September 2010
CK-12 Foundation Newsletter
Home of the Digital FlexBook
In This Issue
CK-12 Participating in Watershed Study with Brigham Young University
High School Students Making Impressive Contributions to FlexBook Content
NEW CK-12 Titles
Teacher Quote
Check it Out
In the News
Notes from Neeru
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List
CK-12 Participating in Watershed Study with Brigham Young University entitled Utah Open Textbook Project:  Determining the Cost Effectiveness and Educational Effectiveness of Open Textbooks

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 unit.

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
High School Students Making Impressive Contributions to FlexBook Content

CK-12's 2010 Interns

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 Stanford University.

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 by the end of September.

Bradley, 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,
NEW CK-12 Titles released this Month:

CK-12 Middle School Math - Grade 6

CK-12 Advanced Probability and Statistics-Second Edition

CK-12 Life Science - Middle School

CK-12 Biology

CK-12 Chemistry - Second Edition

CK-12 Earth Science - High School
Teacher Quote

"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

Users can also search for CK-12 on Apple's iBookstore for available FlexBook titles.

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.

In the News

NASA Teams With 'CK-12' Foundation on Physics FlexBook

Cool Cat Teacher and eSchool News talk about FlexBook beta versions for iPad use

School CIO's "Back Office" section addresses the updating of CK-12's content licensing type to Creative Commons By Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
Notes from Neeru

With 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