Photo: Virginia Secretary of Technology Aneesh Chopra

Virginia Secretary of Technology Aneesh Chopra and Secretary of Education Tom Morris today announced the release of a request for collaboration (RFC) to career and technical centers, school divisions and institutions of higher education calling for assistance in the development and publication of an open source physics "Flexbook" for Virginia.

The Virginia Physics "Flexbook" project is a collaborative effort of the Secretaries of Education and Technology and the Department of Education that seeks to elevate the quality of physics instruction across the commonwealth. Participating educators will create and compile supplemental materials relating to 21st-century physics in an open-source format that can be used to strengthen existing physics content. The state is partnering with CK-12 on this initiative as they will provide the free, open-source technology platform to facilitate the publication of the newly developed content as a "Flexbook" -- defined simply as an adaptive, Web-based set of instructional materials.

"Better preparing students for post-secondary education and the work force is one of Governor Kaine's goals with particular emphasis on STEM education," Morris said. "This public-private partnership will demonstrate the potential of Web-based collaboration to create modern-day physics content that will be available at no cost," added Chopra.

"We need to move instructional materials from the 19th century into the 21st century. The CK-12 approach can reduce the cost of instructional materials while making them more customizable for each locality and each student," said Neeru Khosla, founder of CK-12. "This pioneering effort by Virginia will help students in Virginia and elsewhere get better prepared for tomorrow's world. We are very excited about this partnership."

"As chairman of the JCOTS Open Education subcommittee, I applaud the efforts of the Kaine administration in the creation of this physics Flexbook," said Sen. John Watkins. "This aligns with our subcommittee's efforts to bring our educational content into the 21st century, and I am hopeful that this will be replicated across other disciplines."

The Virginia Physics "Flexbook" project is seeking statements of participation from school divisions and others that have teachers willing to contribute physics content to the open source platform and participate in the pilot. More information is available online or contact Tristen Pegram at Tristen.pegram@governor.virginia.gov.