24 February 2009

CK-12 Foundation Re-invents Textbooks

It's no surprise that textbooks are being radically re-invented - after all, in the past they have been hideously expensive, which means that they were an obstacle to learning rather than the contrary. Nonetheless, it's heartening to see more and more ventures attempt to do textbooks properly. Here's another:

CK-12 Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in January 2007. Our mission is to reduce the cost of textbook materials for the K-12 market both in the US and worldwide, but also to empower teacher practitioners by generating or adapting content relevant to their local context. Using a collaborative and web-based compilation model that can manifest open resource content as an adaptive textbook, termed the "FlexBook", CK-12 intends to pioneer the generation and distribution of high quality, locally and temporally relevant, educational web texts. The content generated by CK-12 and the CK-12 community will serve both as source material for a student's learning and provide an adaptive environment that scaffolds the learner's journey as he or she masters a standards-based body of knowledge, while allowing for passion-based learning.

As this makes clear, crucial elements include Net-based collaboration to produce open content that is "adaptive" to students' and teachers' needs. This is clearly the future of textbooks, and any company still banking on selling dead content on dead trees is likely to end up just as moribund.

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