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  • andrea 7:19 pm on November 27, 2011
    3 votes

    Hi everyone, My venture pitch is for a language support app for smart phones.  This project definitely pushed me outside my MET comfort zone, but I’m looking forward to this week hearing and reading about everyone else’s ideas. Andrea Here are my elevator pitch, and my venture pitch.

    Continue reading A3 – myEnglishAssistant Posted in: Week 13: Venture Forum
    • Jim 5:50 pm on November 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Wow! Is that your voice or did you get a professional to record the narration? Seriously. Whatever voice that is, it is clear and professional. Anyway, your elevator pitch is one of the best I have seen so far. Concise. Calm. Professional. The message I took from the elevator pitch was that your product provides mobile support for English language learners. I suppose one possible route for improvement would be to try to work into your slides how this mobile support would look in schools. If this is an educational product, it needs to be usable on an iPod-like device by ELL students in classrooms. How would that look? Also, would you be taking advantage of image processing to assist with vocabulary? That is, for example, Google can search it’s image database using an image (not a word) so you might be able to develop a way for the app to recognize an object and then provide the word…. just an idea…

      • andrea 8:31 pm on November 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Jim,
        Haha, that’s my voice! Thank you for your great suggestions. I did forget to add stuff about using images, which is so important in language learning. I hadn’t thought of this as classroom product, but it would be good to look at the opportunities that offers. Thanks again!

    • Juliana 8:20 pm on November 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I too enjoyed your elevator pitch. I thought it was short, sweet and it would make me want to find out more about your venture. I also liked how you did your graphics in both your elevator pitch and the accompanying venture report you created.

      I think my only criticism was that I wanted to know more about it. I would have liked to have seen some more details in your report. Specifically, I would have liked to have seen some ideas on cost-recovery and an approximate development time of your product. I did wonder if what you were offering for free was too little. I thought to generate interest may be a trial time offer would be good (ie. one month). That way people could get an idea of what the App could really do. Anyway, it’s just an idea.


      • andrea 8:33 pm on November 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Juliana,
        Great suggestions – thank you! I really like your temporary trial offer idea. That would be a much better ‘hook’.

    • schiong 1:36 pm on November 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Andrea,

      Great presentation.
      I can relate to your topic because I am a landed immigrant myself.
      I am not sure if this is common knowledge but allow me to share it.
      In the Philippines, one of the requirements of the Canadian Embassy (immigration) is that
      we take TOEFL or IELTS or provide sufficient proof that we could speak and write in English language. I guess we are not your target market 🙂

      I am surprise that the rule does not apply to other countries.

      Going back to the venture …
      I was intrigued with what you said, “When people learn new words, they can enter them in their
      personal Word Web.”

      The statement gave me the impression that the person learned new words somewhere else.

      Would your apps be installed or web based?
      If it is installed based, you might need to bring a developer who is familiar with Android, iOS, and other platforms. This might increase your costs. Not to mention … you might have to share your profit with Apple (if deployed for iPhone).

      My first impression of “Remember Me” feature was it is an electronic version of a flash card. Is it ?

      I could not find the Return of Investment part and how much shares would you give to the investors.


      • andrea 8:54 pm on December 1, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hello Stephen,
        Thanks for your review and suggestions! I should probably clarify my idea for the word web, which I think I neglected to fully explain in my pitch. The idea is that it’s a tool for people to enter the words they learn during conversation with friends, while looking something up, or potentially through their formal students. These are sort of people’s chosen *targets* for a given time-frame. If I were to revise the pitch, I’d definitely try to make that clear! Describing the reminder feature as an electronic flashcard is a good way to look at it.

        I agree that numbers, dollars and ROI info are conspicuously absent from my pitch. These things intimidate me a bit, so I left it out… Reviewing other people’s pitches has really reinforced how important that is, however.


    • Allie 5:51 pm on November 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Andrea,
      I agree that your voice is made for radio and! 😉 I feel your EP has a great amount of information, and is really nicely presented. your concept is straightforward and intuitive, and I immediately think, yeah, people would buy that. I’m wondering about what kind of competition myEnglishAssistant faces (are Berlitz and other language companies on the appwagon yet?) and what the learning advantages are above phrasebooks and other language translation/learning technologies?

