Transforming Digital Science Publishing at Pearson Education
by Franziska Boeswald, MA Publishing Media
Colin Goodlad, Senior Product Manager at Pearson Education, gave us a fascinating introduction to the digital side of publishing for GCSE science. His team consists of two parts: the development team and the delivery team. Both need to work closely together to achieve the best possible result.
The interactive web platform, ActiveTeach, complements the science textbook. Mimicking the book layout somewhat, the digital product includes front of class teaching materials such as videos, animations and presentations. A fact that surprised us was that the new GCSE syllabus science material for teachers was published in three steps:
- The material for the first term was published as soon as it was ready and given away to the users for free.
- Then the material for the second term was published and offered for free.
- The last block of material was available for purchase.
This method of publishing clearly has some advantages, as Mr Goodlad explained. The teachers wanted access to the new syllabus material early. Pearson delivered it them in a timely manner. Pearson published the material before their competitors and gained market share. Digital delivery enabled the publisher to get direct feedback on their product from the consumer.
Mr Goodlad’s preferred option of acquiring feedback about new products is to go into the schools using them and observe how teachers and students work with the content.
What do teachers think about digital products? Mr Goodlad surprised everyone by saying that teachers would much rather not work digitally and often struggle with technology. The talk gave us an amazing insight into what goes into planning a digital companion for education purposes. We had the opportunity to ask a variety of questions that allowed us to approach further projects in our modules from a different perspective.