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ERIC Number: EJ894652
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 1
ISSN: ISSN-1529-8957
The 21st Century Physics Flexbook
Batterson, Jim; Nugent, Lan
Principal Leadership, v10 n5 p76-78 Jan 2010
Two panels of practicing chemists and physicists met in summer 2007 to review Virginia's content standards in the high school capstone courses of chemistry and physics. Those panels were sponsored by the Virginia secretary of education and NASA, and the findings and recommendations were meant to help inform the 2010 septennial review of Virginia's science standards by the state board of education. Based on the panels' findings, a wiki seemed to be a 21st century approach that would disseminate the best thinking of the top teachers so that it is readily available to their colleagues. Under the leadership of the then--Virginia Secretary of Technology Aneesh P. Chopra, several wikis were examined but found lacking in their transparency to teachers. The CK-12 Foundation (, however, had recently developed the "flexbook" concept, a flexible or adaptable textbook that is implemented as a freely available software product on the Web. The flexbook, although more formal than a simple wiki, would allow teachers to develop curricula as book chapters using either a simple markup language or Microsoft Word. All material in the flexbook would be licensed as Creative Commons ( and thus be generally available to use by all teachers. The flexbook met all of the panel's requirements. The Commonwealth of Virginia and the CK-12 Foundation formed a partnership in which CK-12 would provide the software platform and technical support and Virginia would provide the content of the physics flexbook. In response to a request for collaborators, some 25 potential contributors volunteered to participate, and 13 were selected to write 10 chapters of the pilot edition. The pilot flexbook was titled "21st Century Physics Flexbook: A Compilation of Contemporary and Emerging Technologies." The title reflects the flexbook's purpose as a supplement to the standard high school physics text that focuses on only contemporary and emerging physics and methodologies that might be added by the board of education as a result of its 2010 review. The article concludes that the physics flexbook platform allows teachers to become a real community of learners by sharing their original ideas for new curricula. It is widely, freely, and globally accessible. Teachers can create chapters during the academic year, during the summer, or while on sabbatical. Chapters can be customized by individual readers or used as published. The vetting process was designed to balance adequate assurance of technical veracity with speed of publication.
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Virginia