Monday, January 21, 2013

Publishing and Education - Facing the Same Issues

I recently had the opportunity to speak at the Scandinavian Executive Publishing Meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark. The conference was sponsored by Schilling, a leader in providing specialized software and publishing know-how for the publishing industry and is located in Copenhagen. To be honest, I was a little surprised to be invited as a speaker to this event. My topic was introducing our work with blended learning and Khan Academy and my initial thought was, "Really? They want to hear from me?" I was interested to see what other speakers would be on the agenda and wondered how what we were doing fit into the world of publishing. 

Some of the topics covered included digital challenges facing the film industry, globalization, e-readers, and branding, along with social media and new players in publishing. I was there to provide an educational perspective and discuss the impact of online resources in the classroom. It was interesting to note that many of the challenges facing the publishing world are the same ones we are facing in education. Publishers are coping with a rapid change in technology, so are teachers. This is affecting how many of us access reading material, both at home and in the classroom. It’s also affecting how people are publishing that same material. No longer is an author required to go through an agent and find a publisher, they can simply just hop online and self-publish whatever they choose with a better profit margin. Teachers and students are creating their own textbooks, and if you can’t find an answer in a written resource, it’s probably on YouTube.  Who’s vetting the material? How do we point students to the best resources when everyday there are more and more available?

It’s more important than ever that we give our students good evaluation skills. They need to know how to analyze a resource and judge the validity of the information they are seeking. We need to give them skills to be smart consumers of information as well as smart creators. As teachers, we need to constantly model our methods for fact gathering and continue to blend many different sources into instruction. From publishers, we need valid and flexible resources that we can mix and package into our own lesson designs, making learning engaging and adaptable for different students’ needs. In this rapidly changing world of on demand learning, we need to teach our students to demand quality, not quantity, in what they consume, and most importantly, what they create.

By: Kami Thordarson, Innovative Strategies Coach

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