Can schools be publishing houses?

Will schools in the future be “publishing houses”? On the face of it this assertion is preposterous. The business of a school is surely to educate pupils entrusted to its care pure and simple. Yet our digital age is opening up opportunities for educators to by-pass traditional publishers and their wares. Imagine if a teacher could create an enriched range of resources tailored to the needs of their students accessible anytime anywhere? Well, this is not only possible it is happening in our school.

As an iPad 1:1 school our pupils already have in their hands a powerful tool which can be transformed into virtual textbooks. What started for us as a tentative exploration of iTunesU and iBooks is rapidly becoming a platform for resources tailored to the needs of our students created by our teachers. Of course we have to grapple with issues surrounding copy right and intellectual property, but with the aid of a dedicated Digital Researcher, our teachers are authoring a growing number of digital resources. The selection of iTunesU courses below are illustrative of our growing catalogue.

Currently we are planning the population of a room in the iBook store. It is a testimony to the talent of our teachers that they are keen to participate in this publishing venture seeing as they do the opportunity to create the resources they want for our learners. It is also of course an opportunity for their professional development – it has never been so easy to be a published author!

As an embryonic publisher, we have decisions to make. Should we aim to publish all our own resources in the future side-stepping traditional publishers? What should our business strategy be? How far should we be focusing on digital outreach locally, nationally and globally? These are all big decisions for those of us who have never worked in publishing. Yet they are exciting challenges created by the digital revolution which have the potential to be truly transformative.

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