The field of educational materials (EM) refers to a subset of the book, games, Internet, and software publishing industries that is focused on providing resources to a variety of educational market segments. For instance, PricewaterhouseCoopers characterizes the EM sector as divided into digital and non-digital solutions (Cola, et al. 2009). At the K-12 educational level, digital solutions include a range of technologies used to enhance the delivery and the administration of K-12 education, including data management systems, web-based course and assessment materials, and online tutoring and professional development—however, we will only focus on those digital solutions products that have specific educational purposes and where knowledge is embedded in a form that can be enclosed by some form of intellectual property. Regarding non-digital solutions, we include textbooks, course packs and other supplementary materials, and various educative toys and games.
Actors providing these materials are private companies such as publishers controlling the textbook and complementary materials markets; global media companies focused on the family-based market, such as the Discovery Channel; public institutions, such as National Public Radio; universities and their presses, providing both closed and open educational materials; and independent organizations and associations comprising educators and interested individuals wanting to contribute to the open educational resources (OER) movement.
"A significant feature of most educational resources is that they are restricted to many and can cost a lot to gain access to. This is largely because of a market economy around educational resources. They are copyrighted and packaged up as objects—books, journals, videos—that have to be bought from a store or accessed through course fees or university repositories (libraries in most cases). Even if this copyrighted material is available in public libraries, it is then effectively rationed by the numbers of copies available and the costs and opportunity costs involved in people traveling to the library to use them (with that use being further restricted by the all rights reserved copyright applied to them)." (Iiyoshi and Kumar 2008, 149)
Taxonomy of Educational Materials Industries
Focus Market Segments
- K-12 Level
- The Educational Materials sector for K-12 in the US can be divided into non-digital and digital solutions. Digital Solutions is a general term that describes a range of technologies used to enhance the delivery and the administration of K-12 education, including data management systems, web-based course and assessment materials, and online tutoring and professional development. While under the non-digital solutions for K-12 education we find textbooks, course-materials and other products, such as educative toys and games.
- Higher Education Level
- Similar to the K-12 Level, the Educational Materials sector for Higher Education can be divided into non-digital and digital solutions. However, there is a strong emphasis on the traditional college textbook and related course materials, including non-textbook academic and professional works used in college courses often published by University Presses. Digital solutions for Higher Education are most often electronic versions of textbooks and supplementary materials or activities.
De-prioritized Market Segments
- Educational Software
- Educational Video Games
- Internet-based Activities (in Flash, Java, etc.)
Excluded from Field Definition
- Non-digital Educational Games
- Any resource not overtly produced for educational purposes
This is the most recent draft of a paper summarizing the Educational Materials research contained in the wiki.
- A Brief Overview of U.S. Public Policy on OER from California's Community Colleges to the Obama Administration
by Carolina Rossini, Erhardt Graeff, October 1, 2009
Study of the Field
Analysis of the K-12 sector of the Educational Materials field, following the ICP Main Questions.
Analysis of the Higher Education sector of the Educational Materials field, following the ICP Main Questions.
These are the early "Quadrants Mappings" based on the field analysis for each Educational Materials market segment.
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