Back to Simple Text

In a world increasingly obsessed with rich media, it strikes me that many websites and publishers are chasing the kind of visual-awesome that many of the big game studios thought would separate them (the big league AAA block-buster games) from the little league of Indie and Web game-devs. We all know that Facebook games and Snack Games on smart phones, kicked many of the big-developers in the backside a few years ago. Now some of the most engaging games are relatively simple in terms of graphics – it’s the content that matters.

Now, I’m willing to say, as a designer – that I can bling-up any content into slick-visuals. It’s a kind of cheat. What I’m here to argue is that going simple is perhaps the new challenge for teachers who have spend the last decade doing what they were told – making clever blogs, wikis etc., packed with bling and buzzy rich media.

We know eBook Readers (Kindle and Nook) are fighting it out with a race to the bottom. Illumited readers are under $200 and old-school non-illumes are under $100. With serialised content, these will soon be completely FREE. What? Yep – FREE – that means publishers will be giving you the device with the book – and so all school kids can have a device with the text book. Not only that, the device will be able to go online and have some basic functions as a browser and computer.

We’re about to enter an era where the government won’t blow another $3billion on laptops, as laptops and 1:1, although revolutionary – didn’t really deliver on the promise (the curse of ed-tech). So it makes perfect sense to me, to start thinking seriously about what skills teachers need to make eBook Content.

The good news is of course that eBook content is simple! It has to be, the theory around Technology Acceptance Models shows that if their is even a slight smell of ‘new work’ most people won’t do it – but if the same work can have more benefits (less long term effort) – they will.

So save that word document in an accessible eBook format and deliver! – I know this is really sad – as what well get pumped out is more content and factual worksheet stuff – but hey, at least you can search it and store it on a single device that anyone can get their hands on. Perhaps narrowing the equity gap is to focus on the quality of information – by making it simpler, cheaper and more reliable.

Hello illuminated e-ink and inspiring content – goodbye bling and meme. What is great about this is that content can be re-organised and distributed in new ways. Ways that more represent ‘tradition’ than innovation. Who will lose? Those who didn’t pay attention to Peter Kay.


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