Articles tagged "education"

High School Writers and Artists Team Up to Publish Anthology

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Foreign Visions, a new anthologyfeatures short stories and artwork from 25 students at Foran High School. The paperback book, published using the free online publishing tools at Lulu.com, contains 17 short stories and accompanying artwork. The stories were penned by students in Rick Raucci’s Creative Writing class. The artwork was created by students in Meghan Hudson’s Advanced Drawing/Painting and AP Studio Art classes.

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Foreign Vision’s writers and artists

 

This is Foran High School’s first published book and Raucci said he couldn’t be prouder of the students who contributed the material and worked tirelessly to publish the book. Students in his creative writing class worked throughout the 2015-16 school year on various types of writing spanning multiple genres.

Raucci pitched the idea of an advanced writing class that would produce a book of short stories. With a grant secured to cover initial costs, Raucci got approval to move forward with the pilot program, working with 11 high school seniors who were recruited for the first year’s class.

“They were students selected based on their writing ability in the hopes of creating an authentic authorship experience,” Raucci said. The class began with students studying the importance of writing techniques such as setting, dialogue and plot development. “Even the smallest of details can change the story,” Raucci said. “How does age, for example, affect how a person will speak?”

Each student wrote three short stories, working with artists from Hudson’s class: In one round the writers had to write a story based on artwork supplied by the illustrators. The stories were then distributed to a panel of judges to rank. The top scoring pieces were selected for publication. “Everyone got a story published and there are a few students with two stories,” Raucci said.

As part of this project, students honed writing, editing and revising skills. They also got a taste of professional life by working on a deadline, receiving constructive criticism and incorporating recommended changes to their project. “They got the full authorship experience,” Raucci said.

For the art students, it was a chance to work as they might on a job.“For my student artists, this book is a unique opportunity to bridge classroom learning to real-life learning,” Hudson said. “Student authors and artists paired up for this collaborative effort, which allowed my artists to work with a ‘client’ rather than making art for themselves.

Hudson said that when another stakeholder’s opinions and input are entwined in the creative process, it changes the game for the artist. “This was an exciting challenge for both the authors and artists,” she added.

Lulu is a self publishing company, but that doesn’t mean the student writers didn’t have to meet tough standards. The manuscript required several revisions to meet distribution requirements, but students didn’t balk. They were eager to put in the extra work with some students even working weekends to get the completed manuscript revised in time.

The original idea was that the class would be self-sustaining. Students developed a marking plan to sell the books for $20. Before the first shipment of books were even delivered, students had sold more than 300 copies. “Not only were we able to replenish the grant funds, we were also able to give away scholarships to students,” Raucci said, noting that three $500 scholarships were awarded at the end of the school year.

Principal Max Berkowitz said he looks forward to the continued success of the class. “Advanced Creative Writing provides students a unique and rigorous experience while allowing them to take ownership over their learning,” Berkowitz said. “The opportunity for our students to become published authors has been an exciting and proud experience for the entire school community.”

foreign-visions-bookcover“This is a huge accomplishment for our students to have published work at this level of their education,” said Hudson. “They are thrilled to see their work in print.”

Foreign Visions’ is available in both paperback and eBook formats and can be purchased in the Lulu bookstore as well as all major online retailers including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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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.

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