As a result of seeking competitive advantage and preserving intellectual property, companies in many industries are reluctant to share information and product ideas.
This inclination toward a proprietary mindset has certainly been part of the educational technology industry over the past two decades.
The K-12 and higher education markets have been fertile ground for growing technology companies, and the fierce competition in most segments of these markets has dissuaded cooperation or sharing that might affect companies’ respective market shares.
This proprietary mindset has also been part of the competitive evolution in the traditional educational publishing space.
The competition between major educational publishers began with proprietary textbook content, primarily targeting general education and core business courses. This content was packaged in author-driven silos intended to promote major publisher brands. In the last decade, as industry players have transitioned to defining themselves learning technology companies, the trend has continued. The focus is on proprietary technology/content/information, which is antithetical to a sharing mindset.
Moving forward into the 21st century, specifically related to general education content and learning technologies, sharing will become an industry requirement for publishers.
As institutions and students look to lower educational costs while continuing to improve learning outcomes, publishers must commit themselves to supporting the larger ecosystem in which they operate. This means learning to value collaboration with competitors and partners. It also means developing an appreciation for the importance of sharing information, ideas, and content with the global learning community.
This sharing, which is necessarily public and open, includes:
- Sharing ideas about future development and products
- Sharing information about company values that contribute to successful work and learning cultures
- Sharing information frameworks that promote improved content development, management, and distribution
- Sharing learning design models that promote improved teaching and learning
- Sharing open and affordable content resources curated for publisher products
- Sharing publisher’s commercial content through free and open-access channels
This sharing begins with information. We are making every effort via our website to ensure that anyone who is interested can know what we do, exactly how we do it, and what our product costs. Specifically, we make available information about (1) our Stackable Lessons™ technology, (2) our learning design model, (3) our product model, (4) our pricing and cost-management strategies, (5) how we integrate literacies and competencies into our lessons.
We are also working to be as transparent as possible about our company, our product decisions, and how we do business. We will continue this effort in the coming weeks by adding extensive information about our technology platform, including diagrams of our architecture and a list of all tools and plugins. We are also providing public access to any applications we have developed as part of our platform build out.
Currently, our high-level information frameworks for our mediabooks, in the form of product taxonomies, are available on our website as part of the information for each mediabook. As we formalize more complex information libraries in the future, consisting of expanded taxonomies, thesauri, and ontologies, we will make those available for public access and use.
In October, we will also make a formal announcement about our partnership with TEL Library to provide individual EdBooks lessons for free and open use by anyone. These products will be licensed as CC-BY-NC-SA. This licensing will allow educators worldwide to access, reuse, and remix EdBooks content free of charge via TEL Library.
Finally, as part of our company commitment to sharing, EdBooks welcomes dialog with any faculty member, institution, organization, or company regarding how we can make a difference through affordable, quality learning solutions. We will share our technical expertise, content design and development experience, and information science knowledge with anyone who is working to improve education.
If you have questions about our company and product or would like to share ideas about creating affordable learning solutions, feel free to contact me (Rob Reynolds, EdBooks CEO), at rob dot