Last week, I had the privilege of facilitating a short session on making ebooks as a part of the National Writing Project Annual Meeting. As with all NWP-related activities, this was great fun.
We started out by brainstorming possible uses for ebooks in learning environments (see ideas below) and then went through some specifics of making ebooks with Calibre, a free, open source tool that outputs a variety of formats of ebooks. (Handout here. Feel free to redistribute and reuse.)
One of the things I really liked about this informal session was that we were able to discuss a variety of related topics that have a broader impact on learning, including:
- The benefits of sharing under an open license, like Creative Commons
- The potential of make-your-own curriculum
(One cool idea that came up was assembling student writing anthologies to use as reading samples. “We pay a lot of money for anthologies like this, and our students’ work is just as good or better.”)
- New distribution options that this kind of technology opens up
- Disruption in the publishing industry
- The pros and cons of different authoring platforms, especially as it relates to proprietary vs. open
- The intersection of technologies like this with one-to-one programs
Some ebooks were made during this session, and many inspiring ideas for future projects were mentioned. If you have your own ideas or self-published ebooks you’ve made, we’d love to see a link or comment posted here.
I would also love to see an ebook anthology of the great work in Digital Is. Would others find this useful? (Maybe if someone else doesn’t jump on this first, I’ll put it on a to do list of my own.)
Thanks to everyone who took part in this and to NWP for inviting me.