Monday, November 3, 2008

Innovative Educators Can Help Students and Themselves Become Published Authors

My passion in education is authentic learning which is one of the reasons that as a literacy coach I was instantly a fan of Teachers College Reading and Writing Project where students are viewed an
d treated as real authors. As a former literacy coach one of my favorite tools as an instructional technology specialist has been LINTOR Create-A-Book which allows teachers to work with students to actually create and print out their very own book. A class set costs about $280 or about $10 per book per child (not including printed book pages which come from a standard printer). This is fantastic, except one thing is missing. Real authors generally don’t publish just one book and their books are available, usually for purchase, to an interested audience. But still, having your very own self-published book is great. For a teacher with a classroom of students with published books that can go in their classroom library this is fantastic.


It could be better.

What if innovative educators can work with students to create their very own books?

This is possible today with as self-publishing companies make real authorship accessible to anyone with the desire to do so for free at places like Lulu and Blurb. Whether your students are working on memoir, how-to, fiction, picture book, etc. these sites have the self-publishing resources necessary to bring their ideas to life – and sell it to an eager audience around the world. As the Lulu site says, “Go ahead: share your wisdom with friends, generate income, raise money for your favorite nonprofit; in short, conquer the self-publishing world.” Both sites are free to use and provide free software tools.

Once students have published they can buy one paperback for themselves, or sell their book to the whole wide world. Books are published for as little as $6 and you decide exactly how much you want to earn from each sale. Along with the published book, every author will get their your own ISBN - and get distributed in more than 60,000 retail locations, online and off. Additionally, classrooms, schools, or districts can build their own online storefront to generate direct links, and more sales and forget inventory - when a book is bought, it gets printed, shipped and delivered on demand.

How Innovative Educators Can Get Started

1. Write your own book.

As innovative educators, you know the best way to get started, is by starting yourself. Go through the process and write your own book. Wouldn’t it be great for a school to be able to say they have a staff of published authors and proudly show the books on display for parents to buy on demand? And, what better way to model writing then to do so with your students from your own published book???

What better way to learn the ins and outs of publishing (or anything) then by trying it yourself. Both sites have numerous tutorials and guides to get you started and you’ll be in good company. Many innovative educators have already published books which you can see here.

Here are books I found by a couple authors I have heard of.

Classroom Blogging: 2nd Edition
David Warlick

35 Tech Tips For Teachers

Jennifer Wagner

2. Write a class book

Before diving right in with every student in your class publishing get your students excited about publishing a class book. This is a great way for students to become familiar with the concept of publishing. Additionally, depending on the topic this could go hand and hand with many subjects for instance:

  • Social Studies students could write a book about a topic they are studying (i.e. Native Americans, women’s issues, politics, etc.) and even consider donating profits to benefit the topic of their book.
  • Science students may write about local environmental issues and perhaps collaborate with experts in the area.

Again, you won’t be alone, but you’ll certainly be a pioneer in these lightly chartered waters. Take a look at some books being published by students.

Technology Now and Then: AESD Summer Technology Experience 2007 by Summer Technology Students

Technology Now and Then is a wonderful book written by students in a Summer Technology class comparing technology today with technology years ago. It covers the student’s daily lives and the technology they use. (35 pages) Paperback: $9.78 Download: $0.00

Our World Our Vision by Hutto High School U.S. On-level History Students

Our World, Our Vision 2008 focuses on events and topics occurring since the beginning of the millennium. The entries include opinions and student projections of the long lasting effects of these events and topics. (152 pages) Paperback: $27.33

Housing Matters by RIT Students

Rochester Institute of Technology students investigate housing in Rochester, NY (47 pages) Paperback: $11.58

Rainforest Exhibits: How we learned about creating an authentic biome by 6th Grade Students of Framingham Community Charter School

This book describes a year-long sixth grade learning expedition on biomes and zoo exhibits. The book documents our process, as well as what the students learned about specific animals. It is an appropriate reference for middle school teachers and students. (73 pages) Paperback: $6.25

3. Hand it off to your students.

Now that you’ve self-published a book and helped your class do the same, put it in the hands of your students to authentically begin publishing their own work. Perhaps have this goal in their mind from the beginning of the year so they have had an opportunity to think about what it is they will be publishing. Or, perhaps they take their favorite published piece to turn into a book. Think about what works and bring it to your classroom. The possibilities are as great as the imaginations of you and your students.

To Read More About Blurb and Lulu visit these sites.

Self Publishing: Lulu vs. Blurb - WetCanvas!

Writing is Easy... - Blurb v. Lulu -- Self-publishing sites

Web-based Self-Publishing Explodes - BusinessWeek

Cool Tools: Blurb * Lulu

Should I choose Blurb or Lulu for my photo album?

Pricing Showdown for Self-Publishing Photobooks.

Interested in Online Magazine Publishing, read this review about Issuu.
Issuu Review: Magazines never looked so sexy

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