Articles tagged "education"

The Power to Connect: Children, Writing and Storytelling

Pam Allen is a world-renowned literacy expert, author and motivational speaker. She has often spoken about the many reasons why starting children’s education in writing early in their academic careers is imperative. Of course, Allen supports the reasons we’re accustomed to hearing—writing builds confidence in a child’s sense of self while facilitating emotional growth; it helps kids create and strengthen their identities; and develops critical thinking skills.

But there is more to Allen’s advocating for the early introduction of creative writing: the importance of language and its ability to connect children with their parents, teachers and families.

It is natural to communicate with people and, in return, be understood. Providing children with the ability to express themselves through the written word at a young age opens myriad possibilities for self-expression, while simultaneously building confidence and reassurance in their communication abilities.

In Allen’s own words, “The human desire to connect through language begins with a baby’s first smile. It is never too early to start your child down the path of a writer’s life. By engaging in the act of writing, we are engaging in the valuing of life, valuing one another, and valuing the precious moments we share.”

Through a child’s imagination, we can experience the extraordinary stories fabricated only by the young. Writing and storytelling the Lulu Jr. way offer a pathway for children to continue to grow their writing skills. As the result, teachers and parents are seeing better communicators, learners and innovators that are more closely connected to those around them.

Lulu Jr. is launching new educational programs

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 3.02.52 PMAt Lulu Jr., it is our mission to inspire creativity, strengthen literacy skills and build self-esteem among children. We believe that teachers and educators are critical partners as we work to achieve this goal by helping students bring their stories to life as published books.

Today, we are excited to announce the latest advancement in storytelling with the launch of Lulu Jr.’s Education Programs.

Lulu Jr.’s Storybook and Classbook programs support elementary school writing and language arts curricula through project based learning, communication and collaboration at a time when children are developing their skills as storytellers, writers and critical thinkers.

Each program is designed to be flexible enough to accommodate every teacher’s individual creativity and needs at the classroom level. The Storybook program allows an individual student to write and illustrate his or her own hardcover book. The Classbook program, enables several students to work collaboratively on a single story

Teachers have unlimited access to Lulu Jr.’s online writing and publishing tools. Plus, it’s always free to participate in the program, including planning, writing, illustrating and publishing the book. Once completed, parents, students and teachers can order the final work as a professionally printed and bound hardcover book.

Be sure to explore Lulu Jr.’s Education Programs. We look forward to seeing your students’ stories come to life!

Self-publishing gaining ground in the academics

[Graphic: Michael Morgenstern for The Chronicle of Higher Education]

While I don’t typically pay a lot of attention to academic publishing, I recently ran across a very interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Education on (mostly) young academics taking advantage of the new opportunities afforded to them by recent developments in self-publishing.The piece focuses on Clay Spinuzzi, a professor of rhetoric and writing at the University of Texas at Austin, who decided to self-publish his third book Topsight: A Guide to Studying, Diagnosing, and Fixing Information Flow in Organizations. The article goes on to point out that there are a lot of common sense  reasons for the decision. By spending just “a couple of thousand dollars in freelance graphic design and copy-editing Spinuzzi will make back his financial investment after 300 copies are sold” due to the super high rate of royalties Amazon guarantees (about $7 a digital copy). Selling 1,500 copies will net Spinuzzi $10,000, the article points out. If he sold 15,000, a rare, but not entirely inconceivable number, he could walk away with more than$100,000.

These numbers are interesting, and Amazon’s royalty arrangement could pay off big given the right product, and this is where I think the story is really interesting. Spinuzzi says he doesn’t consider independent publishing a replacement for the traditional academic press. In fact, his next book will be published by one. Instead, he sees digital self-publication as “part of a larger ecosystem” and “a natural outgrowth of other unvetted work,” such as scholarly blogging and social media.In other words, digital publishing allows him a level of freedom (and a margin of profit) traditional academic publishing can’t, but it is also helping to create a new and, finally, viable type of writing. It’s allowing authors like Spinuzzi to write rigorous, researched books that have a popular appeal but carry academia’s mark of approval.

As we’ve seen with high profile Kickstarter campaigns over the last few months, studios and publisher’s are often conservative in their appraisal of a work’s appeal, and it’s probably just a matter of time before an author sees similar success (David Mamet is giving it an early shot according to The New York Times). Third-way options like self-publishing could be just the ticket to help  promote and distribute this type of new and refreshing work.

Are eBooks a Viable Option for the Classroom?

As the last days of summer sublimely trickle away, a good portion of the population returns to school. But first, they must do the necessary shopping. New clothes, some unsharpened pencils, Binders, notebooks, and, for an increasing amount of students, e-readers and tablets.

