Friday, February 13, 2009

Reinventing Textbooks, one more piece

A couple of days, anon, commented "more." This is the first of many responses to that request.

At my other blog, Print in the Communication Ecology the viewers include a bunch of community newspaper publishers. This morning I did a post called Context is King, Long live the King, Part 2.

These are excerpts posted here for my Print industry viewers.
To be clear, my passion is not newspapers. My mission, as I take on my new role in life as a Cranky Geezer, is to fix high school education. Since context and focus are the missing links in high school education, both fascinate me.

The purpose of a newspaper from the business point of view is to make money. An interesting ish problem. The purpose of journalism from civil society's point of view is to "inform, educate, and entertain." That's a very interesting problem because if you rephrase it " to educate and make it fun for the reader," that's exactly what has to be fixed in high school education.
. . .
Just another question to get on someone's radar.
If the purpose of journalism is similar to what's missing in High School education, would it make sense to focus on fixing high school education, instead of merely reporting on it? I hear there are tons of money floating around for whoever can fix education. Plus textbooks are very expensive and everyone agrees they are broken. Consider focused newsprint product that supply context. That might help fix the business problem and the civil society problem with same investment.
Given that there are no new ideas, I have to believe that if a Cranky Geezer like me is seeing this, there are many people in many garages who also see it. It would be great if the legacy players in textbooks could get in front of this wave, instead of having it crash down on them. And after it crashes there will a torrent of blablablabla in the blabla o sphere. And the legacy players will say, "No one could have predicted this."

The window of opportunity is that today, every community newspaper publisher in the country, will respond to an email with a subject line that says "A new profitable market for community newspapers". When this goes mainstream, they are going to put that email in the spam folder.

Consider also that I'm now the bi-weekly Print Correspondent for MediaShift, which is a part of Since mostly no one reads blogs, it's probably not a big deal. But you know for sure that in two weeks I'm going to blablabla about the new opportunities for newspapers to replace textbooks. The people who do usually at least scan this blog are people at PBS.

How cool would it be if I could link to someone's press release about how they are looking at the contribution that digital printing could make in high school education?

Then Consider that PBS has both a long involvement with education and a long tail of some of the best "educational" shows on history science and the arts. Then consider that PBS, like everyone else is prowling around looking for new profitable markets. Sooner or later, the signal is going to get through the noise.

Then consider that this is probably the year that ebooks - first the Kindle 2.0, then the copycats, will start to go mainstream in College. As soon as someone figures out the IP deal and the right price, it's going to be iTunes for Textbooks. Amazon perhaps. A startup perhaps?

Then put the ebook reader together with contextualized focused on-demand print supplements - either newsprint and/or books, that's the beginning of the end of K-12.

Then consider that our viewers here include folks at Kodak, Oce, Ricoh, and Xerox among others. Check out the Feedjit Live traffic map at the top of the right hand column to get an idea of the reach of just this little blog that is about 6 weeks old. if I can do this, in my spare time in 6 weeks, can you imagine what a really smart person with street cred could do?

People, the wagons are starting to circle!

My standing offer is if you comment anon AND describe which high school in what part of the country - real name of city or town is best, I will sketch out my ideas of how to get from here to there on this blog.

If that doesn't work for you, because of the outmoded notion that this is any more than common sense, systematically applied, feel free to email me. You can find my email at the "about" link at my other blog. Your words or name will not appear on this blog. The rule here is I post only what I find on the net. But I don't do NDA's. I don't do phone calls.

Or.. if you want to have a meeting and an NDA: The rules are it has to be in Northeast US accessible by train. Preferably in NYC. And I will charge whatever the traffic will bear.

I worked 40 years to get to Cranky Geezer, and no one is going to take it away from me.

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