Like many of you who teach history, I am always looking for new ways to convey the subject to my students. The move toward e-textbooks offers an exciting opportunity to expand the traditional textbook in a way that takes advantage of new digital technologies, including the community-building potential of social media. The possibilities are limitless, but unfortunately we have yet to see much. The large textbook companies such as McGraw-Hill and Cengage have done little more than to place their textbooks online. Supplemental materials that can enhance the text are limited. What we have may alleviate future back problems for today’s students, but they do little to advance pedagogy and historical understanding.
Over the past year I’ve been working with a small start-up called Flip Learning. The company is run by Christian Spielvogel, who teaches communications at Hope College in Michigan. Those of you who teach the survey course in World History likely use a textbook authored by his father, Jackson Spielvogel.