Looking to cut down on the cost of textbooks, some parents have invested in e-readers. Some school districts have even taken the large step of buying e-readers for their entire student body, looking to spare themselves from buying textbooks that will either get lost or become outdated (here’s a map of schools that are using tablet technology). But are school districts taking full advantage of this new technology? It was only two decades ago that we were wondering about the efficacy of computers in the classroom. Forbes has put together a list of four reasons why distributing tablets in classrooms can stumble. The reasons include theft, no new curriculum to go with the new technology, no available wi-fi, and glitchy products.

Here’s a list of ideas of how educators and authors can help make tablets and e-readers a vital part of the classroom, and help the technology mature past its bumpy introduction.

1) Make sure e-readers are not only used for assigned reading or projects. Allow students to explore different books and media — a school’s library doesn’t have to become obsolete just because the school has gone digital. Libraries can be a place where students can borrow e-books from sites like Overdrive, or other companies that let you borrow books. School libraries can also be a place where a school employee can train students on how to use their new technology in diverse ways.

Publishing Your Thesis with Lulu

graduation studentsMay marks graduation for many college students, a time of celebration after years of dedication and hard work. It also prompts this eternal question: “Now what?”

It’s time to make your way in the world, earn a living and impress the world with your education. If you wrote an undergraduate thesis, master’s project or doctoral dissertation, Lulu can help on two fronts: earning cash and spreading knowledge.

It’s free and easy to upload your thesis onto Lulu. And getting a professional-quality bound copy of it delivered to your doorstep is quick. Moreover, we offer services that can create a professionally designed cover specifically for your work. To get your research out there, we can assign your work an ISBN and even get it listed on the iBookstore (SM) and NOOK™ book store. Most importantly, by publishing on Lulu you retain control of all copyright and permission settings. You determine who can view your work, and when. If you feel that publishing your thesis, final project or dissertation on Lulu sounds like a viable option for you, then please read the steps below for more information on how to get started.

Before you start
First and foremost, check with your department, committee chairs or advisor on any rules you must follow for publishing your academic work. Requirements vary across departments and schools.

Better Education Through Self-Publishing

Lulu Education

 

Apple obviously thinks that teachers could benefit from more self-publishing tools – and they’re right. Educators like Dr. Tony Kemerly, professor of biomechanics at High Point University and Lulu author, often find themselves spending countless hours every semester stapling worksheets together for students – a common problem for the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s recorded 1.7 million post-secondary teachers in the country.

More and more though, better choices are becoming available that give these teachers and professors greater control over the learning experiences they share with their students. The tools now exist to empower educators to publish their own content for free and ensure their students are receiving the most up-to-date classroom materials at an affordable price they set.  Teachers can publish a print book or eBook, offer supplementary materials, or make free revisions at anytime.  They’re then able to sell their works through retailers like the iBookstore(SM), Amazon.com, and the NOOK(TM) Bookstore – not just through student bookstores.  It is by removing the limitations that we’re better able to move knowledge from one generation to the next, so we can all benefit from these works.

Dr. Marianne Bradford, professor for the College of Management at North Carolina State University puts it best:

“Bookstore prices can be so high, and the textbooks used for my classes were so outdated,” says Dr. Bradford.  “I needed content geared towards my students.  Big publishers were interested, but did not seem to understand the market or the content.  The flexibility and control over my work I found when self-publishing let me create materials that suited my personality and style.”

Dr. Bradford’s book, Modern ERP:  Select, Implement & Use Today’s Advanced Business Systems, has gone on to rank in the top 100 of Lulu’s 1.1 million titles and is currently being translated for Korean audiences.  “I feel confident about my decision to go with Lulu and plan on a long working relationship,” Bradford adds.

For more information on academic publishing opportunities, visit Lulu’s education portal at www.lulu.com/education. And sound off in the comments below on clever ways you’ve used self-publishing to teach others.

 

Remembering Michael Hart, ebook pioneer and founder of Project Gutenberg.

Electronic book pioneer and founder of Project Gutenberg, Michael Hart, passed away on Tuesday at his home in Urbana Ill.  Long before eReaders became a prevalent part of our society, Hart, who is described as “an ardent technologist and futurist,” sought ways of making electronic versions of books available to the masses.

In an obituary posted on the Project Gutenberg website, Dr. Gregory B. Newby writes:

Hart was best known for his 1971 invention of electronic books, or eBooks. He founded Project Gutenberg, which is recognized as one of the earliest and longest-lasting online literary projects. He often told this story of how he had the idea for eBooks. He had been granted access to significant computing power at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. On July 4 1971, after being inspired by a free printed copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, he decided to type the text into a computer, and to transmit it to other users on the computer network. From this beginning, the digitization and distribution of literature was to be Hart’s life’s work, spanning over 40 years.

