Ok, so I don' t want to jinx this. I really didn't expect this to happen so soon. El Paso, Texas (of all places) has taken the step to become an e-Book learning environment, and also bringing in OpenSource Education, partnering up withcK-12. cK-12 posted on their page:
Today, we’re excited to announcethe launch of ourpartnershipwith El Paso ISD, Texas to help them transition from printed to digital e-books across the district!
No I haven't forgotten this
Twenty-First Century Learning is a commitment to prepare the EPISD student body for the future by using the best in technology and techniques. As technology becomes a fabric of our daily lives, it is imperative to be in our classrooms to be used effectively and efficiently. EPISD is the first large school district in Texas to take the bold and innovative step into the world of teacher-generated electronic books.
We collaborated with EPISD to understand the district teachers’ needs and how technology can help us meet those challenges. So, starting in October of this year, the district is doing away with paper textbooks and replacing with digital textbooks called FlexBooks. These are standards-aligned fully customized digital flexbooks built using the CK-12 platform, especially for EPISD.
The change will start with select high school science classes, with more school subjects to follow. EPISD has already created flexbooks for biology, chemistry and physics.
El Paso TX is Doing It Right!
The process started when a committee of teachers gathered over the summer to put together the first FlexBook. They collaborated on the CK-12 platform, built science flexbooks to serve their needs. This is just the start however. Eventually, every teacher will personalize the digital text to fit with his/her lesson plans, making each book tailor-made. All free, all online.
“We are talking about user-generated content. A panel of our science teachers handpicked the information in the electronic test to custom fit the curriculum. It is a huge step, the days of outdated information are over,” said EPISD Superintendent Juan Cabrera.
FlexBooks are free. The information gathered in the electronic books is of no cost to the district. Twenty-First Century Learning is more than an academic initiative. It is a shift in the way the El Paso Independent School District teaches students and delivers knowledge. This collaboration allows teachers to meet students’ needs by customizing the curriculum for them in the digital flexbook they create.
“Teachers should have a choice in designing their own curriculum to meet students at their own learning pace and in the modality choice of their learning. Partnering with EPISD on science books to start, and gradually to more subjects, we feel we can give teachers the flexibility they need and want from a content creation perspective” says Neeru Khosla, Exec Director of CK-12. < end announcement
Which is Great! Now...just a couple of questions-- though I know the answers. TEKS is still alive and well in Texas. There are things the Texas School Board wants to take out of the learning, like Climate Change -- because they worship Koch more than they worship Jesus. I mean, seriously, even the Pope is up on Climate Change. That is about as Right wing as you can get, yes?
With the flexbook formats however, they will be able to change, and add what they wish. They will also be able to keep up with Common Core if they wish, easy to do even if you aren't using it as a curriculum guide. Typically cK-12 has focused on Algebra I, Geometry, Probability and Statistics, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. But really that's only because no one is writing ELS, History or Social Studies -- so Texas will be adding those and it is a real shame that they won't be good to anyone else. Actually, that's not true. We can use the content, and edit Moses back out of the Constitution.
While I'm surprised it was El Paso, I'm very excited it has happened. Texas has long been looked to for what direction school text books are going to go, and other states tend to go in that direction (California as well, they are larger buyers). The impact, however, of having El Paso be the one to jump in, has the potential to be much greater than if, say, Los Angeles or Fresno made the move first.
Here's hoping that all of the tech works for the kids. This is an exciting moment. Koodos to cK-12.