BreakDrink, CTCX

The @BreakDrink Campus Tech Connection #CTCX No. 70: Ginkgotree

There are a number of conversations about challenges, changes and disruptions to higher education. Recently, Ginkgotree, the “Tumbler for textbooks,” got me thinking more about my curriculum content and sharing for my courses.
Teaching with a course pack just got a whole lot simpler with the new Ginkgotree app. http://www.ginkgotree.com/
Ginkgotree launched last week to allow instructors the ability to customize and develop their learning material using a wide variety of multimedia and curriculum content. On Monday’s (10/8/12) BreakDrink Campus Tech Connection (#CTCX) show, we were able to get a LIVE show and tell to preview the new instructional resource from Scott Hasbrouck (@scotthasbrouck), Ginkgotree CEO & “Everything Hacker.”
Here are a few of the interesting features that might appeal to educators in higher education (and possibly K-12 as well):
1. Teaching from your own curriculum – instructors have the ability and control of designing their own course curriculum that meets the needs of their learning objectives and materials. Through an easy licensing service provided by Ginkgotree, instructors have the ability to use content from all over the web including journal articles, YouTube videos, images, and other content on the web. One this course pack is developed, instructors have the ability to share a private link to students to start the learning.
2. Do you have an aged textbook to add?  Ginkgotree allows you to utilize some of your favorite text material, even the ones that have been highlighted, annotated and difficult to retrieve in the past by using high quality scanners to digitize your print text and share legally with learners.
3. Give your students the best opportunities to learn – Remember when you wondered if your students even bought or even opened the textbook for your course? SOON instructors will be able to track learner progress and engagement through course pack analytics. Ginkgotree also has the ability to offer public and private notes, ask questions, and tag your content with keywords to make it easier for both the instructor and student to navigate.
4. Reduce the cost for your learners – Students pay a flat rate of $10/month for unlimited courses, plus any applicable copyright fees (usually 15 cents per page) for their books. Rather than spending $250 per textbook, average costs of textbooks range from $45-55. For instructors it is “Free. Always. Forever.”
I think Ginkgotree has an interesting model and can definitely contribute to the evolution of higher education and learning as we know it. Perhaps it is time to consider how we compile and share learning content with our students. Go on. Sign up. Play around with it yourself. Let me know what you think.
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