K-12 Curricula and Textbooks

  • CK-12 Textbooks for grades 6-12
    The state governments of both Virginia and California are recommending open-content textbooks from CK-12. Virginia organized the writing of the 21st Century Physics text, and California has aligned the content of nine of the textbooks to their state standards.
  • FreeReading.net preK-6 grade reading curriculum
    The Florida State Board of Education has approved FreeReading.net as an appropriate reading curriculum for any Florida elementary school. This online curriculum has also given home schoolers as well as public educators access to professional-quality reading activities and a supportive reading education community.
  • Project Gutenberg: a center for digitized classics
    Project Gutenberg has been digitizing out-of-copyright books for twenty years, and they now offer over 33,000 e-books to read on electronic devices such as iPads, Kindles, cellphones, and computers. Their affiliate sites offer over 100,000 free e-books. Their most popular downloads include required school texts by authors such as Shakespeare, Twain, Poe, Dickens, Austen, Plato, Melville, Tolstoy, and Joyce. This is a treasure trove for the history and English class! For a wider selection, try the Digital Book Index.
  • HippoCampus provides high-school level resources
    HippoCampus provides hundreds of short audio/visual presentations (some like narrated slideshows) from Algebra I to American Government.
  • Free Textbooks Internet Library is a directory of open texts
    Wear your dark glasses to keep from color overload on this page, but the many links to high-quality open textbook resources make up for the eyestrain. Don't judge by the appearance but rather follow a few links. This site demonstrates the global breadth of open textbook initiatives.
  • The Kahn Academy contains over 1200 video tutorials
    Bill Gates calls Sal Kahn his favorite teacher for his young son. Kahn has singlehandedly developed and posted tutorials on a wide range of topic primarily focused on middle and high school math and science (but expanding). The Kahn Academy is an example of how one person can be a powerful influence on learning across the world. His 20-minute lectures are models of effective instruction that embraces both accessibility and rigor.
  • The California Open Source Textbook Project (COSTP) plans to save $400 million!
    The open source textbook project intends to eliminate the perennial shortage of textbooks for California students, saving roughly $400 million per year across the state every year. The high profile of this initiative suggests both the critical need that open textbooks address and the practicality of the approach.

Higher Education Textbooks

  • The Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER)
    CCCOER has over 500 textbooks accessible according to discipline. To give you an idea of the respectability this project has earned, de Anza Community College was awarded a $1.5 million grant to become a sustainable center for open content learning materials, and the leader of CCCOER has been named the U.S. Undersecretary of Education responsible for higher education.
  • The Community College Open Textbook Collaborative (CCOTC)
    CCOTC focuses on raising awareness and adoption of open textbooks as a way to increase access to higher education by lowering the cost of materials. The site contains several brief compelling videos explaining and advocating open textbooks. Their list of related organizations and initiatives makes this site a key hub in open content educational resources.
  • It Takes a Consortium to Support Open Textbooks in Educause Review
    Educause article by Judy Baker, CCCOER Director and Dean of de Anza Community College give, background, rationale, and process behind CCCOER. Baker is now a U.S. Undersecretary of Education.
  • Building a Custom Textbook in 11 Days: a case study
    A University of Michigan computer science professor remixed material from open content texts to create a custom textbook for his new course. Students then used the unmiversity's Expresso Book Machine to print on-demand copies for about $10. The whole process is an informative model worthy of dissemination.
  • A Call for Open Textbooks article reported by Inside Higher Ed
    The article reports on an interesting survey of student preferences in higher education textbooks.

Academic Open Content Journals

  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
    Over 5000 academic and professional journals are indexed. The goal of DOAJ is to increase visibility and use of open access scientific and scholarly journals that have a quality-control system to vet content.
  • ArXiv.org:Cornell University e-Paper Repository
    Over 500,000 academic articles in physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology and statistics. It's the authoritative academic site for physics.
  • Open Access Directory
    The OAD attempts to be a one-stop clearinghouse for information about open access documents in academia and government. It contains academic articles about open access as well as comprehensive lists of open access journals and other documents. This is a big project!

Open Content Courses for University (and High School)

  • MIT OpenCourseWare offers 2000 courses
    MIT was the first major university to place all of their courses online for free access worldwide. While their OpenCourseWare does not offer access to MIT's faculty or degrees, it supports independent learning with study guides, syllabi, and videos of lectures for undergraduate and graduate courses.
  • Top 25 OpenCourseWare Universities
    MIT is top and is best known for engineering, science, and computer science. The others offer high-quality courseware across a broad spectrum of discipline and expertise.
  • Stanford's Engineering Everywhere: outstanding introductory courses
    Legendary engineering powerhouse Stanford University offers unparalleled introductions to computer science, artificial intelligence, robotics, linear systems, and other popular courses like iPhone application programming.
  • The OpenCourseWare (OCW) Consortium of colleges and universities
    The OpenCourseWare Consortium links to about 200 universities across the world that provide open access to some or all of their courses. This site documents how large, global, and diverse the selection of high-quality open courses has become.

Multimedia Open Content Resources

  • Everystockphoto.com contains over 5 million photos
    All of the photos on the site may be personally used with only attribution. Some have limits on commercial use, remixing, and share-alike. Check the license if you want to modify or profit from any photo. It's a perfect site for teacher materials, student assignments, and school websites.
  • Jamendo || OpenMusicArchive || FreeMusicArchive
    There are several open content music sites that offer content under the Creative Commons license. This would be usable for any student or teacher project, including those posted permanently on Websites. Check the license for specific audio you wish to use for profit.
  • The Internet Archive contains hundreds of thousands of materials>
    The Internet Archive is the world's largest repository of texts, music, speeches, and videos that are freely available for personal use. Some, like the Greatful Dead concerts may not be used for profit. Check the license if you want to disseminate or profit from the material.
  • The Library of Congress (LOC) is the world's largest physical library
    LOC has digitized a large and growing part of it's collection of high-quality and historic texts, photographs, audios, and videos, and has made them available over the Web at no cost. Those owned by LOC are in the public domain, but be aware that some private owners have allowed their collections to be viewed via LOC, but they retain commercial and distribution rights. Read the fine print if you want to disseminate or profit from LOC materials.

About this Page

Description: Just as the world's most comprehensive encyclopedia, Wikipedia, is freely available, some of the best textbooks and other educational resources have been digitized and made available at not cost to schools or students. Most educators and schools are either unaware or somewhat suspicious of these initiatives. This page is designed to provide links to these resources and brief annotations about each one.

The open resources include ready-to-use textbooks aligned with California state standards, Web curricula aligned to Florida standards, digitized classics (in e-book formats), instructional videos, and freely usable images and videos. All of the resources are freely usable in teaching and learning activities.

Links are Organized in These Categories

  • pK-12 resources
  • Higher education resources
  • Academic & professional journals
  • University & high school courses
  • Multimedia resources

Knowledge ~Daniel Chester French