      • andrea 9:05 pm on December 1, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Allie,

        So maybe one day I’ll achieve my dream of being a CBC radio announcer!?! 😉

        Great questions about the competition from the big language schools & course providers. (I really appreciated in your pitch that you clearly identified the competition.) There are some, and this would be tough competition. For example, Berlitz has a free one for students enrolled in their courses, as well as a paid one for those who aren’t. I hoped to differentiate myEnglishAssistant with the calendar and reminder features, but realize these are available through different tools. It’s an interesting challenge to combine existing tools and try to create unique value with the combination.

        Thanks for your comments!

    • Keisha Edwards-Hamilton 7:34 pm on November 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Andrea,

      Very good elevator pitch. It provides a good overview of your venture . It identifies the problems, the solution and your target market which is also very good. Your pitch quickly caught my attention and persuaded me to pay attention to your venture. It was convincing and made me want to learn more. I really would love to see how your venture works.


      • andrea 9:07 pm on December 1, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hello Keisha,
        Thank you for your comments, and I too would be curious to see how it works. 🙂 There are still so many questions to answer, and the process of creating the pitches has been very enlightening.

    • bcourey 3:16 pm on November 30, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Andrea,

      I agree that you have a great voice for narration! It gives you a very professional presence in your pitch. You have targeted a market that is in great need of a product such as yours. ELL students (and adults as well) have very specific needs for language acquisition and you have designed a product that could well fill that need.

      I work and live in an area with very few ELL students – very little immigration in my part of the province so I am not as aware of what other products are available as competition, but your ideas of just-in-time learning and personal organizational tools seem like unique solutions to their everyday challenges. You have conducted very detailed research about your market and you seem to have a good handle on the competitive products.

      You give options for the consumer – free for the basic service, low cost for additional features – this is very reasonable as the free version still gives good service. I’m not as sure about your request for investment, or the potential return on that investment, but I am wondering if you are offering a not-for-profit venture?
      Overall, I really enjoyed your presentations and would be very interested in promoting your idea further.


      • andrea 9:15 pm on December 1, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Brenda,

        I appreciate your kind comments – thank you. You mentioned the potential ROI and request for investment. I really didn’t address these, in part because I wasn’t sure what that looks like. My plan hadn’t been to develop a not-for-profit venture, as much as I’d like to be able to do that, because of the cost to develop quality apps. I appreciate the importance of this kind of information in successful pitches however, and have added this to my “do differently next time”list. 🙂

        Cheers, Andrea

    • Jim 8:05 pm on November 30, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi again Andrea,

      I wanted to delve deeper into your Venture Pitch and provide some feedback in the form of a brief EVA analysis. As a potential investor, I am looking in your venture pitch for a variety of information:

      Entrepreneur confidence:
      I chose to review your Venture Pitch because I appreciated the professionalism of your elevator pitch and assumed it would extend into your venture pitch as well. I was not disappointed. Both pitches came is a very professional package. This is important and adds to my confidence that you will be successful. Also, the fact that you are not only a teacher of ESL students, and a second language learner yourself, gives me greater confidence that you have first-hand experience for all perspectives. You mention a partner who has development experience. I would also like to see someone with solid business and sales experience who knows the minute facets of marketing and selling a product such as yours.

      Good product that will be in demand:
      I think you product idea has promise for many reasons not the least of which is the fact that a smartphone is becoming the device that almost everyone owns around the world. Everyone has one so why not develop apps such as yours. I also think the features that you have imagined are very smart. For example, the apps would know that the user wants to book a bus trip and provides the context specific vocabulary needed to communicate during this task. Entering and storing user words and information makes this context possible. The more information entered, the more personal it is, and the more the app can contextualize the vocabulary and other support features for the user.

