When some serious Silicon Valley heavyweights get together with Stanford academics and experienced K-12 educators to start producing high-quality, open content, chances are good that you’ll at least find a few neat ideas.
This week, the efforts of the Foundation seem to have paid off, as they provided electronic textbooks through a California initiative that were clearly more aligned with state standards than any electronic texts from major publishers. According to a report from the California government,
Of the 16 free digital textbooks for high school math and science reviewed, ten meet at least 90 percent of California’s standards. Four meet 100 percent of standards, including the CK-12 Foundation’s CK-12 Single Variable Calculus, CK-12 Trigonometry, CK-12 Chemistry and Dr. H. Jerome Keisler’s Elementary Calculus: An Infinitesimal Approach.
This appears to be the first major evaluation at a state level of e-textbooks. As Governor Schwarzenegger noted,
“California’s Digital Textbook Initiative gives school districts high-quality, cost-effective options to consider when choosing textbooks for the classroom - not only during these difficult economic times but in the years to come.”
Again, quoting the press release,
In California, local high school districts are responsible for adopting standards-aligned textbooks for use in the classroom. This report helps districts identify the materials that best meet the needs of their students...The reviewed digital textbooks are available for schools to use this fall.
It remains to be seen how the major publishers will respond and whether they will be able to match what amounts to an open-source textbook approach that can so successfully address state standards and student educational needs.