Articles Tagged with education

748065_piratesScribd is working hard to be the text version of YouTube. Upload some text, tag it, and let the world discover it. It isn’t just unpublished novels – many copyrighted textbooks are already there via unauthorized uploads.

Like YouTube, users can upload anything and the site isn’t under any legal obligation to screen for copyright protection. Copyright holders have to proactively scan and search for their content. Get it taken down today – it can be uploaded again tomorrow morning.

For example, Key Curriculum Press’s “Discovering Advanced Algebra” is available for anyone to download all 888 pages for free (and has been since last August when it was posted by “skihe63”). It has been accessed 8,898 times since it was loaded less than a year ago. It is an older copyright, but still – on Amazon it sells for $25. That is $222k in value.

NFImageImportLast week the New York Times published a piece titled $200 Textbook vs. Free. You Do the Math by Ashlee Vance.

Today we take up the challenge posed in the title and demonstrate that Open Source Textbooks are twice as expensive as books in the K12 market.

Let me state right up front that I’m all for using economic and technology forces to drive costs down while improving services. I agree that Open Source instructional materials have a place and will play a role in coming years in doing exactly this. But they are not the panacea painted by their advocates in the article.

game-zenRichard Carey points to an outstanding article by Shane Snow on using game mechanics to power your business over at Mashable.

This rings true in my personal use of social media (see here re Foursquare) as well as in a lot of the thinking that has gone into what will happen to learning materials as they migrate from print to digital.

The one thing missing from the article that I think is a critical element is narrative thread. Here are some comments of on how that applies to education.

This is creative thinking at work. How do you arrest someone for cleaning a tunnel – even if it looks like graffiti? I imagine the call to Police HQ was pretty amusing and resulted in a lot of head scratching.

It often takes explicit subversion of our preconceptions to reveal our unspoken assumptions about every day life.

Two questions for EBB readers:

MHB photo 1-19-09Guest blogger Mike Baum of Sophia Consulting shares his insights on ISTE 2010.

By Mike Baum

In the old Road Runner cartoons, there’s always a point where the slavering coyote, relentlessly and enthusiastically pursuing his dinner, runs off a cliff. But he hangs in mid-air momentarily, falling only when he realizes there’s no longer anything supporting his feet. Walking the floor of ISTE (nee NECC) last week, I thought I heard “beep beep” from time to time.

NFImageImportOn-line bullying has been a concern as long as the web has been around. Yet only now, with the proliferation of social networks, is it really getting its due. Today’s New York Times has an outstanding article on cyberbullying and the confusing and inconsistent ways that schools are being asked to respond. I highly recommend this well written piece.

The central conundrum is that cyberbullying almost never takes place on school sponsored networks and equipment. Yet the bullying clearly has a direct impact on students, their interactions in the building, and their academic performance.

In old fashioned bullying physical presence was required. Because kids spent most of their day at school a great deal of it happened in the building. That gave schools a clear and well defined role in intervening and managing bullying – even if many didn’t do a great job of it. At least the law and the expectations were clear.

500px-Train_wreck_at_Montparnasse_1895Yesterday the minority in the Senate ended the chances that the Extender’s Bill would pass the Senate. While 57 Senators – a clear majority – wanted to do the right thing a determined minority used procedural votes to force mass layoffs of teachers, firefighters, and police across the country (300,000-500,000).

There are rumors that the two sides are still talking – but most analysts say that any action will likely take place after the Summer Recess in mid-Fall.

It isn’t just education that is affected. Over a million people will be dropped from unemployment rolls. As a side benefit Hedge Fund Managers get to keep paying taxes on their multi-million dollar bonuses at a rate (15%) lower than most of the formerly employed teachers and cops (25%).

My take away from the first day of the Association of Education Publisher’s Content in Context Conference (#ciccon): educators have always needed Education Publishers, but they have never particularly wanted them.

What are you doing at your company to remain necessary in the digital age?

IMG_0070.jpgIt’s been four weeks and my iPad still has that new computer smell. Now that I’ve been using it in my workflow I wanted to post some additional comments on it’s utility in an educational setting.

In general I think my original take holds up well – this is fantastic tool for consuming content, is extremely useful as an outboard content manager, and passable in a pinch as a creation tool (this whole post was written on it).

On a meta level it is truly amazing how natural the “point and do” nature of the touch interface feels. Once you understand the grammar of the device it all just flows. A mouse now feels clunky for most operations other than image processing or massive spreadsheets.

5493502Are trade shows rising from the dead? Last week at CEC and this week at IRA attendance was up dramatically from last year. CEC went from 5,200 attendees to over 6,500. IRA was somewhere north of 12,000 depending who you believe.

Activity on the show floors was strong and sessions were oversubscribed.

Vendors I spoke with said their lead flow exceeded their goals and that they were having productive and valuable conversations. One company even had to FeEx in catalogs after they ran out at end of the first day. Attendees were not tire kickers but buyers looking for solutions.