I blogged a while ago that Clint Lalonde organised an incredible community audiobook project, with different people reading a chapter of the 25 Years of Ed Tech book. Laura Pasquini got in touch over the summer suggesting hosting a podcast series that accompanied the audiobook. The podcast series, Between the Chapters, also focuses on one chapter, with different guests discussing a chapter, which is then released every week, with the audiobook chapter on Monday and the podcast on Thursday.
As an author it has been fascinating to listen to the podcasts. Whether it’s Clint and Bonnie Stewart reminiscing about the early days of blogs, Jessie Stommel raging about the concept of scaffolding or Lee Skallerup Bessette taking a deep dive into aspects of video, it is always fascinating.
There are several things I’ve really come to appreciate about this series. Firstly, the generosity of the guests both in terms of giving up their time, but also in their kindness about my chapter. Many of the guests are far more knowledgeable on the topic than I am (for instance it was great to have Mark Guzdial who was the first person I saw talk about wikis, guest on that episode). I am reasonably knowledgeable about ed tech across the board but as an author you have to accept that there will be elements (at least in a broad coverage book) where other people always know more.
Secondly, one of the claims in the book is that ed tech suffers from a kind of historical amnesia. The collection of people reminiscing about their experiences creates a form of oral history which is engaging and useful. If the book does nothing else other than act as a springboard for these accounts then it has gone far beyond my original aim.
Lastly, it has made me reflect on the nature of a book. We are accustomed to be recipients, or consumers of books. But that is changing in the internet years – we have fan fiction, social media interaction with the authors, open textbooks which can be adapted and forums dedicated to books, authors characters. These are all ways in which a book becomes more open – I like to think of the book now as an invitation to discuss, rather than an endpoint of the topic.
Clint, Laura and I did a podcast reflecting on some of this at the halfway point. We have also submitted a session for OER21/Domains conference so, if accepted, come along to that and hear how the process has been. I think it’s an interesting model for other textbooks, but it requires open licensing to get off the ground.