Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Publishers on Social Media

By Karen Parkman, Editorial Assistant

Though I’m both an avid reader and social media user, books and social networking seemed like an unlikely pairing to me. Maybe it’s because they appeal to me in completely different ways: reading is an isolated activity that requires concentration, while social networking connects me to a large group of people and requires a shorter attention span. Still, I believe both activities have a place in the modern world, and it’s exciting to see how books and their publishers adapt in the age of technology. Book publishers know that every hour a person spends on the Internet is an hour that he or she is not reading a book, but rather than compete with social media sites, publishers can use them to reach out to readers.

Major publishers such as HarperCollins and Scholastic have turned their attention to Pinterest, a relatively recent addition to the social media scene that has become the third largest social network. In short, it’s a virtual pin board where users can organize and share links, articles or images they find on the web. The majority of Pinterest users are young women and mothers—two core demographics for many publishers, particularly those who produce children’s books, young adult (YA) novels and cookbooks. This, combined with Pinterest’s growing popularity, makes the site an inviting space for publishers to engage readers and promote their brands.

The goal of this social media use for publishers is promotion, but it’s promotion done through dialogue and sharing. This is an interesting approach to marketing that seems perfect for books. I usually discover many of my favorite books through friends and family, so I’m always looking for recommendations. With social media, publishers can alert readers like me to their products in a way that is informal and friendly.

In the grand scheme of things, widely accessible social media is relatively new. This means that publishers, along with everyone else, are still figuring out the best ways to use it. Still, there’s no question that it’s good to have publishers in on the constant conversation happening on the Internet. And when the noise gets to be too much, you can always turn off the computer and pick up a book—possibly the one you discovered on a social media site.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Not-So-Lost in Translation

By Ken Scherpelz, Vice President of Sales & Business Development

Like many of my colleagues, I work from my home office, which is something I really enjoy. It gives me the opportunity to manage my own time and avoid the countless interruptions that can occur in an office setting. It also means that when the season changes, “someone” is responsible for “spring cleaning” my office. While I was cleaning up recently, I came across a project history list from a few years back. I compared it to our new 2012 list and I was hit not only by the number of translation projects we’ve completed, but also by the types of translation projects we’ve done. We’ve grown so much in just a few short years.
This is a brief sampling of some of the typical translation projects we’ve recently completed:
• Pearson Education’s Interactive Science Multilingual Glossaries for grades 6–8: multilingual translation of Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Haitian Creole, Hmong, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese
• Scholastic’s Read 180 Family Portal for middle school: Spanish translation and audio production of Power Words and Video Summaries
• Voyager Learning’s Ticket to Read online technology components for grades K–6: Spanish translation, script preparation, audio production and online QA.
• William H. Sadlier’s Creemos/We Believe for grades K–6: Spanish translation of religion program, including Student Books and Catechist Guides
• (unpublished) math program for middle grades: Spanish translation and production for Puerto Rico, including Student Editions, Teacher Editions and Professional Development components
In addition to our larger, more traditional projects, we’ve also had the opportunity to work on some pretty unique translation projects as well. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
• “How to Play the Ukulele” into Spanish for the US, including adaptations of lyrics for this market
• English teacher’s guides into Chinese for use with a cross-cultural teaching experience between the US and China
• online animated science tools into French for Canada
• Latin 1 and Latin 2; yes—LATIN
So how did this development company also become a top-notch translation company? We did it because you asked us to. PSG became your translation solution.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Five Cool and Free Resources for Math and Science

By Lori Becker, President & CEO

When I started PSG back in 2003, mathematics projects were a small part of my business, but that statistic has changed dramatically in the last five years. Now, we have multiple math projects in-house year-round. My staff and I tell some pretty funny math jokes, we come up with assessment questions for all kinds of situations in our daily lives and I’ve been keeping lists and lists of some pretty cool (and free!) resources. Here are a few noteworthy links and one of my favorite math puns:
“Dear Algebra,
Stop asking us to find your X. She’s not coming back.”
1. YouTube

This is a great resource for science and math videos. YouTube EDU functions like the regular YouTube site, but it only provides educational content. One big difference between the two sites is that, in order to protect students, the Education side does not allow user comments. Currently, there are more higher-ed videos available but in coming months, YouTube EDU is going to dramatically increase its K–12 material.
2. PBS: LearningMedia and PBS Teachers
and http://www.pbs.org/teachers/connect/resources
There are two great sites developed by PBS. The first, PBS LearningMedia, offers instant access to thousands of classroom-ready digital resources including videos and interactive modules (many are Whiteboard ready!), audio and photos, and in-depth lesson plans. The site also hosts a forum for teachers to share ideas with each other.
The second, PBS Teachers, is a free service for teachers and provides PreK–12 television and online resources, interactive activities and lesson plans along with professional development that can be used by teachers to earn graduate credits.
3. Mathwire

Creative seasonal math activities! These activities are all standards-aligned, and there is a blog that includes suggestions for implementation as well as a place for teachers to share their ideas. Some favorites include Cereal Toy Investigation and Seussical Patterns.
4. The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE)

This resource sponsors and designs interdisciplinary K–12 projects for teachers. It focuses on projects that use real-time data and collaborative efforts from all over the world, and it supports National Science Education Standards and NCTM math standards. There are also links to Ask an Expert sites where students and teachers can ask questions of mathematicians and scientists who are experts in their respective fields.
5. Geogebra

This site offers free software for all grades of mathematics, and it can be a great tool for teachers too. It also has a way for users to share lessons developed using Geogebra. There is a teacher-training component, and it has online forums in more than 20 languages to help answer questions from users around the globe.
Do you have a new or favorite resource that you’d like to share? Let me know! I would love to hear about it and add it to my expanding list.