April 2011

CK-12 Foundation Newsletter
Home of the FREE Digital FlexBook
In This Issue
CK-12 Seeking Summer Interns
Open Content Calculator
LPS College Access Readers Now Available
Teacher Quote
In the News
Notes from Neeru

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CK-12 Seeking Summer Interns

CK-12 is seeking stellar summer interns (high school, college and graduate students can apply) to work on a variety of projects. These internships offer high-level hands-on learning experiences at an award-winning organization committed to 21st century education.  Whether you're seeking an opportunity to build your resume, see your name credited in our digital FlexBooks, or get community service hours, our innovative and inviting team environment could be an ideal fit. 


Internships are paid, unless a student is working to fulfill community service requirements.  Students must commit to a minimum of 8 weeks, working either mornings or afternoons on Monday through Friday. Click here for more details: - or here for more details about the Graduate Intern program:  


Please email your cover letter and resume to  


Here are some insights from past CK-12 interns:


"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 is currently attending Stanford University.


Lizhi Fan, a junior at Gunn High School in Palo Alto when she interned at CK-12 commented, "I chose this internship because it was a nice opportunity to give back -- creating free textbooks is a great cause.  It opened my eyes to many new things - before my internship I had never even heard of digital textbooks."

Open Content Calculator


CK-12 and many other open content advocates believe that for digital textbooks to 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 budgets.  


To that end, CK-12 has been participating in a watershed study with Brigham Young University entitled Utah Open Textbook Project:  Determining the Cost Effectiveness and Educational Effectiveness of Open Textbooks. 


An early outcome of this collaboration is the creation of the Open Content Calculator.  This user-friendly calculator is based on research conducted in the Department of Instructional Psychology and Technology and the Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling at Brigham Young University in conjunction with schools in the BYU Public School Partnership using open textbooks originally provided by This research was funded in part by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.  For additional information about the Utah Open Textbooks Project, visit


We invite you to use this calculator to help determine if piloting open content digital textbooks would make sense for your class or your school system.

LPS College Access Readers Now Available For PDF Downloads at

In past newsletters, we've shared information on the College Access Readers created by Leadership Public Schools (LPS), a network of four urban charter schools in the California Bay Area, leveraging CK-12 FlexBooks. The College Access Readers give teachers proven strategies for embedding literacy instruction throughout a standards-based college preparatory curriculum, a valuable tool for LPS, where the majority of students enter 9th grade reading far below grade level but all participate in college preparatory courses. 


Specifically, LPS teachers are embedding literacy scaffolds directly into CK-12 Algebra, Geometry, and Biology materials to create flexbooks they call College Access Readers. Students with higher-level literacy skills use the original CK-12 content flexed to LPS scope and sequence. The lowest readers will soon access the materials through text-to-speech versions or Spanish translations.


In essence, the College Access Readers address one of the most pressing needs in urban education today:  how to teach rigorous content and literacy skills simultaneously. 


College Access Readers are now available for PDF downloads at CK-12:  

Teacher Quote

"Thanks for creating this awesome resource for teachers.  I have started using it in my Middle School Life Science class and am loving the versatility it provides."


Kelly Eiseman, Homelink Battle Ground, Battle Ground , WA

In the News

Open Education News - April 12, 2011

Transforming Urban High Schools Through OER 



Mindshift Blog  - April 15, 2011

Five Ways Silicon Valley is Changing Education 


Voice of America Special English Education Report - April 26, 2011 

Going Digital: California's Textbook Project 

Notes from Neeru

There has been growing debate over whether OER should use commercial licensing.  If this is an issue you feel passionate about, please check out the online debate being led by UNESCO/OER Foundation "Should OER Favour Commercial Use?"  At CK-12, we believe strongly that licensing should be a choice, not a mandate.  We believe that the choice should represent a true spirit of openness for both the users and those providers who take the time and consideration to share their expertise with all. 


As many of you know, CK-12 made the decision last summer to update our content licensing type from Creative Commons By-Attribution-Share-Alike to Creative Commons By-Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike (  After seeing how well the new license works for other Open Educational Resources (OER) consortia like MIT's Open Courseware ( and Carnegie Mellon University's Open Learning Initiative (, we felt taking this same approach was appropriate and more beneficial to our donors and content users.  These entities are still "open" and represent the sharing spirit.   We can now better protect the hard work of our donors and give them the security of knowing that commercialization is not taken without our permission.  This change in license has in no way affected how people enjoy and use our content.  All may do so with the same freedom to share and change to their requirements as they see fit.  The only difference is that we ask them to approach us before they decide to commercialize our content.


The online debate continues through May 6th so I do hope you'll share your viewpoints and experiences in this lively and informative dialogue.