Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Reinventing Textbooks: The secret sauce

It's not technology. All the technology is in place. It's not content. All the content needed is either free on the net or can be licensed from XML compliant databases. It's not even the legacy sales process and relationships that make the cost of sales so high.

It's about standards.
From yesterday's post at The English Teacher's Companion
National Standards Are Coming
By the end of President Obama's first term we will have national standards for the core academic subjects. The rationale for this is best summed up in a recent Washington Post op/ed by AFT president Randi Weingarten who wrote . . .

We can opt for the elegant simplicity and clarity of the New York state standards or we can choose the more detailed standards already created by the Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (MCREL). The MCREL standards offer a carefully researched synthesis of standards from across the country.

I vote for adopting the MCREL standards so we can spend the next four years focusing on how to teach these standards and achieve the difference President Obama seeks instead of what to teach

. . .bold face not in the original.
Professional teacher have always focused on HOW to teach. The ability to craft just the right way to reach each student is the core value they create. Textbooks are collections of WHAT.

Going forward, textbooklets need to be tools that will make it better, faster, cheaper for teachers to do the hard part- HOW.

One of the many killer applications waiting to be deployed.
Consider 4 MFP's in every high school in the States. Then consider a teacher choosing just the right textbooklet for today. Then outputting 20 versioned, and if appropriate personalized, textbooklets. There is no difference between a personalized newspaper and a personalized textbooklet.

Now that the standards are open, nothing is left to be invented. Just a lot of smart creative people to create a database of standards aligned content that works in the classroom. My bet is that it wouldn't be that expensive to hire teachers on the ground to manage a crowd sourced Cloud database plus the very best book designers, and this is done.

To any educators who may be visiting, you might want to give Ricoh a call and ask them when they are going to bring this functionality to the States. If anyone from the other XORiHK companies have similar functionalities, please leave a comment, preferably with a link.

But if it's "a going to have," or "a could have," then it needs a date when it is at least prototyped even of it's in a demonstration facility. Be forewarned, my response to any comment will be "when and where?"
From: Syntops, Individualizing Print Products

The "Druckspiegel" (german expression for "the printing mirror"):

"The magazine for premedia, print and finishing" wrote in November 2008 a article about one of our products: "Newspaper by desire". It is a product which the Syntops GmbH has created together with the Company "RICOH Germany".

A customer approaches his card (for his hotel room, or time recording card in a company) to the cardreader of the printer. Then the printer "knows" who is talking to him. In the display of the printer appear several buttons, with which the customer can order his product, e.g. a newsletter, weather information and concerts in this town after his desire, or a individualized newspaper.

After pressing one of these buttons, the id of the user and his order is sent to a server in the (inter)net. There the wished data is picked out from databases and a userspecific file is produced. This file will be sent back via the net to the customer and printed on his printer. The whole process lasts about 4 seconds. After 0.5 to 2 minutes (depending on the volume of his document), the customer has his newspaper in his hands.

Here you can download the whole article .

1 comment:

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