The Beaten Path

“Building your own personalized travel guide couldn’t be easier. In five simple steps you tell us where you’re going, where you’re coming from, your name, and when you’ll be there. That’s it!”

It’s very early in the morning (I neglected to change the clock by my bed back from daylight savings time), so I do not recall how I ran across this, but the first thing I caught, in these early hours, was an announcement from Dave Sifry, the founding CEO of Technorati.  His new endeavor is Offbeat Guides.

He explains in the announcing blog post from his Sifry’s Alerts,

Our first product is quite simple: On-demand, Personalized Travel Books. Travel books that are tuned just for you, only about the place that you’re going, with local information like festivals, events, and concerts that are going on during the dates of your stay. We put in local maps that are tuned to where you’ll be, and we even customize the guide based on what we learn about you, like the timezone differences from your hometown, electrical plug differences, embassies and consulates nearby, differences in tipping policies, exchange rates, local weather forecasts, and much more.

They include 30,000 cities destinations from around the world, which include New York, Paris, Rome, and Tokyo — and Newark, Paradise, Romeoville, and Tokorozawa.

The tool needs to know where you are going, when you will be there, where you are coming from, where you are staying, and your name.  From this information, it constructs a travel guide that is geared to your specific locales, any local festivals, events, or concerts, and contextualizing the material to your place of origin.


As we continue to dream about the possibilities of textbook 2.0, which is not only digital, but pliable — and we imagine book services where the teacher (and even students) can pick and choose among modules of content, assembling webtexts that are specific to instructional needs, such individualized content generators may be one of the most appealing aspects of such a service.

The Offbeat Guides are not free.  A printed book will cost $24.95 and a PDF edition is $9.95.  You can get both for $24.95.  As you shop for modules for your North Carolina history, specific teacher-generated reports about the origins of various generations of immigrants might be highlighted, both by the publishers and by procedural recommendations.

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Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.