For some of our teachers school has just started and for others, it will begin in the next few days. Over the last few weeks we’ve been frantically trying to get everything printed on time but alas it hasn’t happened quite like we imagined. Several of our books are still out to the printers and most of them are already printed, sitting, and waiting for binders to arrive. It has been interesting to try and juggle all of the different printing options that we made available. We’ve printed and delivered “starter kits” for teachers to get going, and will be delivering completed books soon.
Some of the teachers decided to go with regular paper 3-hole punched and loaded into a 3-ring binder, and others chose to print a more traditional textbook-look by printing it paperback with a ‘perfect bind.’ Unfortunately there was some confusion about the technical terms in book binding and what exactly they meant. There were also unforeseen delays in ordering binders and in getting the manuscripts completely prepared. In the future, having fewer options (perhaps even dictating what kind of printing a teacher will get) could eliminate confusion and make the process go better. Furthermore, misunderstandings and disappointment is also less likely with fewer choices.
On the other hand, teachers make the choices they make for pedagogical reasons. It would be interesting to look at questions surrounding learning, pedagogy, and book binding. Do teachers and students use their textbooks differently depending on what form they take? Do they use a loose-leaf 3-ring binder textbook differently from one that is perfect-bound? What pedagogical goals are teachers considering when they make the decisions about how they want their books bound? What difference do they think it will make to the students and will it make a difference to the students in the end? –All interesting questions for further research.