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An Array of Digital Textbooks

The range of digital textbooks for K12 students is as great as the resourcefulness of those creating them. Here are a few of the efforts leading the way.

CK-12 Foundation ( has created a tool for producing and distributing textbooks online and is at the forefront of an "open source" movement to issue K12 textbooks for free. Currently this nonprofit organization has more than a dozen titles, including six available through California's new Digital Textbook Initiative.

CourseSmart (, a five-year-old joint venture of five major textbook publishers, sells electronic subscriptions to almost 7,000 textbooks, mainly to college students and at up to half the cost of paper editions. Some high schools have already tapped that collection for upper level and AP courses.

Florida Virtual School (, long a provider of online, distance learning, has just released the Conspiracy Code game, an online program that has students play lead characters exploring an interactive, 3D environment that ranges from the Revolutionary War to the war on terror. FLVS teachers serve as facilitators and assess the work of students, who-upon completing the extensive program-receive full credit for high school American history.

OdysseyWare ( has developed more than 50 online courses for grades 3-12 that cover the major subject areas. They are used at over 1,200 schools across the country. While focusing on the individual needs of at-risk students, a growing number of districts have begun using OdysseyWare courses for the general school population.

McGraw-Hill Education's CINCH Math ( is a new K6 all-digital math curriculum in textbook format that maximizes whiteboard technology and student response devices to support teachers the way they want to teach and students the way they want to learn. Subscription-based, lessons in CINCH Mathematics can be customized to meet state standards or district requirements. Teachers also can customize lessons based on individual and classroom needs.