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Archive for the ‘books’ Category

In a time when teens spend hours on their laptops or mobile devices, new research is giving educators and parents a glimpse of hope, according to The Washington Post. Although pleasure reading on printed materials (books, newspapers and magazine) dropped 23 percent in 2008, compared with 2003, from 65 minutes a week to 50 minutes a week, experts say that teens are still reading, they are now using different methods.

“They could be reading on the cell phone, in games, on the Web, on the computer. It doesn’t meant they’re not reading, but they’re not reading using the printed page,” Sandra Hofferth, a researcher at the University of Maryland, told The Washington Post.

Read the entire Washington Post article.

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Is there a difference between leading companies and companies that lead? Well, Simon Sinek author of “Start With Why,” thinks there is quite a bit of a difference between the two. MSNBC.com interviewed Sinek about the release of his new book “Start With Why” that discusses how great leaders inspire everyone to take action. In the video, the author mentions that entrepreneurs are better equipped to lead than any other group.

What’s the difference between leading companies and companies that lead? According to Sinek, leading companies focus on the market share and have the title of being number one in the industry. He mentions that leading companies forget that profit is more important in the long run. He gives the example of General Motors (GM) as being a leading company because it sells the most cars in its industry. On the other hand, companies that lead set the pace or direction for the entire industry and are the ones other companies follow. Sinek gives Apple Inc. as an example of a company that leads because it sets the direction and the tone in which everyone follows.

The author suggests that companies that want to lead should keep three points in mind: 1) Companies need to have a clarity of their purpose, cause, beliefs and why their company was founded. To find out the other remaining points, watch the video and let NSSEA know your thoughts!

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Farewell to Textbooks

Rebecca Haden, A Plus School Supply, Harrison, Arkansas

The New York Times has reported that textbooks are doomed. Textbooks are heavy, expensive, often used only occasionally and largely for things that can be found online for free, and they use up paper at an incredible rate.

Announcements of doom aren’t always borne out by events, but I believe this prediction. Already, we hear teachers talking about textbooks as a burden rather than a help, and concerns about the health of students with backpacks full of books are growing.

While textbook publishers won’t be happy (and they should be racing to get their wares onto Kindle, if you ask me), it’s good news for the rest of us:

  • It’s good news for schools, which can now put textbook funds toward other needs.
  • It’s good news for teachers, who will no longer be locked into lessons based on mandated textbooks, and can have greater flexibility, choosing the best materials for their particular class’s needs.
  • It’s good news for students, who will no longer court back trouble at an early age by hauling those textbooks around, and will also be able to have more responsive teaching.
  • It’s good news for publishers of supplemental materials, who can now take advantage of the greater flexibility and freer funds.
  • It’s good news for manufacturers of hands-on classroom learning materials, for the same reasons.
  • It’s good news for educational retailers, who haven’t ever done much trade in textbooks and will benefit from the new opportunities for manufacturers.

As retailers, we should get prepared for the shift.

  • We should support it by carrying serious books and software as well as the fun supplements. Then, when teachers seek alternatives to textbooks, they’ll think of us.
  • We should watch for the publishers who stick their necks out and make good materials for the future textbook-free classroom. This could be an area of great growth in the near future, and we can be in on it.
  • We should offer e-books and other high-tech alternatives, encouraging the demand which will build the supply.
  • We should offer workshops to help teachers use the internet more effectively in their classrooms. Many of our teachers just aren’t Web 2.0-ready yet.
  • We should offer the kind of classroom furniture and accoutrements that will make a computer-centered classroom work better. Physical space issues are a big problem in classrooms right now, but there’s someone out there with a great idea. We can find and support the companies that innovate.

If we get ready for technological change, and stop thinking that we’re all about supplementing textbooks, we retailers can be ready for the end of the textbook. If not, we’ll be left in the dust.

With the textbooks.

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