      How big is the potential client base:
      I think that if you are able to develop and market your product successfully for English language learners, there is no reason why your product could not be retooled for any language learners. This would include a very large number of end users. I think you provide some very good stats on the market size and potential. I think you limit your venture pitch by talking a lot about Canada English as a second language learners stats… your product could be used even more in other countries on smartphones of users who intend to visit, work or study in English speaking countries.

      Can the product compete successfully on the market:
      Here is my major worry with your idea. There are so many competing apps on the market. After an extremely quick search I found all of these apps: 24/7 Tutor Lite, Arabic pod 101 (pocket Arabic), Hiragana Lite, Touchcards, 7 Jours, CherokeeLite, Michel Thomas Method, ChineseBiz, ChinesePod, iPronunciation and , ranslation, German FlashCards Lite(Declan Software), MemWords- Memorize Words- In Spanish, Gengo Lite Flashcard, AccellaStudy Essentials by AccelaStudy, Kana Lite, Prometoys Limited-Word of the Day, LangLearner LLC, Kana Tap, iReview Flashcards, Babbel Mobile, Word Power Lite, Japanese Phrases FREE (, and Study Arcade. None of these that I could see allows the user to enter information or contextualize the language support. But the real question is how are you going to be able to communicate your app’s features through all of this “app static” in the market? I think you will be able to compete in the market if you can deliver on the apps features and successfully battle through all of the other language apps and show why yours is so much better!

      Are you honest about challenges:
      I was hoping to see a strengths and weaknesses self-reflection in your Venture Pitch but I did not see one. This was my primary tool for talking about whether the entrepreneur is being realistic about the venture.

      Investment risk?
      I would consider this a risky venture to invest in simply because I am not convinced that end users would get a very strong sense that this product is set far above all of the other products. I feel more convinced of that after reading the pitch but I am not quite sure how quickly you could get people buy in. I do like the free version idea but I would not limit it in any way except for time. I would allow it for 2 weeks. I think a free app for two weeks is a reasonable amount of time to “evaluate” the app. It would also simplify the process. Download. Use. Pay after two weeks. Or not. So I think you have a great product idea but I worry about how you would sell it.

      • andrea 9:25 pm on December 1, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hello Jim,

        Huge thanks for your thorough review and feedback!

        “But the real question is how are you going to be able to communicate your app’s features through all of this “app static” in the market?” Agreed — this is a huge challenge! There are so many language apps out there, and the market is pretty crowded. Communicating the difference to buyers would be a challenge.

        To add to that, I agree that a team member with business and marketing acumen would be critical to this venture. Thanks for that point, because it really highlights the importance of presenting a team that inspires confidence with their ability to overcome any challenges.

        Your suggestion regarding a time-limited trial is also an excellent idea. It’s a far more effective tool to help people ‘experience the difference,’ so to speak.

        Thanks again!

    • verenanz 11:27 pm on November 30, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      What a great product. I would use it in my ESL classes as a tool for “theme based learning”…I don’t know if I would be able to afford the $20.00 version…but I like the idea that you would have a range of options. Your venture pitch is extremely well written – extremely easy to understand – almost written like an advertisement. I really liked the idea. Sorry I couldn’t see the pitch – in China…

      • andrea 9:27 pm on December 1, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hello Verena,
        Thanks for your feedback. Hope you’re having a great time in China!

    • Allie 6:37 pm on December 1, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Andrea, I enjoying reviewing and analysing your Venture Pitch.

      The overall presentation format is fantastic, and I’m enjoying getting a better sense of the product. I think it has a world of potential – I can certainly see my English Assistant being in use. Something we haven’t really explored in this course are technologies that are developed and then purchased by larger companies (my boyfriend’s friend builds and sells startups a lot). My hunch is that the best prognosis for MyEnglishAssistant may be that the app ultimately gets purchased by Berlitz, Rosetta Stone or another larger language learning organization because the market in overall language learning is so saturated, as you indicate. In my research, I found that app development is between $60-100K (Forrester; can access this through UBC library. Go to subject research guides > business > management > new business development.) I would imagine that once the technology is assembled, it would be fairly easy to translate into new language versions.

