Governor Schwarzenegger to Terminate Books

Well, not quite!

But he is proposing that schools begin to wean themselves off the ‘old-fashioned’ text book and move toward a culture of digital or online learning.

Writing in the San Jose Mercury, the Governator says;

Today, our kids get their information from the Internet, downloaded onto their iPods, and in Twitter feeds to their cell phones. A world of up-to-date information fits easily into their pockets and onto their computer screens. So why are California’s public school students still forced to lug around antiquated, heavy, expensive textbooks?

California is home to software giants, bioscience research pioneers and first-class university systems known around the world. But our students still learn from instructional materials in formats made possible by Gutenberg’s printing press.

It’s nonsensical — and expensive — to look to traditional hard-bound books when information today is so readily available in electronic form. Especially now, when our school districts are strapped for cash and our state budget deficit is forcing further cuts to classrooms, we must do everything we can to untie educators’ hands and free up dollars so that schools can do more with fewer resources.

In February, we helped schools weather this storm by freeing up categorical restrictions on spending, and we must continue making these changes so more dollars go directly into the classrooms.

That’s why I am so excited about the digital textbooks initiative California just launched. Starting with high school math and science books, this initiative paves the way for easier access to free digital texts in California’s schools. By frequently updating texts as they are developed, rather than continuing to teach from outdated textbooks, we will better prepare our students.

For example, many textbooks still describe television technology in terms of cathode-ray tubes, without even mentioning LCD or plasma screens that are being sold today. If California is to remain competitive in an increasingly global economy, this initial focus on math and science texts is critical.

These kinds of digital instructional materials are rapidly becoming available. Across the state and around the world, well-respected educators have designed customizable texts to meet the unique needs of their students. Federal grants have funded research that is free for public use. And now California has put out an initial call to content developers, asking that they submit high school math and science digital texts for our review. We hope the floodgates are open. We’ll ensure the digital texts meet and exceed California’s rigorous academic standards, and we’ll post the results of our review online as a reference for high school districts to use in time for fall 2009.

California must take the lead on using 21st century technology to expand learning and serve our students, parents, teachers and schools better. Even in good economic times, state government should always strive to use taxpayer dollars to the greatest effect. But especially now, it is imperative that we find ways to do more with less.

Last year, the state earmarked $350 million for school books and other instructional materials. Imagine the savings schools could realize by using these high-quality, free resources. Even if teachers have to print out some of the material, it will be far cheaper than regularly buying updated textbooks.

If the clamor for digital music and online social networking sites is any indication, young people are the earliest adopters of new technology, and cutting-edge product options are cropping up as quickly as the latest Facebook fads. However, there are those who ardently defend the status quo, claiming our vision of providing learning materials to students for free would risk a high-quality education.

That’s nonsense. As the music and newspaper industries will attest, those who adapt quickly to changing consumer and business demands will thrive in our increasingly digital society and worldwide economy. Digital textbooks can help us achieve those goals and ensure that California’s students continue to thrive in the global marketplace.

SOURCE

OK, so the initial idea that Arnie wants to replace books may sound radical. But it’s very, very hard to disagree with where he’s coming from. In fact, I’d say, it’s damn near impossible.

Digital isn’t the future – it’s the now. And adopting it wholesale makes so much economic sense as the governor’s text clearly lays out (which, incidentally, you are currently reading on a web page and may not even know about otherwise!).

Adults shouldn’t deny children the opportunity to learn using the medium they’ve already fully embraced.

K9 Magazine Finds a New Home

No, I haven’t decided to abandon it, tied to the gates of a dog (magazine) shelter. It’s going to have a new online home.

In 2001 we launched K9 Magazine dot com. In all the years we’ve been building and promoting websites, K9 Magazine’s was/is probably the one we’ve spent the most time on and by definition, the most money on.

K9 Magazine dot com

It’s had plenty of changes, new looks and a load of customisation.

It has undoubtedly been good to us. It’s been the main source of subscribers to K9 Magazine and it has paid for itself many, many times over.

But I made the decision it now needs to be dismantled.

Why?

Around 2003 we got in to blogging and I thought it would make sense for K9 Magazine to have its own blog. For a while we ran a blog on the K9Magazine.com server but eventually I wanted the blog to have its own home so we invested in DogMagazine dot net.

