This blog is dedicated to the topics of Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education. it is intended as an information source for the college store industry, or anyone interested in how course materials are changing. Suggestions for discussion topics or news stories are welcome.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Tech Talk at the Times

I have been following a new service from the New York Times lately. Well, maybe not new, but new to me -- and interesting too. I follow a lot of news feeds from many sources, but the NYT now has a daily posting of technology news. Actually, I find the redesign of the NYT site as a whole to be quite pleasing. I like how I can create "My Times" and add in the elements that are of interest to me -- much like the services that Google and others have provided for some time. the piece I like best, though, is being able to have the technology news sent to me in a digital newspaper format every day. I do not have a lot of time to read the paper, and my local paper does not cover much technology news. I have found the daily Technology News from the Times to have many stories of interest that I have not seen pop up in other channels, or that do not do so until days later. Here is a sampling of some of the stories lately that I found interesting:

At Kodak, Some Old Things Are New Again -- an interesting story on digital's role today at Kodak, the company that created the digital camera, and then essentially shelved the concept to avoid hurting their traditional core of film sales. (Sound like there is a lesson in there for some other traditional industries???) While just a fraction of who they used to be in the past, today Kodak is producing a number of new innovations. How they are transforming the company, and some of the technologies they have in their pocket are truly fascinating. The story is an interesting lesson on organizational re-evaluation and change.

Amazon Sues Over State Law on Collection of Sales Tax. This is an interesting and important case to watch from the digital course materials perspective. As course materials move digital, there have already been questions as to whether sales tax is collected or not. A number of states use sales tax to fund education. However, if in-state businesses must collect state sales tax, while out-of-state businessses do not, in-state economies and businesses are put at risk. While this article does tackle the course materials topic directly, it is a case to watch as it could set some precedence for future cases that are likely to arise that hit closer to home.

Informal Style of Electronic Messages Is Showing Up in Schoolwork, Study Finds -- We have all seen the jokes about the "new language" that has emerged in the texting generation. Now it is finding its way into homework. I have met kids who know how to keyboard (or type as we used to call it) but never really learned how to write in cursive. An interesting piece on how the next generation to enter the college classroom is different from the past. Different is not necessarily bad, but it will increase pressure to find ways to communicate across the culture gap.

There are many more stories of interest as well, but the above sampling might give you an idea of what I am talking about. NYT also started a Tech Talk podcast about a month ago (I think, based on the archives). That also provides an interesting summary of some of the news stories from the week. Easy to download to my ipod and listen to on the plane.

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