Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pearson CEO speaks at SIIA

There was an interesting blog post on Personanondata last week capturing her notes from Marjorie Scardino's (the CEO of Pearson) talk at the Software Information Industry Association (SIIA) meeting.

What I found interesting in the notes is Pearson's view, as one of the largest educational publishers, on their role in developing the skills needed for the 21st century. The blog notes that,
In her opinion, (and this follows how Pearson is expanding) companies have to take a long term view: change the way teachers teach, the way readers interact with news, information and content. Additionally, the long term view or approach to investment has to be consistent. She says, sustained investment is difficult in a public company. The key to success is to involve your customers. Release your software early and enable a culture that allows ‘do-overs’ assuming they are corrected or improved rapidly.

The posting notes some other comments that are relevant to college stores and those interested in the future of course materials as well. Ideas like the "need to try everything," "generating new ideas from all levels as a cultural shift," and the "inextricable binding of content and technology" are just a couple examples. One interesting remark in the notes is the comment that Pearson:
... as a company long ago realized that content was becoming a commodity in news and other segments like education. “There is only a few ways to describe photosynthesis” or describe history. Technology however can be a differentiator if used in an appropriate manner so the company attempts to understand how the reader interacts with the content. This approach is used in news, where there is more attention paid to analysis than news reporting, and also in education.

An interesting perspective. for a publishing company -- particularly given the radical transformation hitting the newspaper publishing industry these days. Perhaps there are additional lessons for college stores and textbook publishers to learn from these sister industries. Thoughts?

1 comment:

Mike Jablon said...

Fundamentally, the interaction people have with content is as unique as the individual’s experiences, prejudices, education and taste. As a student of “mass customization” I understand how the experience of news and educational content can be enriched by studying the interaction between the content and the content reader.
There is a huge responsibility, however, to make sure that this science does not replace the individual’s freedom to interpret the content differently as education, experiences and tastes change. It is easier to manipulate the way facts and content are perceived when you hold the key to individual interpretation. The temptation, by the content presenter, to control the interpretation of the content can be insatiable.
The modern day media has not (in my opinion) kept “responsible journalism” as pristine as it could and these techniques will make it easier to create propaganda from factual content. With innovation comes power and with power comes responsibility. Let’s make sure we are all worthy!