Since then the technology available to blog with has easily surpassed what we are able to do with the K9 Magazine site.

I was reading a post by Seth Godin which had a pic of a store owner who’s sign was spelled wrong but he kept it up any way. Presumably because he had spent money on it and the idea of simply screwing it up in to a ball and throwing it in the bin would have been too painful.

It was really at that point that I knew I had to take ol’ K9 out back and give it the bullet.

I have been spending way more time adding content, news and premium features to DogMagazine dot net simply because it is easier, more search friendly, more user friendly, has more social features and generally has been a lot, lot slicker and simpler to operate. I spent less and less time with K9Magazine.com and before I knew it – or more to the point, before I was prepared to accept it – K9Magazine.com had been overtaken and I no longer could find a reason to justify running both sites side by side. In fact I even know we have managed to confuse people with running the two sites because I saw that when you type a search in Google for ‘K9 Magazine’ it suggests ‘K9 Magazine dot net’ which tells me that people have gotten mixed up with K9 Magazine and Dog Magazine dot net – which is the brand we gave to that particular site – for SEO reasons. The SEO mission was completed some time ago and confusing people as to the name of your brand is a pretty stupid thing to do.

So now we begin the transition process, moving all the content from K9Magazine.com over to DogMagazine dot net and when that’s done, there will be no more K9 Magazine dot com. We will have just one focal point for the magazine. Already we have replaced the Dog Magazine dot net logo at www.dogmagazine.net and replaced it with the K9 Magazine logo.

A lesson learned. Ignore sunk costs. Thank you Seth Godin.

Chloe’s Birthday

Yesterday it was Chloe’s birthday. She was 10.

As the editor of a highly successfull dog magazine, I get sent a lot of free dog products. My dogs are spoiled in that department.

So why was a trip to the shop required to buy Chloe a bag full of shiny, squeaky things to ‘celebrate’ her tenth year? Actual hard earned money, shelled out to get what? Nothing more than to see the wagging tail at full pelt, that’s what.

It’s anthropomorphism gone mad.

But she’s worth it.

http://www.imagepuppy.com/resized/2d5618ffd982fabc4d3b809ff324bbc3.jpg

Launches – They’re Like an Interesting Car Journey

I love launches.

I think I love the launch of a new product or service almost as much as when a business venture starts to become successful.

They’re hard work but it’s the unknown that makes it so exciting.

I suppose it’s like a car journey. When you set out to go to a new place you have a mixture of excitement, anticipation and a healthy dose of nerves that nag away at you, reminding you that you might actually get lost if you don’t keep your wits about you. Not many people actually like the idea – or the reality – of being lost.

An established business is more like the car journey you’ve made before, several times – you could almost do it on auto-pilot. But that’s dangerous.

Sometimes you want to take a more scenic route just to keep it fresh and interesting – which can be dangerous because you might REALLY get lost, which would be totally stupid if you were only doing it to give yourself a buzz! So far better to maybe let other people know the route and they can get the excitement from it being a new journey for them. Meanwhile, you need to find somewhere else to go. Which in turn makes the original route you stopped travelling even more interesting when you decide to go back to it.

In summary; launches – they’re great for keeping you fresh and on your game but if you have no intention (or ability) to actually get to the end of the journey, you’re probably better off not getting on the road in the first place.

Diet

I have decided to do a dietary experiment.

I am sceptical about most diets that are heavily marketed and promoted on TV and in magazines as they seem like nothing more than basic calorie control by proxy – e.g eat nothing more than cabbages for a week and guess what? You’ll lose weight!

Well, duh!

So, and this is no joke – I have credible witnesses – I am going on a diet of nothing more than KitKat peanut butter chunkies for a week.

kitkat-chunkypb

I shall report my results in scientific fashion in due course.

Why?

Why my own blog?

Why the hell not!

It’s really an outlet for me where I can where any hat I like without needing to check where I am.

If I want to write about dogs. I can.

If I want to write about my dogs. I can.

If I want to write about business. I can.

If I want to write about my business(es). I can.

If I want to write about anything. I can.

Probably will.