      I have a few ideas and suggestions that may be helpful in taking this Pitch to the next level:

      -I’m wondering if you can perhaps include more on the demand on the part of language learners for language apps, and for personalized learning. What do language learners perceive as their needs?
      – I think it would be helpful to provide richer demographic information on language learners? Based on my own experiences in Vancouver there are language learners at all income levels, but it seems that a lot of the students at the language schools are pretty affluent. I think that myEnglishAssistant could be beneficial to all, but require separate marketing strategies (maybe for lower income users, target social service organizations that provide language instruction and support for newcomers?)
      – I’m wondering if you could provide a more detailed overview of the competition, given that it is quite vast and diverse? What are the top apps? Are there common consumer/review complaints? How does this app correspond to other language learning programs – does it complement them? From an education perspective, I’m wondering what theories or evidence-based models of 2nd language education you’re drawing on, or might further draw on in your app development?

      • andrea 9:38 pm on December 1, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hello Allie,

        Thank you for your thoughtful review and great recommendations. Your suggestion to understand and explain the market – both customers and competition – more fully were well taken. That’s something I’ve appreciated in a number of the other pitches. Researching the competition would be an interesting but intense process, involving lots of sampling, as I imagine you did during your research. While I tried a few different apps, to run with this idea I would need to have an even more intimate knowledge of the competition.

        You also make an interesting point about small ventures being acquired by bigger fish. This isn’t something I’d considered for my pitch or others, but it’s probably quite a likely future for lots of tech start-ups. (I’d be curious to hear from David on this, and what this means for the future of the original product and team.)

        Thanks again for your constructive comments!

    • themusicwoman 8:21 pm on December 3, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Dear Andrea,
      Wow. Great voice 🙂 Your elevator pitch made me want to know more.
      I really like your venture pitch. Your idea is one that really makes sense. As an investor, that’s what I’m looking for. I can see a use for this application immediately. Your idea is also one that is feasible. Again, a plus for an investor. Like the CEO profile. Here is where I might perhaps be wary as an investor as both the product and yourself have yet to be “tested”. As for for your marketability: I love the idea of getting into the schools. That’s where you hooked me. I like the idea of targeting that very lucrative market. As a choir teacher of many international students, as much as I’d like them off their cell phones, perhaps they could use this app to learn that I want them to sing, not text on their phones 🙂
      The biggest impediment to your venture would be competition. However, as you’ve priced it right, I think it could do well. I would need more information on what is out there already and how your product would fare against those.
      Thanks for letting me get in my two cents worth 🙂

  • andrea 9:49 pm on November 22, 2011
    0 votes

    Tags: ,   

    “How can we use learning analytics to foster more effective design practices?” Learning and social analytics are important in understanding how people interact with your online content. In my world, where I create content for people I may never meet, I can use surveys to ask people about what they liked or didn’t like, found useful or […]

    Continue reading Activity #2 – Conole’s questions Posted in: Week 12: Social Analytics
    • Allie 10:26 am on November 23, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I like how you point out how analytics can be an effective supplement for surveys. It reminds me of one of the old adages of anthropology – what people *say* they do (in your case, surveys), and what they *actually* do (say, as perceived through analytics) can often differ. Both are significant pieces of data, and the points of difference and overlap between them can be illuminating.

  • andrea 1:05 pm on November 20, 2011
    0 votes

    Tags: audio, ,   

    What one change would you require to adopt m-learning for your own teaching and learning? This is not really a change, but rather an area for research. I’m not a teacher, but within my work context I would need to hear from our audience that mobile learning is something they’re interested to try and use. […]

    Continue reading Day 4 – new directions Posted in: Week 11: Mobiles
    • David William Price 7:25 pm on November 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I think Steve Jobs would say that people don’t really know what they want (although a UX consultant I mentioned this too beat me up for saying this). But I think it’s true, beyond early adopters. Most people don’t bother with something if they can’t see how it makes a significant positive impact for them.

      The multinational I spoke with loaded Blackberrys up with software and put them in the hands of their executives to show them the possibilities. Jobs did something similar when he showed people in Apple the swipe-scrolling function of the iPhone.

