My apologies, but I couldn’t resist paraphrasing this “Donald Trumpism.” It’s just that now is that time of year when education publishers, and now tech companies, start to unveil the latest and most exciting “products” for the next school term beginning in September. So, I think the big news here is the dramatic change in the traditional textbook sales business. Here is a more professional analysis from the Software and Information Industry Association: “Schools in the United States spend more than $8.3 billion annually on software and digital content . . . That spending could grow significantly as school districts that now buy physical textbooks, assessment tests, professional development resources for teachers and administrative materials shift to digital systems.” Goodbye, Mr. Chips!
This trend has certainly not gone unnoticed in the digital publishing world. Publishing giants such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and in online higher education, edX, have easily recognized the business value of making their products and services more available digitally. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is now holding its annual 2016 convention in Denver this year, and if you attend the proceedings there with 16,000 other teachers and school officials, or follow them remotely, you will be introduced to these new digital ventures in a more formal way. Remember the days when you had to go to the Bookstore each semester?
Please believe me that I am not really trying to be nostalgic, well maybe a little. During my college summers I packed and shipped textbooks to university campuses in the U.S. for the Collier-Macmillan Publishing Company. Now technology can do all that for you personally. I often wonder if I have actually been replaced by a robot?