Power to the Educators: The Decentralization of Textbook Publishing

By Steve Rhine

Textbook publishers should be very afraid

The power of the Internet to create decentralization has reached their shores.

In the brick and mortar world, the power was held in the hands of those who could manage the creation of content and distribute it to potential users. In the music business, Sony, BMI, and the like, funded artists going into recording studios to make tapes that were pressed into vinyl and then CD’s. Those records were shipped out to Wherehouse, Tower Records, and Sam Goody stores to get them to the public. The music industry then used their network to ply radio DJ’s across the country to air songs in order to create demand. Continue reading

What’s All the Fuss About Google’s New Privacy Policy?

By Michael Geraci

On March 1, 2012, Google intends to update their privacy policy, which was last revised back in 2009. To call it an “update” is misleading, because what the search behemoth is actually creating is a single unified policy that spans all of its 60+ services. [1] The very fact that you’re reading this is cause enough for me to assume that you are a computer user with, shall we say, an above average level of interest in matters of a social-technical-digital nature, so I won’t waste your time detailing all the ways that Google’s services permeate your life. Let’s just agree that these days, it’s hard to click a mouse (or touch the screen of a mobile device) without hitting a Google service — branded or not. What you may not know is that if you’re a regular user of Google services, such as the popular Gmail or the burgeoning Google+ social network, Google is keeping tabs on most of your Web surfing habits, if not all of them — especially if you are using the company’s Chrome browser — all in the name of improving your Web experience through the optimization and personalization of Google’s services.

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Replacing Paper Textbooks with eBooks and Digital Devices

By Gavin Brown

Introduction


A backpack filled to the zipper with heavy textbooks is a back breaker to many students in elementary and secondary schools. Such books include the several hundred page biology book, or the history book that is out of date even though it’s only four years old, and the mathematics book that is only used once in a while. While the textbooks are heavy for students, they are also very expensive for school districts and state education departments. For example, the state of California is currently spending somewhere around $400 million on textbooks in the K-12 system. [1] Those backpacks that bust open with huge books hanging out can be a thing of the past. Several states across the U.S. are working with different organizations that utilize the Internet and eBooks in educational institutions. Instead of heavy, expensive and outdated textbooks, states around the country are trying to maneuver their school districts to use free eBooks.

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