Archive for June, 2013

What if you could write your own textbook? You can with DPS

We are seeing a lot of growth with our Digital Publishing Suite in education. Its uses are endless, really. Every time I talk to a different school, people are coming up with new ways they want to use DPS, and I find that fascinating. It’s a new frontier. The way we thought about the tablet is growing exponentially because people are finding unique ways to create interactive and highly engaging content through DPS.

I wanted to share a little thing I am working on with a few schools. Have you ever thought of just flat out eliminating textbooks?

No, I don’t mean not having textbooks at all. I mean trading in the paper and the $100+ cost per copy for a tablet version that could play videos and slideshows, provide quizzes and assessments, link out to external resources, and so much more. The professor could actually build and write his or her OWN textbook for the class. Think about it as a map for the entire course. It would be completely tailored to the professor’s type of instruction and provide a much more comprehensive and targeted guide for the student.

CoursepackA few schools have already started this new interactive learning method, and we expect more and more to join the crowd. So how does this provide benefits?

  • It saves students (and schools) money. The costs of textbooks for a college course could be more than $500 per quarter/semester. If schools want to charge students for the textbook, they can through Digital Publishing Suite. Think of all the paper saved from printing costs (i.e. whitepapers, worksheets, course packets) as well.
  • Send feedback to the professor. “How was my class today?” “What would help you learn the material easier?” All of this could be sent through a form within the DPS folio and sent anonymously. Think of the interaction!
  • Speaking of feedback, you can give quizzes through the app. This would be helpful for professors to make sure their students are actually doing the reading.
  • More interactivity – it’s all in one place. You can make DPS your repository of articles, journals entries, videos, links, infographics, and photos. Many students learn through visual media, like videos and photos. A professor could create a course pack or a textbook that suits his/her individual class, rather than adjusting to a textbook curriculum. Kids are used to connecting through tablets and phones. Use them to your advantage.
  • Distribute to only the students who need it. With DPS, you can have a student sign-in and his/her library will be populated with the classes he/she is enrolled in.

There is obviously some work that needs to be done to build these textbooks, I realize that. However, each university has many students who are model InDesign users, who can help organize, build, package, and design these textbooks for the instructor, all while learning new tools and becoming more comfortable as a designer. It’s even something that could be used on that student’s resume. Utilize and leverage the enthusiastic students at your school. At the same time, we provide many learning resources through the Adobe Education Exchange and the Adobe Creative Cloud to get you started on a simple design, and then the publishing part is a piece of cake. (I recommend downloading the DPS Tips app by DPS evangelist Bob Bringhurst on the iTunes Store.)

The key here is the interactivity. You don’t get that with print. I urge you to try it out. Download the DPS Tips app, download the Adobe Content Viewer, and get started in digital publishing, even just to see how it might work for your class or school. Learning is evolving and tablets are here.  Educators need to embrace them as a way to put knowledge in the hands of our future.

My Life in 20 Pictures – a research project

A few months ago, I was approached by Neil Ward, photojournalism instructor at Centennial College, and Debbie Gordon, Director of the Kids Media Centre for help on a very exciting project.

This project, “My Life in 20 Pictures,” aimed to address the perceptions of First Nations’ life by empowering children and youth from the Sakatcheway Anishinabe First Nation School in Grassy Narrows to tell their own stories through the camera’s lens. The goal was to remove any possible media bias and let children do the storytelling. In essence, they asked children to become journalists and documentarians, giving them the opportunity to share the images and stories that frame their daily lives. Continue reading…