Today I explored the self-publishing site Lulu.com Lulu won first place in the "books" category of the Web 2.o awards on SEOmoz.org. I had heard of the website a few times but I had never checked it out.
This unique site allows individuals to upload text, audio files, or photos, publish them in the format of their choosing, promote the material, and sell the material. The best part is that the basic features are free.
Teachers and librarians could use this book to promote writing with their students. Teachers/librarians can create a group which allows students to work privately on publishing their works and sharing them within the group. The tools offered by the website are applicable across the grade levels and subjects. Art classes can create books of their artwork. Writing classes can create novels, poetry books, and children's books. A music class could record their music and create a CD. A home economics class could create a recipe book. In math students could research the process, profits, and costs associated with publishing a piece of their work.
Lulu also offers a special program for schools called "Aspiring Authors". Teachers can enroll their students in the program which combines the publishing tools of the website with fundraising potential for the school. Each student receives a free copy of their published work. Limited details are available on the website, but you can sign up to receive more information.
I will definitely explore this website for use in the future. I think that it's a powerful way to help students connect what they are learning about in the classroom to application in real world scenarios.