It’s Friday…time for another edition of “What Did You Learn This Week,” where I drop a couple of quick hits on you, and ask you to do the same.

Here’s what I learned this week:

  • That there have been more than 300 million downloads from iTunes U, Apple’s education-related portal that’s a part of the iTunes store. Draw your own conclusions. My conclusion is that we’re definitely on the right track with this little publishing company idea.
  • In addition to making it legal to jailbreak your iPhone, the Library of Congress has also given you the legal right to hack your e-books. Check out item 6 at the bottom of the notice. Note to self, don’t spend a whole lot of money on DRM at the moment.
  • What’s next, single-use versions of e-books that disappear when you shut off the device you’re using to read them?  (University of Michigan Press announces e-book rentals.)

What did you learn this week?  We need your comments and feedback, so please post up your own items.  

Happy Friday!

(Editor’s note:  Andrew Bender is the President of Eleven Learning.  His regular blog post, “These Go To Eleven,” appears periodically.)

Lifehacker recently posted some tips for saving money on textbooks. One suggestion was to photocopy them. The writer made no mention of any legal or moral concerns about doing this.

My immediate reaction was that Gawker bloggers will do pretty much anything in order to get page views. (See: Gizmodo and the iPhone 4.)

Let me get this out of the way: at Eleven Learning, our livelihoods are based on respect for intellectual property. If stuff costs money, we think people should either pay for it or do without.

But that’s not what I want to talk about today. Instead, I want to discuss why a big chunk of society sometimes decides it’s OK to stop paying for stuff.
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I probably wouldn’t have posted this had it not been for the following quote:

I’ve decided not to publish any more books in the traditional way…I like the people, but I can’t abide the long wait, the filters, the big push at launch…So while I’m not sure what format my writing will take, I’m not planning on it being the 1907 version of hardcover publishing any longer.

While they might not be regularly landing on the New York Times bestseller list or selling millions of copies of their books, I know that a lot of current and former academic authors feel the same way about the publishing process as Seth Godin does.

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It’s Friday, and time to share some quick things I learned this week:

  1. Educators are dreaming up some pretty creative ideas for using technology to free up more time for personal instruction in large intro courses;
  2. Advertisements are coming to an e-book near you, sooner rather than later;
  3. One management prof at Texas Tech replaced his “boring” textbook with a graphic novel and saw student success rates increase significantly;
  4. And finally, the University of Phoenix is once again under fire for recruitment practices.

What did you learn this week? Please share it below, on Twitter (#FridayWhatDidYouLearn), or become a friend and leave us a message on Facebook.

A survey done recently by ReadWriteWeb indicates that educators are spending a lot of time thinking about the roles and uses of popular technologies in the classroom. While it’s clear that a couple of the things that made the top 5 on the list are still in the “nice to have” category (I’m not sure I can see many school districts springing for iPad or Android tablets at this point), it’s heartening to know that teachers from the elementary school ranks all the way up through those in higher education are actively envisioning the future of the learning experience.

In a lot of ways, this makes our job as a publisher harder, because it forces us to pay very close attention to what our customers are doing, and, by extension, to what they want (or will someday want) from us. It also makes our job more rewarding, knowing that we’ll have a genuine opportunity to contribute to the intersection of technology and learning.

It’s not hard to be impressed by the Kno, the slick color dual-screen e-reader currently being class-tested in a couple of schools this Fall.  It’s a seriously cool piece of technology.  Two 14-inch screens.  A pen stylus for on-screen writing and highlighting.  Capacity for eight semesters worth of textbooks.  And a lot of other great features that could potentially blow things like  the iPad and Kindle right out of the water as textbook reading platforms.  The Kno is definitely poised to make a significant impact on the market.

Having said that, there is a very good reason why the Kno will not, despite its creators’ predictions, be “the textbook of the future.”
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Rob Curtis/militaryedge.comThe recent article in The New York Times about the efforts underway at companies and organizations like Curriki, Flat World Knowledge, and the CK-12 Foundation to provide free, open-source textbooks certainly struck a chord.  The thing that grabbed me was this quote from Scott McNealy:

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