The 3 key parts of [textbook] stories you usually don’t get.
Matt Thompson’s ideals for journalism overlap substantially with education. News tends to overemphasize “what just happened” and textbooks tend to be limited to “long-standing facts” but both could do with a lot more of “how the author came to know this” and “what we still don’t know.”
When Matt describes the way in which “how I know” actually strengthens and increases the intrinsic interest of “what I know” he could easily be describing a method for writing better textbooks. And he is certainly describing the goal of many courses.
“Instead of hiding the details about how he comes by his information, he makes that the very focus. Along the way, he makes us apprentices in his quest for truth. We finish the article with a highly refined sense of how Gawande has acquired and verified the information he presents, as well as a framework for further inquiry of our own.”
One of many fine insights from this essay.
Studying is different than reading.
InsideHigherEd reports on a new report released yesterday by Princeton on the use of Kindles for class. This all rings true, right down to the reminder at the bottom that we are still looking at (more or less) first generation products.
If one clear consensus emerged from the studies…it is this: For students who were given the Kindle DX and tried to use it for coursework, the inability to easily highlight text was the biggest lowlight of the experience.
“Because it was difficult to take notes on the Kindle, because PDF documents could not be annotated or highlighted at all, and because it was hard to look at more than one document at once, the Kindle was occasionally a tool that was counter-productive to scholarship,” Princeton researchers wrote in a summary of their study, released Monday.
The most worthwhile distinction may be that textbooks are not just another kind of book. They are used in very different ways.
Intro to Social Media
Peter Drucker has convinced me that marketing begins with figuring out what the market needs and doesn’t end until a product is delivering value to a customer. So creating the next generation of textbooks requires attention not only to what is made and how, but also to how the story is told and, increasingly more relevant, how we listen to the community of people who rely on textbooks.
Slow Marketing Movement: A Social Media Workshop for the Bookish offered a 90 minute overview of getting started in social media marketing. Here are some of the tools and services mentioned:
Tools to shorten URLS and track links: bit.ly, ow.ly, budurl
Analytics: Google Analytics, Compete, Mint, chartbeat
Social Media Monitoring: Trackur, HootSuite, Radian6, FlowTown, BuzzStream
And: Scribd, IndieBound , netGalley
That ought to get things started. And I’ll bet the presenters would be happy to consult with us as we all figure this thing out.
Workshop presented by
- kat (at) nextchaptercom.com and
- jesse (at) catalystwebworks.com
The Future of Digital Textbooks
A remarkably well-informed discussion here. Just what we hope for from the TOC conference. One excerpt from the remarkable mind of Nicholas Smith:
Our challenge, and our real opportunity, is to re-imagine what a digital textbook means and to think outside the box about the opportunities that this medium affords us to more effectively engage, educate, and inspire.