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CK12 - Free Textbooks, Videos And Concept Maps
For teachers, getting all of the textbooks and other resources to support a diverse student body is expensive. The CK-12 Foundation seeks to make education more affordable by providing teachers and students with access to free textbooks and standards-based STEM content. It all exists in a collaborative learning community called the FlexBook Platform.
All of the resources provided by CK-12 and access to the FlexBook Platform are free. Students and teachers simply create an account which may be done with a unique username and password or through an existing social media account. Once the account is created, figuring how to use the collaborative platform can be a little tricky, but the foundation provides regular webinars and a helpful video to get users started.
Once the account is created and you learn the basic layout of the FlexBook Platform, you can browse subjects by category. The website focuses on STEM content, so the majority of material relates to math and science fields, although it also offers a quality section for SAT prep. Once you choose a subject, you can browse the content in three different ways: concepts, concept maps and FlexBooks.
CK-12 Subject List
Clicking on a concept leads users to a mini lesson, exercises and resources related to that concept. Most lessons come with a video attached. The exercises are multiple choice and as you answer questions, your progress for that concept is tracked and visible on your dashboard when you log in. On the details page, teachers will be able to see what grade levels the lesson and material Is geared towards and whether it correlates to any standards.
One of the more unique options from CK-12 is the concept maps. These maps give you an overview of all the topics or concepts for a given subject and place them in a mind map or outline format. For example, the larger concept of “Area” is broken down into six different subcategories and then further broken down by subcategory so students and teachers can focus on the specific areas they need help in or can quickly find any areas they may have missed.
Area Section of Geometry Concept Map
FlexBooks are the free textbooks offered by CK-12. All textbooks may be viewed online or downloaded in PDF, Kindle or iPad format for students and teachers to access offline. The textbooks are designed to provide information to students in a simple format and include a lot of graphics and other resources to support student learning.
For STEM teachers who want to use a more self-directed curriculum or who want to try a flipped classroom approach, where students read the material and complete basic practice at home while reserving class time for more hands-on activities and projects, CK-12 will be an ideal resource. The website also allows teachers to provide students with multiple resources for learning content, instead of being stuck with one expensive textbook. Unfortunately, not all of the materials relate to the Common Core Standards yet and only six sets of state standards are offered, so teachers will have to do some work to determine how the resources align with their standards and can fit into their classrooms.
August 2, 2012 by Tracy Zeiger
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