Writing for readers

Writing for ReadersI am in that singular stage of insanity called finishing a book. My mind is full of details and questions such as, “did I already cover this in Chapter 1” or “do I have too many diagrams in this chapter”? At the same time, I can’t help but think about my reader.

I hope that my reader will hungrily devour the book from start to finish, stopping only to make notes about how she will put my ideas to use. I hope it will be dogeared, full of notes and highlights my reader will return to time and again. But seriously, how can we plan for the realities that will occur when masterpiece is in someone else’s hands? Here are some of my apprehensions, and the strategies I’m using to address them. [Read more…]

How to explain complex ideas in a simple way

Explaining complex ideasAs teachers and authors, we are often faced with the challenging task of conveying information that, although second nature to us, is completely foreign to the students learning the material. Several experienced textbook authors share their best practices for explaining complex ideas in a simple way, including the use of metaphors, visuals, procedures/processes, and hands-on multisensory activities to improve learning success. [Read more…]

How to successfully incorporate text, pictures and audio into your learning materials

Laura Frost_2015 Conference

Laura Frost, Ph.D.

Incorporating multimedia resources into learning materials is now standard practice, but according to Laura Frost, Director of the Whitaker Center for STEM Education and chemistry professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, it is important that educators incorporate text, pictures, and audio in ways that will be most useful for learners. Frost is also author of the textbook General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry 2e (Pearson). [Read more…]

Why print is still winning

w-onlinereading0221The debate about digital textbooks (etextbooks) and whether they will replace their physical counterparts continues this week with recent findings from the University of Washington. Their study showed that roughly 25% of students who were given free versions of etextbooks still purchased a physical copy of the same book.

“These are people who aren’t supposed to remember what it’s like to even smell books,” said Naomi S. Baron, an American University linguist who studies digital communication. “It’s quite astounding.”

Another survey done by Student Monitor found that 87% of college students purchased their textbooks as physical books, not etextbooks. Moreover, as mentioned in this Washington Post piece, “Textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer [Read more…]

How to apply the theory of experiential learning to textbook writing

high stack of booksExperiential learning, a four-stage cycle that accommodates four distinct types of learners, is the ideal way for people to learn. While each person will prefer one part of the cycle over others, it is important for educators to guide their students through each stage in order to achieve the best possible learning experience.

According to Dr. Alice Kolb, president of Experience Based Learning Systems, Inc., textbook authors can use the following ideas to incorporate all four stages of the experiential learning cycle and maximize the educational potential of their books:

First Stage: Concrete Experience. Vignettes or quotes can help students identify with the content of a chapter, or you can provide introductory exercises to give students an initial experience with your topic. [Read more…]