      Consider the discussion this week… I’ve really been pushing opportunity-based thinking about mobiles for learning while roaming, but I find most people see mobiles through the lenses of their typical lives today… mostly sedentary and mostly using laptops. To engage interest, you have to mock up new ways of engaging with the world… ways that demonstrate value and not just gee-whiz coolness.

    • andrea 6:49 pm on November 21, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I agree that people find it hard to visualize how something will transform their lives or a current practice. (This was my own experience with the iPhone – I never imagined it would be as useful or become as indispensable as it is.)

      However, I do think it’s important to ask people how they currently use the tools they have so we know the starting point. From that we can better determine the kinds of support or roll-out that will help people to adopt it. And, if we create something that works for smart phones only to find out that 80% of them are still using the original Nokia phone, we’ve wasted our efforts. As much as, I would love to load some iPhones up with cool apps and give them to our volunteers, but that’s not how health care non-profits usually roll. 🙂

  • andrea 11:24 am on November 20, 2011
    0 votes

    The problem my app addresses comes from personal experience — when I lived overseas, and was attempting to learn the local language, I would often learn new words through conversation with people (and make note of them in  my phone). However, these words were often not *everyday* words, and I would quickly forget them because I […]

    Continue reading Day 3 – Language on-the-go Posted in: Week 11: Mobiles
    • David Vogt 11:47 am on November 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      This is a very exciting area.

      Another venture launched by my Mobile Muse Network is in this space. The company is Linguacomm and the product is Supiki. They’re just starting to market internationally. Have a look.

      • andrea 1:19 pm on November 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Wow – that is a really cool tool! I hadn’t considered how the development of affordable voice recognition apps could change mobile language learning. I’ll definitely check it out when it launches next week.

    • mcquaid 12:22 pm on November 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Great idea, Andrea – a dictionary that teaches you what you need.

    • David William Price 7:17 pm on November 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Great idea… it leverages the affordances of mobile by focusing on words that you decide are important. Nice! I’ve found my own efforts to learn languages get very frustrating because of all the esoteric vocabulary that the programs force me to learn. This sounds more interesting!

  • andrea 8:52 pm on November 15, 2011
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    Tags: ,   

    My current m-learning activities are ad hoc — when I need to quickly figure something out (for example, while cooking dinner I needed to know how many cups were in a quart) my phone is the go-to tool. I listen to a few podcasts, and while these can be quite educational, they’re chose for their […]

    Continue reading Day 1 & 2 – Brain Food Posted in: Week 11: Mobiles
    • David William Price 11:35 pm on November 15, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for your post. You’ve brought up some common uses of m-learning: drill-and-kill and performance support (looking up simple info when you need it).

      Early e-learning on PCs was similarly limited… and yet now includes some pretty amazing alternatives. How might using augmented reality or the affordances for sound, video and photo capture combined with in-the-field authentic learning change your mobile experience?

  • andrea 6:54 pm on November 13, 2011
    0 votes


    Thank you all for your participation in the Problem Based Assessment presentation. So many interesting ideas and perspectives have been posted this week; this is a summary of what was discussed: PBA IN MET People highlighted a number of ways we have used PBA in MET, including creating concept maps, wikis, blogs, as well as […]

    Continue reading Week 10 – PBA Wrap-UP Posted in: Uncategorized, Week 10: Product-Based Assessments
  • andrea 4:45 pm on November 2, 2011
    0 votes

    The iPad’s portability could be a huge benefit for my context, but at the moment there are some prohibitive barriers. The materials I develop support the people in a volunteer network across the province. If our outreach and liaison workers had access to iPads to share our learning resources when they were meeting with people […]

    Continue reading Discussion #2: learning curve Posted in: Uncategorized
    • Deb Giesbrecht 6:35 pm on November 2, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Andrea,

      Thanks for your post. In the situation you describe, I would wonder if an ‘all or nothing’ rule would apply. Everyone receives an ipad or all lean towards another device. Many devices support many applications in an attempt for universality, however, when you are creating something that is cross-cultural, applicable to 80% of the users and their preferences – there lies the challenge.

