Integrator Voice: Leaving Textbooks for Flexbooks

May 13, 2015 | Champions


 Megan Di Giovanni has been a Technology Integrator in Chesterfield County, Virginia for two years. She previously taught middle and high school English in Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia for six years. She is an avid Twitter follower, a voracious reader, wannabe world traveler and a proud army wife. Her greatest joy in life comes from spending time with her husband and her children.

Today’s advancing educational technology offers teachers an opportunity to redefine the way they teach and, in turn, how their students learn. Each student comes into a classroom with different skills, background knowledge, interests, and abilities, and it is difficult for a teacher to meet the needs of each student daily and to bridge gaps in their prior knowledge. However, web based resources are beginning to provide opportunities for teachers to challenge students to explore content, experience learning, and demonstrate knowledge in different ways.  CK12’s Flexbooks are a dynamic way to organize and curate those types of web based resources, both those developed in CK12 and across the Internet. As a technology coach, I am excited about the opportunities that  CK12 is creating for teachers to provide truly individualized instruction and develop a new resource for their students.

A Flexbook, Not A Textbook

Flexbooks reimagine traditional methods of learning by providing a textbook that utilizes multiple modalities. Instead of just reading a textbook, students experience learning in ways that meet their needs and interests. Teachers are not confined to the traditional limits of a printed textbook nor do they have to follow a prescribed organization of their content. One of the teachers I am working closely with to integrate CK12 is writing and developing curriculum for her World Language classroom. She teaches French, and one of her greatest challenges is to get students speaking the language. A traditional textbook requires the teacher to supplement the written words with other recordings, and when a student goes home their textbook is a static guide rather than an interactive and dynamic resource. CK12 helps teachers reimagine what’s possible in their classroom using a Flexbook.

Customized For Any Content Area

Additionally, Flexbooks are customizable by an individual teacher, a working group, or even an entire department to foster collaboration. Teachers can work together to develop multiple Flexbooks and share them. Creating teacher and student editions is easy because Flexbooks allows you to edit portions that are specifically targeted for teachers while retaining content that students need. Although there is no shortage of material to get you started, you are not limited to information found on the CK12 website. You can upload notes, worksheets, diagrams, charts, and include links to external websites. After working with Google Drive users who create interactive worksheets, presentations, and a variety of other instructional aides and activities, I quickly saw the value of Flexbooks integration by allowing teachers to create their content and then include a link. The previously mentioned French teacher is including links to Google presentations, Google Docs, as well as YouTube videos, mp4 recordings of native speakers, and online flashcards. She is customizing and reimagining her textbook and classroom with CK12.

Flexbooks Are An Answer

For teachers looking to enhance their instruction and provide students with a resource that can be tailored to their specific level and content, Flexboooks from CK12 are the answer. It has given teachers that I work with the ability to organize great resources, create new learning aides, and give them a tool they want to use with students. It is a great curation resource for any subject area and any teacher who is ready to leave the traditional textbook behind.