One of the certainties in the future is that, in addition to printed textbooks, support in digital format should be developed and harmonized with technological innovations. But I am confident that printed textbooks will remain a basic and irreplaceable source of knowledge for students in the future too
Today, generations are growing up with mobile phones and tablets in their hands with almost all information and knowledge available to them through multimedia and interactive platforms. As BIGZ Školstvo monitors and adapts to innovations, we talked with Marija Živković, the company’s Editor-in-Chief, about digitalization, the quality of textbook authors and textbooks, as well as the future of this segment of publishing.
How much have the significance, role and content of textbooks changed in the 21st century in terms of the development and application of new technologies?
Printed textbooks are certainly an irreplaceable teaching tool. However, having in mind that the educational system should be developed in accordance with technological innovations and adapt to them, our company provides students with that kind of support. All textbooks of BIGZ Školstvo publishing company have been digitized and uploaded on two interactive platforms. In this way, we have combined traditional and contemporary, so that learning is supported by the use of digital devices, which have become an indispensable feature of everyday life, even in the teaching process. For students, it is a kind of challenge to acquire knowledge in a digital environment, which is extremely close to the younger generations. Even material they are not initially interested in can become very interesting when presented through 3D animations, recorded experiments, virtual walks or educational games.
Many publishing companies on the Serbian market create textbooks. What sets BIGZ Školstvo apart from these companies?
We are very proud of our teams of authors, who are made of the most renowned experts from our country (methodologists, practitioners, scientists) and who have woven their knowledge and experience into textbooks. What sets our company apart from others is consistency in quality and our continuous support to teachers and students. This was especially evident in 2020 when we all had to adapt to the pandemic. We demonstrated that teachers and students could rely on our constant support in the teaching process. Our abundant digital base has realized its full potential in terms of application during the state of emergency when the teaching process was completely transferred to the digital environment. Also, we have shown efficiency in adapting teaching materials, so that teachers and students could use them most optimally in the changed circumstances of the teaching process.
“What sets our company apart from others is consistency in quality and our continuous support to teachers and students”
To what extent do your textbooks encourage children’s independence, critical thinking as well as their social skills, and do you ever consult students about the textbooks you publish?
Of course, they encourage and enable independent work and learning. Our textbooks have abundant content that facilitates the connection between everyday life and scientific concepts, while the methods and didactic procedures are in line with the theory and practice of active learning. Ways of learning are planned and designed from the point of view of the learner, i.e. with full respect for the teaching process as a partner, but at the same time, they underline the educational needs of students. In the end, the students themselves are the best “reviewers” of textbooks. Their opinion is an important indicator for us whether the textbook is good and applicable. For this reason, we do evaluations and surveys when creating textbooks, to ensure that feedback. It is wonderful when you hear from a parent that their child easily learns by using our textbooks and that the child is satisfied. That is our greatest satisfaction.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected almost all areas of society. Has it perhaps imposed new trends in publishing? What do you think the future of textbooks will look like?
This pandemic has shown the importance of online support in the form of digital textbooks and multimedia materials. Even before the pandemic, BIGZ Školstvo had been engaged in the digital sphere for years, so we were ready when this unpleasant situation emerged. One of the certainties in the future is that, in addition to printed textbooks, support in digital format should be developed and harmonized with technological innovations. But I am confident that printed textbooks will remain a basic and irreplaceable source of knowledge for students in the future too.