      We do a lot of software development in the company in which I work and you are right – the testing required is not only time consuming, but can be all encompassing, especially when it does not work. We do more testing than most organizations related to the fact that patient safety is at risk, and therefore we need to ensure accuracy and reliability.

      I would really like to see in the future apps shared amongst educators that are applicable to the many versus the few. Along with lesson plans and real success stories would assist to open the market for the ipad uses – although I really do not think Apple is hurting due to lack of sales!

    • Everton Walker 2:05 am on November 3, 2011 | Log in to Reply


      I understand your concerns and share similar sentiments about the challenges involve. This is why I think it will take some time before ipads can make a game-changing impact on education. It’s not all about dumping some ipads in the respective departments and think they will work magic. The process requires a lot of thought and applications and training.


      • andrea 11:14 am on November 3, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Everton, your point that “It’s not all about dumping some ipads in the respective departments and think they will work magic” is such an important one. This applies to this week’s question about ‘is the iPad a game-changer’ – it can be if the applications, tools, and activities involved are educationally useful, but many technologies have been touted as such and failed to really deliver meaningful change.

    • Kristopher 12:31 pm on November 3, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Andrea,

      I have the exact same situation– while our training partners are still paid, it is considerably difficult to insist on a specific piece of technology. Much worse is to not make it available for those that don’t prescribe.

      I think the key for us is wikis and online information that is accessible with anything that gets you on the net. What do you think? Do you think there will always be a regular and a mobile version or websites?


    • Angela Novoa 6:52 am on November 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Andrea, thanks for sharing your ideas. These discussion kept my attention regarding to what do we expect of a technology when integrating it in our practices. As Everton mentioned “It’s not all about dumping some ipads in the respective departments and think the will work magic”. This phrase made think that it is not technology what will produce changes in education. It is the way in which we use technologies. So there must be some thinking, planning and assessing behind the integration of iPads or any other device. Does this make sense?

      In response to Kristopher, iPad is a device that allows to work through different apps and also allows to work through Internet. So iPads (and other devices) could be conceived as complementary devices for the use of any Web 2.0 tool.


  • andrea 7:37 pm on October 26, 2011
    0 votes

    Tags: ,   

    Cloud computing has been a central part of my MET experience, but I have yet to use it in my professional life. Since starting MET many, many moons ago, I’ve gotten much more comfortable with cloud computing options like Google Docs, wikis, multimedia publishing tools, etc. The usability of these has improved, even over just […]

    Continue reading Considering cloud solutions Posted in: Week 08: Files in the Cloud
  • andrea 11:45 pm on October 22, 2011
    0 votes

    This post is a bit of a mashup of the different discussion questions this week. Just a note about my comments, I don’t currently use blogs as a teaching tool (I’m not a teacher), but I can appreciate their value in the classroom. I see a couple the pedagogical values of blogging as the opportunities […]

    Continue reading blogging mashup Posted in: Uncategorized
    • bcourey 3:45 am on October 23, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks Andrea! I also find that blogging is not the best way for interaction – back and forth discussion is a bit awkward. I also consider blogs to be a great source for other information – links to journals and videos are often found there and I take advantage of it. My newest source of information is – I now follow a great site 21st Century in where daily links are provided on this topic. Interesting prediction that blogging may decline – you may be right. Unless someone creates a blogging platform that mashes together the great features of blogs plus the speedy interaction capability of Facebook and Twitter.

  • andrea 4:48 pm on October 12, 2011
    0 votes

    I have yet to purchase an eReader, and am still a paper book devotee. Part of the reason I enjoy paper books is that I enjoy the process of browsing bookstores and libraries, and that’s usually where I’m inspired to buy or borrow. When I first got my iPhone, I downloaded a few free e-books […]

    Continue reading still using trees Posted in: Week 06: eBooks
    • David William Price 4:52 pm on October 12, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      ” It would also be possible to offer customizable textbooks, so that people selected the chapters and topics that were most relevant to them”

      Great point. I may be doing a textbook with my adviser and he’s been talking about using this approach. A modular approach would allow us to pitch our text to different markets and provide suitable pricing based on the market (student, professional, etc.)

