Welcome to Virginia's 21st Century Physics FlexBook: A Compilation of Contemporary and Emerging Technologies, a result of Virginia’s FlexBook Pilot Project.
This project was motivated by the confluence of two independent desires and capabilities:
- The recommendations of a 2007 Standards of Learning (SOL) review panel of practicing scientists and engineers that VA SOL should include contemporary and emerging science content as well as laboratory activities that incorporate industry state-of-the-practice equipment; and that Virginia should support an open-source software platform, such as a Wiki, for the timely publication of teacher-developed curriculum.
- The mission of the CK-12 Foundation to provide a collaborative online authoring environment that enables the production of free and open content aligned to curriculum standards and customizable for each student.
This particular pilot FlexBook aims at several outcomes:
- Supplementing currently used Virginia physics textbooks by making valuable contemporary and emerging physics ideas available to all teachers at a single URL.
- Making laboratory activities that employ industry state-of-the-practice equipment available to all teachers.
- Providing a path for continuous improvement from teachers themselves through comments and new ideas after using a chapter with their physics classes.
This pilot FlexBook project seeks many other outcomes:
- Can working teachers provide useful contemporary, emerging, and laboratory curriculum content in addition to their normal teaching duties?
- What intellectual property (IP) issues may be barriers to or facilitators of open-source content?
- Is the CK-12 FlexBook a good open-content platform for Virginia’s purposes?
- What additional features would make the CK-12 FlexBook even more useful to Virginia?
- What quality assurance process is required to make appropriate content available to all teachers and students?
- Is a book of many chapters by many authors in many voices readable and comprehensible by most students?
- Does this FlexBook provide valuable contemporary and emerging physics content that supplements current physics SOL?
- Is the content readily available to ALL of Virginia’s physics teachers at a single Web-based source?
- Can we provide timely and valuable feedback to CK-12 that will help them continually improve their FlexBook system for teachers’ use?
- Can we provide suggestions from Virginia’s teachers and students to CK-12 regarding Web 2.0 needs?
- Can we supply Virginia’s education policy-makers with concrete examples of the 2007 physics panel’s recommendations to help inform their 2010 review of Virginia physics SOL?
- Does this project give us a sense of the qualitative value of e-formats replacing some textbook purchases?
- Can we determine whether to extend this type of project to the instruction side of the DOE and to other disciplines?