Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Flat World Knowledge Partnership

We got great feedback about our announcement a couple of weeks ago about doing open content textbooks for K-12, thanks for funding from the US Department of Education. How were we going to top that one?

By announcing we're doing open content college textbooks with Flat World Knowledge, a cool for-profit startup. I mentioned meeting one of their key people at BYU last month in a recent Beneblog post.

The announcement got a ton of pickup: more than a dozen stories came out, including one at Publishers Weekly.

Why am I so excited? Because open content scores on so many counts. For Bookshare, these are high quality textbooks that are free to everybody on the planet, that we can adapt to be highly accessible for people with disabilities. Because they are covered by open content licenses, we don't have to have people prove they have qualifying disabilities. Parents, teachers, teachers-in-training, people with disabilities, people who can't read, people who just want to hear a book talk: they can all have these books for free!

And for potential Bookshare users, it's a way to try out our content and see how it works without jumping through hoops. Looking forward to demonstrating some of these cool new textbooks when our crack Bookshare production team has turned them into exemplars of exciting and fully accessible textbooks!

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