Digital textbooks — get ahead of the game!

What will you do this summer? Read, travel, visit family and friends? Although we all have plans, many of us will eventually work on curriculum. As you work, have you ever wondered when, or if, you would be moving from a traditional textbook to a digital textbook?

How cool would it be to design a textbook that is more than just a print resource, but an interactive one as well. A textbook that can be updated when the content changes. Does the idea of creating a digital textbook seem overwhelming? Believe it or not, it may be easier than you think to get started. There are a variety of Open Educational Resources (OER) textbooks that can be freely used and/or modified.

The CK-12 Foundation is just one Open Educational Resource available that provides teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse without charge. CK-12 is a non-profit organization that creates and aggregates high quality, curated STEM content that is fully customizable. Their library includes over 5,000 math and science concepts and FlexBooks with multiple modalities for all learning types, including videos, images, reading, simulations, and real world applications. To learn how to begin creating your own digital textbook, check out their getting started videos.

Another OER is, which is a free, core academic web site that delivers rich multimedia content—videos, animations, and simulations—on general education subjects. Teachers can project HippoCampus content during classroom learning and assign it for computer labs and homework. You could also opt to have students use the site in the evenings for study and exam prep.

There are other OERs available to you. Phil Lacey, Director of Instructional Technology for Niles Township High School District 219, has compiled a comprehensive Open Educational Resources list.

  1. Content – full courses, course materials, content modules, learning objects, collections, and journals.
  2. Tools – Software to support the creation, delivery, use and improvement of open learning content including searching and organization of content, content and learning management systems, content development tools, and on-line learning communities.
  3. Implementation resources – Intellectual property licenses to promote open publishing of materials, design-principles, and localization of content.

If you prefer, you could even create a book from scratch. One option is to use our LibGuide program. To get an idea of what your digital textbook would look like, check out this Math Resources LibGuide. What’s really nice about LibGuides is the fact that you can work on individual pages (chapters) and you only publish pages when you are ready. So, you can slowly build your textbook over time.

If you’re interested in getting started and want help, just let Kellie or I know.


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