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Today's guest post comes from David Wiley. Wiley is a professor at Brigham Young University and a Shuttleworth Fellow, working to lower the cost and improve the quality of education.
In 2010, with funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, we began the Utah Open Textbooks (UTOT) initiative.
The goals of UTOT are to replace expensive high school science textbooks with collections of open educational resources (OER), while researching the impacts on student learning and costs. Naturally, UTOT takes the CK-12 Foundation's excellent science textbooks as theirstarting point.
Today's guest post comes from John Brishcar, a CK-12 Champion, with a whole lot of passion for teaching and integrating technology to improve the classroom experience for his students.
I wrote my own science book. No, I’m neither a major publisher, nor a great typist. I am a 6th grade science teacher that is frustrated with a resource that is static, heavy, expensive, and out of date the day it was delivered to my school – which was nine years ago. So what do you do? You either use what you have, purchase new, or “creatively acquire” resources. I chose to “creatively acquire” resources! I wrote a science book.
When we first started our venture into the realm of free digital textbooks, our goal was to pioneer the creation and distribution of the "next generation" textbook. With the FlexBook, a free comprehensive, fully customizable, standards-aligned digital textbook complete with embedded multimedia objects, we met that goal. But realizing new technologies like Apple's iBook Authoring platform would allow for new types of interactivity in our textbooks, we let our creative juices flow. Part of maintaining the philosophy of creating the "next generation" of anything is continuing to innovate. So, on we work - trying other exciting ways of bringing the best learning experience to students worldwide, all completely free.
“What can digitization do for learning?” This is the fundamental question that has driven the team at CK-12 and motivates us to innovate. It stimulates a much more intriguing thought process than the more mundane “how do we digitize a textbook?” or “how do we get curriculum into the virtual world?” We don’t just ask ourselves what it would take to make great content accessible to all students, but rather we question what would make the content more meaningful to the students.
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