eBooks & OER

SW Educational Development Center expands access to reading by pooling resources

50,000 students in 100+ K-12 schools spread across six rural districts. Very few certified librarians, with part-timers with very little training and support managing most libraries. Almost nonexistent library budgets at many schools.

These were just some of the challenges facing the Southwest Educational Development Center (SEDC) in providing recreational reading resources to students in its expansive service area in southwest Utah.

“Many of our schools are in very rural areas with no access to public libraries or a school library that could meet the needs of students,” Media Mentor Chris Haught said.

A few libraries in SEDC schools had experimented with loaning out devices loaded with eBooks, but this proved unsuccessful for several reasons. There was the time spent physically managing the devices; the inability to provide students choice in what they wanted to read; and the fact that once all the titles on a device had been read, there wasn’t funding to load it with fresh content, so they often went unused.

“We knew that type of model wasn’t going to work,” Haught said. “We needed to find something that would allow us to pool resources together on a regional level.”

Continue reading the full story here from Overdrive.


SEDC is researching the ways we can help district, schools, and libraries incorporate eBooks and eTextbooks into their Library Management Systems (Koha, Alexandrea, etc.) to make both free and purchased eBook titles easily available. We are still very early on in the process, but below are some links and resoruces out there for exploration.

Free & Open Source Resources

  • CK-12 Foundation: CK-12 Foundation is a non-profit organization with a mission to reduce the cost of textbook materials for the K-12 market both in the U.S. and worldwide. As a leading member of the OER movement, CK-12 is using an open-content, web-based collaborative model termed the "FlexBook." With these free, common core aligned and NSES aligned digital textbooks, CK-12 intends to pioneer the generation and distribution of high quality educational STEM content that will serve both as core text as well as provide an adaptive environment for learning through the FlexBook Platform™.
  • Utah state eTextbooks for secondary science courses including 7th grade integrated science, 8th grade integrated science, Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Titles were produced in collaboration by Utah teachers in 18 districts and 4 charter schools, using the CK-12 platform.
  • Flat World Knowledge: "We are the world's largest publisher of free and open college textbooks. With our ever-expanding catalog of top quality books by expert authors, now is your chance to be a hero and help your students save thousands of dollars. Get started today and join the textbook affordability movement." Although these titles are intended for college, they could easily be used by upper secondary teachers. Books are free for teachers to use and customize, and are free for students to read online. Students can also get low-cost printed, eBook & audio book versions.
  • Chegg: "Chegg not only sells cheap textbooks and etextbooks but also rent them too, which saves students a significant amount of money each year. We even launched a new eReader to promote an interactive eTextbook experience for students, while at the same time lessening our dependence on paper books. With a brand new eReader app and an extensive eTextbook catalogue, Chegg has become a significant contributor to the eTextbook revolution."
  • OER Commons: Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse, without charge. Open Educational Resources are different from other resources a teacher may use in that OER have been given limited or unrestricted licensing rights. That means they have been authored or created by an individual or organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights. For some of these resources, that means you can download the resource and share it with colleagues and students. For others, it may be that you can download a resource, edit it in some way, and then re-post it as a remixed work.
  • Open Education Resources, From Kansas Dept. of Education: "This webpage contains open access resources and digital textbooks that are available within the public domain. They are not copyrighted and may be customized, modified, or combined with other materials. It is our hope that this site provides educators with timely and useful resources that will assist in this process of digital learning."
  • iBooks & iTunes U iPad Apps & iBooks Author Mac App: In January 2012, Apple announced three new/improved apps and additional resoruces for the creation &/or purchase and distribution of eTexbtooks. A major part of this announcement was the participation and cooperation of a number of major textbook publishers. They will be creating new high-quality, interactive and engaging eTexbook titles for use on the iPad - for never more than $15 a piece. Apple has also made the iBooks Author app freely available for Mac computers for teachers and students to create their own high-quality eBooks. Lastly, the iTunes U app gives easy access to great podcast and video content from major univeristies and K-12 institutions, along with a platform for creating and distributing online coursework and resources.
  • Weber eBook Library: Weber County School District in Utah has created their own curated, open-source eBook library that is focused on the Utah core, and are making them available to their schools and anyone else who'd like to access their resources. It will automatically detect which file type you need of your title for the device that you are accessing the site from.
  • States using Digital Textbooks: In the 21st century, the concept of hardcover textbooks—dog-eared, highlighted and recycled through the generations—seems positively quaint. And yet, it’s still the norm for most American students, despite the penetration of new technology (think iPods, Kindles and smartphones) into almost every other realm of everyday life. States are coming around on digital textbooks, though, according to a new report from the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), and a few are setting themselves up as early models for best practices.  
  • Rick Gaisford from the Utah State Office of Education maintains a great Symbaloo Mix of many Open Education Resources available.


Commercial Solutions

Other Resources


 eSTRIDE LSTA Grant/Project Overview:

This regional eBook project called eSTRIDE will provide anytime, anywhere, engaging library resources for these underserved students by delivering eBooks for 9th-12th grade students and teachers in the region. Approximately 8,700 students and teachers will have access to these e-resources.  After the first year, the participating schools and the regional office will provide sustained funding to continue eBook collection development.


  • SEDC will enter into a contract with Overdrive to provide the eBook online library resources.

  • The SEDC media specialist will spend 100 hours researching and collecting available free eBook resources.

  • Working closely with the project director and a certified librarian in each of the districts, SEDC will coordinate the eBook selection process (resources from both Overdrive and from free collections will be considered) for the regional eBook repository ensuring all content selected is appropriate and meaningful.

  • SEDC will administer a web accessible online library management system (LMS) to host eBook resources.  SEDC staff will spend at least 100 hours importing eBook resources into this regional LMS.

  • SEDC will provide a minimum of 200 hours of ongoing sustained technology support and make training available for each school librarian and faculty members. This will allow the rural underserved students and teachers to independently select, check out and read eBooks from the regional system that otherwise may not be available to them.

  • After the first year of the project, the participating districts and charter schools will provide on-going funding to support the project.  The funding will be a $300 base for each district plus $.25 per student. For example, Iron District has approximately 3000 students participating, with a base of $300 + $750 ($.25 per student) for a total of $1,050.00.  This funding will be used to purchase regional updated content on a yearly basis.  This grant will be the catalyst to implementing a regional sustainable eBooks model.

More information about the grant can be found here.

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