It is with great excitement that we prepare to host over 80 educators from all over the state of Massachusetts next week for the Massachusetts Digital Publication Collaborative. We have been planning and revising in order to set the stage for what will be a unique experience for most (maybe all) attendees who will undertake the task of organizing on-line resources in order to develop e-publications in lieu of traditional textbooks. You can check out the website we have created here which outlines our agenda.
As was stated today in one of the final planning meetings, "it will be messy." The reason for this is the fact that we are stepping away from the comfort of our neatly packaged static pages of traditional textbooks that have been the "flight manuals" for many of us for so long. Instead we will be creating a living and breathing site where resources can be added routinely.
For some the idea of this is uncomfortable, but I have no doubt that when we bring educators together and give them resources and time that they will create amazing products that are much more useful than traditional texts. The only way we can fail in this endeavor is if we are two narrow in our thinking and we simply look to recreate the stale content of textbooks and, in many cases, our curriculum documents in a digital format.
I am reminded of Clay Shirky's words from Cognitive Surplus.
"The opportunity before us, individually and collectively, is enormous; what we do with it will be determined largely by how well we are able to imagine and reward public creativity, participation, and sharing."No pressure intended, but the educators who can heed Shirk's words will put their students at a distinct advantage. Commence sharing! I can't wait for Wednesday morning when Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Mitchell Chester visits to see this first hand! Be sure to check back for updates!