OER Update: Open High, NROC, CK12

I’ve seen a lot of good open content for grades 6-12 in the few days.  Last week I was on a panel at iNACOL with DeLaina Tonks of Open High of Utah who leads a really impressive team piloting innovative practices and building engaging content.  They recently released their CC licensed OpenCourseWare, a free 9th-10th grade curriculum.
Gary Lopez and his team at the National Repository of Open Content have long supported Hippocampus, a great open source of high school math and science.  With support of Gates and Hewlett, they are rolling out an exciting developmental math sequence at NROCmath.
I visited Neeru Khosla and her talented team at CK12 yesterday.  They have developed dozens of very good open high school math and science textbooks.  Inexpensive tablets have boosted their traffic.  There are about 40,000 iPad Flexbook downloads a month and a half a million Kindle downloads since the launch of Fire. They are also working on a student-centered math platform,FlexMath that, rather than a full textbook, is a sequence of lessons and exercises.   College Access Readers are being used with great success at Leadership Public Schools by “Coupling accessible texts with teaching strategies that meet the needs of diverse learners.
The CK12 team hosted a lively discussion of the variables a content develop must consider including:

  • compression of the content market and growth in related services
  • shift from flat and sequential to adaptive and engaging
  • appropriate use of extrinsic rewards (i.e., can/should we trick kids into learning?)
  • BYOD and the multiple device day (see 6 reasons you should BYOD)

Neeru and I went to India together last fall.  I appreciate that she takes a global view of the education challenge and appreciate her contribution to the field through CK12.
And, in case you missed it, here’s a dozen places to educate yourself online for free.  Marc and Angel assembled an extensive mostly post-secondary list of open and free resources.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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1 Comment

jim miller

Haven’t yet tried the others but yeah CK 12 (http://goo.gl/aMikZ) has been quite brilliant in its offerings. I love the fact that it focuses on STEM subjects, providing perhaps the most well researched, well written content in a customizable FlexBook platform. What that does is enable remarkable personalization of content, so I read what I need to in the time I want to. Also being downloadable on any interface, tablet, mobile or PC, FlexBooks do make it rather easy to access info. Plus it has embedded videos to aid learning… I think Sal Khan has also made some video lessons for them. Check ‘em out.

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