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Come On Book People, Let’s Talk Tech

I Have Been Posting About Ed Tech and Not Hearing From You

Here is Kevin Jarrett’s all-too-modest (and flattering) post about the NY Tech Conference we attended on Friday: Book people, think about this — we were at a beautiful conference center, filled with bright people excited about working with students, buzzing with ideas and experiences to share, and I was the single and only author of books for those same students in the hall. We simply have to begin to work together — to bring all you authors, designers, editors into conversations with the teachers, librarians, media specialists who are comfortable with virtual worlds, with social networking, with learning through gaming, with using the digital portfolio as an evaluation tool. The tech people are not alien enemies, they are not anti-book, but there is a vitality, a freshness, a sense of life and possibility in what they are doing. And as we survey a contracting economy, surely diminishing budgetes, slowing book sales, we need to learn from (and work with) those who are exploring new territories.

How about some new Work In Progress — authors, illustrators, editors? And what if we shared some of that book work here with tech types, to see if they have ideas for how what we are doing would translate into their domain? 


  1. Fran Hodgkins says:


    I agree — it’s time for us authors to be dragged into the 21st century, even if it’s kicking and screaming. At the SCBWI conference in August I realized how far behind I am in regards to tech; those authors with a strong blog or facebook entry report good contact with readers, especially teens.

    Are we scared of losing control of our work? That may be part of it. Do we just not know where to start? For me and others, I’m sure that’s an issue. I need to get tech-savvy, and quick. But how? I’ll bet those tech folks have the answer. How about a session/workshop/conference for writers devoted to tech ed? Does such a thing exist?

  2. Marc Aronson says:

    A comment left to this post somehow is not showing here, but I see it when I draft my new blogs. The poster said that she, like many authors, wants to get involved in new technology but does not know where to start. I bet there are many like her (including me). We need a place — maybe here — to do Ed Tech, Digital Book, 101. I’ll try to arrange it.

  3. Susanna Reich says:

    Since you mentioned work-in-progress, I wanted to make a comment about one tech tool that has evolved very rapidly: Google Books. As an author, I was naturally suspicious of Google’s plan to scan millions of books and make them available online. Imagine my surprise when the big bad company actually turned out to have done something useful. When I started researching Painting the Wild Frontier four years ago, I had to make several trips to the NY Public Library Research Division to consult early editions of George Catlin’s books. By the time I finished my research earlier this year, at least some of his books could be read in their entirety on Google. While I will miss the heavenly experience of working in the Rose Reading Room, I will also appreciate the time and money saved. Now, I won’t have to spend half a day trekking to New York City just to doublecheck a footnote.

  4. Marc Aronson says:

    Yes, I agree. I also use Questia — a subscription based online library. Its holdings are erratic, but you can find wonderful sources there.