In the ever-changing world of education, it can be difficult to keep up. Change is the only constant, as the educational establishment grapples with the conflicting demands of politicians and employers, each keen to ensure that schools provide the education they believe is most appropriate for our children.
For schoolbook publishers, the challenge is to keep up with those changes. The investment in developing new educational materials needs to be tempered by the concern that changes may relegate this year’s course book to next year’s archives, as new material is demanded.
Employers today are calling for a return to basic skills, requesting that their new junior employees are capable of spelling and writing correctly, of understanding and executing simple arithmetic and of communicating clearly using traditional media, rather than by text or other social media. The calls have been for truly useful courses with a vocational element that is strongly linked to new technologies and techniques.
Meanwhile, politicians are trying to juggle the conflicting demands and desires of the will to educate more of the population to a higher standard, to equalise educational standards, and to accommodate the new while retaining what is valuable about traditional educational elements. Additionally, there is pressure on costs that demand more is delivered with less in educational budgets.
With the increased pace of change comes a series of challenges for schoolbook publishers. Workload is harder to plan, with peaks and troughs in demand likely as different exam and syllabus bodies decide on the material and subject matter that will be included in school courses and exam streams. That’s where specialist support companies such as HL Studios come into play, providing valuable assistance to schoolbook publishers and assisting with the production of new material. Their combined offering includes a project management service including design, page layout and illustration that enables both printed and digital schoolbooks to be prepared for publication, with services provided flexibly on demand to a range of established schoolbook publishers. Specialist software enables the delivery via a whiteboard process, of virtual books with video, images and even activities on the pages.
Increasingly today, schoolbook publishers need to think about more than just the traditional school book. Publishing has gone digital, and school children are working online and using computers, exploiting the opportunities that IT provide to learn in new ways. School books can therefore be published in the form of software programmes, or delivered as online content, demanding a different range of skills for designing and publishing material. Rather than the traditional one dimensional interaction that a printed course book offers, the new digital media encourage the arrangement of content in different ways, enabling it to be experienced and enjoyed in a new way. Interaction enables information to be presented in a multi-layered format, that can be interrogated using different routes to the traditional linear approach enjoyed by school children reading a schoolbook.
The disciplines required to be a successful schoolbook publisher will continue to expand and be more demanding into the future. The argument between what is an appropriate education system will continue; and the need to work closely with specialists such as HL Studios is unlikely to diminish.
Phone: +44 (01993) 848260
HL Studios, Witney Business Centre, Windrush House, Witney, Oxon, OX29 7DX.
HL Studios Witney Business Centre, Windrush House, Witney, Oxon, OX29 7DX
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