielle Alvarado, Biology teacher, Leadership
Public Schools - San Jose
Check it Out: FlexBooks Now Available for Download on
Popular e-Book Readers|
FlexBooks are now available for free on the Kindle e-book reader. Search for "CK-12 Foundation" at Amazon.com.
Users can also search for CK-12 on Apple's iBookstore for available
Titles available on these e-book readers include: CK-12 Calculus, CK-12 Geometry, CK-12
Advanced Probability and Statistics, CK-12 Trigonometry, CK-12 Biology I -
Honors, CK-12 Earth Science, CK-12 People's Physics Book Version 2, CK-12 21st Century Physics: A Compilation of Contemporary and Emerging
Technologies and CK-12 Algebra I.
Notes from Neeru|
September comes the air of "back to school" excitement for students and
teachers, from kindergarten through college. The CK-12 team has had a busy summer and is approaching the new school
year with great enthusiasm, as we broaden the scope of our collaborations, like
our work with BYU and David Wiley, and expand the number of states in which our
FlexBooks are standards-aligned. We are
now up to ten states in total (Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois,
New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Utah). The standards-alignment process is rigorous but so critical to CK-12
because our goal is to meet the standards of all 50 states. No small feat, to be sure, but the effort is
worth it, as it demonstrates the credibility and quality of our FlexBooks to
all and allows for a smoother and quicker path to FlexBook adoption by teachers
and administrators across state and school district lines. Quality content is critical to our mission of
widespread adoption and we are proud of the gains we've made in standards
correlations. To all the teachers
reading this newsletter, I wish you a rewarding and productive academic year,
and to all of our supporters, I thank you and encourage you to be our
"ambassadors," helping to spread the word about FlexBooks to anyone you think
would be interested in the content or the cause. Please share any suggestions or stories about
your FlexBook experience by emailing us at email@example.com.