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Development Of An Open Source High School Text For Engineering

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Engineering in High Schools

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.425.1 - 13.425.7



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Paper Authors

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Darryl Morrell Arizona State University

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Chell Roberts Arizona State University

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Dale Baker Arizona State University

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Tirupalavanam Ganesh Arizona State University

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Annapurna Ganesh Mesa Community College

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Rachelle Beard Arizona State University

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Janel White-Taylor Arizona State University

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Neeru Khosla CK12 Foundation

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Murugan Pal CK12 Foundation

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John Kobara CK12 Foundation

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Stephen Krause Arizona State University

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Meera Vaidyanathan CK12 Foundation

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Development of an Open Source High School Text for Engineering

1 Introduction

This paper describes the development of a novel high school engineering textbook. This development is unique within engineering in several different ways. First, the text is a Flexbook – an open-source book developed with the support of and within the context of the CK12 Foundation; the Flexbook format and open-source licensing allows anyone to extend and customize the book. Second, writing the text was a collaboration between university engineering and education faculty with input from CK12 personnel; this collaboration has led to a textbook structure that supports constructivist approaches to learning. Third, the text conforms to a draft K–12 standard for engineering content.

CK12 is a non-profit foundation launched in 2007 to reduce the cost of textbooks for the K–12 market in the US and worldwide; CK12 intends to achieve this goal using an open-source, collaborative, web-based infrastructure. CK12 has developed the concept of a Flexbook as a living document that can be updated, expanded, and re-purposed to support specific standards and classroom needs. Several variants of the same text may exist at the same time, drawing on a set of common core elements; a Flexbook is stored in a digital format, and using the infrastructure provided by the CK12 Project, can be compiled and printed to meet the needs of an individual class, school, or district. Because the book content is distributed under an open-source license, anyone is free to update, expand, and customize it. The engineering text will serve as one of a number of “seed” textbooks for the CK12 Foundation; these books are intended to form the nucleus around which communities will form that use, extend, and adapt the material.

A team of university faculty was assembled to write the book. This team included faculty with expertise in K–12 STEM from the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at Arizona State Univer- sity; engineering faculty from the Engineering Department at the Polytechnic campus at ASU; and faculty from the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering at ASU. Several members of this team had worked together previously on proposals and funded research projects; the development of a high school engineering text was a new endeavor for all involved.

This paper is a progress report on the development of the textbook; the text is not yet available to the public, and we have not had the opportunity to evaluate the text’s strengths and weaknesses in a classroom setting. However, we feel that this progress report is valuable in that it identifies many of the issues arising in collaborations between engineering and education faculty, and it describes many implications for authors of materials destined for flexible open-source implementations such as the Flexbook.

2 Collaboration

This project is a collaborative effort between the engineering and education faculty and was strongly influenced by CK12 personnel. This arrangement was extremely rewarding but posed some significant conceptual challenges for the participants. These challenges included understanding and bridging the cultural differences between groups, addressing the significant tension between the desire for a traditionally structured textbook and the desire to support constructionist approaches

Morrell, D., & Roberts, C., & Baker, D., & Ganesh, T., & Ganesh, A., & Beard, R., & White-Taylor, J., & Khosla, N., & Pal, M., & Kobara, J., & Krause, S., & Vaidyanathan, M. (2008, June), Development Of An Open Source High School Text For Engineering Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3794

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2008 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015