      • Kristopher 1:22 am on October 13, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        We’ve been trying to do a similar thing at the organization where I work. We train people in pre-hospital emergency medical care, but the provincial legislation is different in each province. This requires something a little more dynamic than traditional textbooks that we have just begun to explore an eBook as the option. Good luck with your text book!

    • jenaca 11:41 pm on October 12, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hey Andrea,
      To add onto what Daivd has said, I really like the point you made. I’ve never thought of creating textbooks that way and I think it would be very beneficial!
      How difficult is it to get a license to do this?

      • bcourey 3:59 pm on October 13, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Since textbooks in Canada are written to include the curriculum expectations of MANY provinces, I would love to pick and choose pieces from textbooks and “create’ my own and then offer it to students to read online – they would love to reduce the weight in their backpacks and just read those articles that I find relevant…I already did that with textbooks and the students complained that they had to carry the heavy books even though I used only about a quarter of the content – I prefer electronic texts that have interaction, video, audio – many of my learning disabled students needed the text to speech features of the online texts.

    • Kristopher 1:20 am on October 13, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Andrew (and all),

      I am still a paper reader myself even though I think of myself generally as an early adapter. I am not a huge pleasure reader (or haven’t been for a couple of years), but your experience of browsing the bookstores and libraries reminds me a little of my experience with movies. I use to enjoy going into the local video rental place and browsing for a new release with my favourite actors and seeing what else was out there, but now I find that anything that I am interested in I have already seen. I work from home and have a constant stream of television / movie / noise going on, so often times I have already seen (or heard at least) many of the movies. I have found that stopping at the video store is a waste of time because I already have looked through what was released in the last couple of months. I can imagine that if I was looking for more pleasure reading it would be a similar experience.

      • ashleyross 9:23 am on October 13, 2011 | Log in to Reply


        My husband and I have a similar experience with movies. We used to go to Blockbuster & Best Buy to check out new releases but in the past few years it has decreased dramatically and now we seem to use our AppleTV to check out new releases and watch trailers. We both prefer to read e-books rather than paper but we still wander through bookstores to find new books we are interested in. Instead of buying the paper book we take a picture of the cover and then go find it on the internet. I think it’s interesting that we’ve fully committed to the online experience of buying movies & watching trailers through AppleTV but when it comes to e-books although we prefer reading digital copies verses paper we still like to find most of our books through bookstores and paper books.

    • mcquaid 8:25 am on October 13, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Andrea, your “still using trees” heading reminded me of an email from years ago, talking about this new invention called “book”. It didn’t need electricity, it didn’t need updates, etc. It also brought to mind a book we have for our little guy here at home, called “It’s a Book”.
      You can watch the trailer here:

      I wonder if the order of things was in reverse, would we see books as superior to e-readers? They’re definitely more ecologically-friendly, aren’t they? The inevitable amount of e-waste this new wave of devices will create also had me thinking of another very-worth-watching video, “The Story of Electronics”:

      Decades down the road, I wonder what our more earth-friendly tech solution will be…

      • andrea 8:58 pm on October 13, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Steve, thanks for those really interesting links! You got me wondering about the green-ness of books versus e-readers, so I did a bit of research. According to GigaOM and research from the Green Press Initiative, “an iPad is responsible for 130 kg (287 lbs) of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas emissions over its average lifetime. The average printed book, by contrast, is responsible for only 8.85 lbs. So, an iPad owner needs only download 32.4 books instead of purchasing paper copies in order to reach the break even point when it comes to carbon footprint” (

      • Deb Giesbrecht 7:08 am on October 16, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Interesting links.

        I have often wondered about being greener with ewaste. I know from ads that hundreds of thousands of cell phones are thrown out over North America every week.

        At work, I tried to purchase my own computer after the lease came up. Not that it was a great computer, but I did not want to see it go to the dump. I was told I could not do that as the hard drive is destroyed and the rest of it went ???where. Anyway, the point is that even if I wanted to be green, I could not. The corporation would not allow it.

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