In 1998, Mark Frauenfelder wrote a profile of Hart for Wired in which Hart is quoted as saying, “there’s going to be some gizmo that kids carry around in their back pocket that has everything in it – including our books, if they want.”  Early pioneers like Vannevar Bush envisioned electronic devices as far back as 1945 that would store massive volumes of books electronically.  Hart, however, possessed that rare mix of both foresight and gumption to help make this vision a reality.

As expressed in his obituary, making literature “available to all people” was something Hart wished to help others strive towards.  Perhaps the truest expression of Hart’s wish is a commitment to the distribution of ideas across countless platforms, i.e., eBooks, print, blogs, spoken word, etc.  Personally, I feel that in order to make literature available to all people the distribution mechanisms should work in concert with one another and never be limited to one source.  Learning, I believe, should remain impartial to any one file format or distribution mechanism – eBook or otherwise.

With that said, I think that as we enter a new age marked by the proliferation of electronic books and a growing host of eBook reading “gizmo[s],” let’s not forget to take a few moments to honor pioneers like Michael Hart who have remained steadfast in their commitment to the distribution of literature and ideas.

Helping a New Generation of Authors

As authors out in the world, I bet most of you think about the changing publishing industry on a semi-daily basis. But, have you stopped to consider how those changes are sculpting future generation’s education?

Everyday, new stories pop up about students using e-versions of their text books to learn with, like those at Wilkes University and Northern Michigan University. Some schools, like Cushing Academy in Boston, have even gotten rid of their libraries completely in favor of e-readers.

Well, 12 year old Kyle Nelson, a student from Millennium Charter Academy in Mount Airy NC,  is living out these changes in his daily education. Nelson, wanting to know more about the companies shaking up the publishing industry and the technology behind them, went straight to the source.

On February 18th, Nelson came to Lulu and got the chance to interview our team members Tracey and Allison.

“He was so curious about the future of the industry,” says Allison. “He wanted to know all about eBooks and digital publishing.”

Tracey and Allison gave Nelson a tour, walked him through Lulu’s publishing process, and sent him home with a goodie bag and tons of information. Nelson plans to present to his classmates later this month.

“He was super smart and a sweet kid,” says Allison. “He was excited to get to pitch Lulu to a whole new generation of kids.”

Lulu is great for educators and their students too because it’s always free to make revisions and teachers get to set their own price for their content. This ensures that students always receive the most up-to-date information at a cost significantly lower than your average text book, but at the same great quality. Some teachers even offer supplementary materials as free eBooks to download. All of the control is in the teacher’s hands to provide a more structured learning experience. To learn more, head over to our education portal at www.lulu.com/education.

Heatin’ Things Up in Miami!

The eighty degree temperatures didn’t deter students and teachers from coming out to this year’s Miami-Dade Day Conference. There was a recorded 2,600 attendees at this year’s event. Dedicated to bring new technology to the college, the conference turned out to be the colleges best one yet.

Our events team, having experience with other educational shows, understood the importance that Lulu can play in the classroom. Giving students the ability to gather theses in a professional manner was a huge appeal to those who stopped by the booth. There were even some who came prepared with written manuscripts! As the day went on it was evident that attendees were happy to see us there.

The show lasted for just a day but in that short time we managed to spread an awareness of Lulu to all who stopped by. As people left the booth more would stop by and we certainly acknowledged the fact that it was a great indication of where we’re going in the educational world.Take a look at who we met at the show!

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TCCTA Welcomes Lulu!

The Texas Community College Teacher’s Association (TCCTA) had its 61st annual convention and Lulu was one of the show’s main attractions. With over 80 colleges participating, teachers from all backgrounds were interested to see what Lulu could do for them.

As most of you know Lulu’s services not only attract individual authors/creators but can appeal to many others; like teachers. So here’s the scenario, you’re a teacher and you use the same old tired textbook every year. You’re not only tired of it, but your students are too. So why not create your own? Lulu enables teachers to be able to compile course materials and any other relevant matter in one central piece versus using the same irrelevant materials over and over again.

With this being our first time at TCCTA, teachers were surprised to see us there but understood the perfect placement we have at such an educational show. With over 6,000 members it was a great opportunity for Lulu to continue to reach out to the educational world full of potential Lulus! We want to make sure that at each conference Lulu attends we continue to stress our free services and easy applications. TCCTA has now been added to the list of successful educational conferences that we’ve attended and we’re excited to see what the next one brings.

If you know of any educational shows (or any other shows for that matter) feel free to let us know where you’d like to see us. Respond to this blog with your ideas.

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Kenia Caze