So, this is the end of a 5-week-long journey in EVO 2014. This year (my first, but hopefully the first in a long series) I joined the online workshop called “Crafting the ePerfect eTextbook” and have not repented.
I suppose we “teacher-students” were a sort of world-wide focus group that must have been closely observed by the e-publishing pundits all along. If this is so, I would like to send a message right through to them, about that mysterious thing, the Teacher’s-Real-Needs.
We’ll always need books, both paper and digital ones: paper grammar exercise books to be scribbled on; lovely good-smelling and gaudy reading books to be lined up lovingly on school shelves: digital guides for teachers (we have seen a number of promising ones being produced during the workshop); e-textbooks for the teachers who don’t have the time or skill or will to craft their own material (they are still the great majority).
There will always be places without a web connection or people with no possibility to have their own devices, but figures are bound to decrease.
Where’s the school publishing industry heading, then?
In my ideal situation, my students would have a paper textbook for grammar with plenty of exercises and paper easy readers to take to the mountains or to the beach during the summer. But that would have to be integrated by a number of online services for schools. Providers of school services would sell “packages” consisting of a platform offering digital classrooms, administration tools, educational apps, plus collections of language and/or literature resources. The school might pay for the services while I might want to subscribe (together with a group of students) to be able to access the resources I need. The resources must be paid for if we want them to be created by good professional authors.
This change has already occurred, of course: these weeks we’ve had plenty of opportunities to see and work with websites that are developing such tools. What I haven’t seen yet is great collections of resources worth being paid for. Some publishing companies are heading there, though.