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Omniguides – The Missing Connection Between Education and Technology

Study Guides that make your smart friends and tutors seem within easy reach

“Omniguide, n. Pronunciation: ˈɑmniɡaɪd

A study guide about everything.”

That is an excerpt from the never-released Omninox English Dictionary (OED). Let’s check Omnipedia for a more detailed explanation.

“An Omniguide is an interactive, digital study guide made by students, for students. It is designed with the user experience in mind. Starting with the user experience, the content was then designed to maximize engagement and learning. The strategy used in an Omniguide involves emphasizing images to explain concepts, and reinforcing the problem-solving skills through interactive quizzes, example problems, and practice problems.

Omniguides are created by Omninox Publishing using Apple Inc.’s iBooks Author software. They were one of the first series of books released in the iBookstore’s textbooks section, less than 8 months after Apple released iBooks Author and iBooks 2.0. They were made to address the concerns that many consumers voiced about the large publishing companies. These concerns included a lack of ‘technology enhanced questions,’ the abundance of typos, and some even went as far as to call their books ‘Junk. Just an ordinary text book with no access to an answer key.’ Ouch.”

How Omniguides are different

Even though converting textbooks to a digital medium seems like a good idea, the biggest reason that these textbooks got harsh reviews is because… they are still textbooks. No one reads textbooks in this day and age, when Google and Youtube have replaced the index at the back of a giant book. Reading a thousand pages is not what today’s students want. They want something more engaging, something that can capture their attention, and actually make learning fun! They do not want some old, boring guy talking at them. They want to be able to interact with the technology in front of them, just like they interact with their computer screen. The large publishing companies are making the same mistake that many large organizations that are slow to change make. They try to retrofit old methods to new technology. That is a bunch of bull$#!@.

Could the parthenon have been made out of straw? Could the Empire State Building have been made out of clay? Could the Sears Tower be made out of stone? When new technologies such as iBooks 2.0 and ePub 3.0 emerge, the content creators must adapt to the change. They must change the way they build and organize their content, just as an architect changes the shape and structure of a building with each new building material. If the existing large publishing companies do not adapt, they will not survive. They will be disrupted.