Help Develop Magic Schoolbook

If you find an empty, incomplete or inadequate page which you think you could write or improve, send me an e-mail to say that you are interested in working on it. I will tell you if someone is already on the case so that you don't waste any time on it, but otherwise I may invite you to go ahead. It would be wise for you to direct me to some of your previous work so that I can examine it and determine your competence. Don't bother to get involved though if you have been banned from working with children or if you have a criminal record: even though you won't have any contact with any children through the Web site, I think it would be unacceptable for you to be involved in any way, so I will be checking.
indentAssuming that I have given you the green light, when you have completed your page you should send it to me as an attachment or put it up at your own Web site and let me know that it is there. If it is up to the task, I will copy it into the Magic Schoolbook Web site and you will be awarded points entitling you to a share of the money that the site might eventually generate (see below).
indentIf you have created content which depends on your own creativity, the copyright for that will be yours and you will still be entitled to publish it elsewhere in addition to having it on my site, though you will not be allowed to withdraw permission for me to use your pages once you have agreed that I can use them (this is standard practice in publising). If I have commissioned you to write the pages in a specific way (though I won't normally do this), then the copyright will be mine (and again that's standard practice). If you agree for your work to be used on my Web site, you will also be agreeing for it to be used on any CD/DVD/etc. version of the site which may be sold or given to people whose children wish to work entirely offline (and you will be paid accordingly), and you're also agreeing that translations of it can be used in the same ways.
indentOnce your pages are on my site, you will be awarded points according to how important the pages are (which is measured by how often they are downloaded by visitors, although pages which merely list content are excluded from that) and the amount of work you have put into them: we will discuss this in advance, but it's generally related to the number of words involved, so long as the quality is high and they are not bloated. There will often be extra points for interactive content, highly crafted text and innovative teaching methods. These points will determine how much of a share you will get of any revenue that may some day be generated from sponsorship of the site: after the running costs of the site have been covered, any remaining money from sponsors/advertisers will go to the writers of the site (so if you have a hundred points, your pages are of average usefulness, and there are a hundred thousand points in total awarded to page writers, you will receive 1/1000 of that money, calculated on a daily basis - don't get excited at the idea because it will probably never add up to anything significant, but it's important to establish rules about this from the start so that no one feels they aren't being fairly rewarded for their contribution if a sponsor decides to put some money in). The costs of running the site will be restricted to the absolute minimum necessary to cover the Web-hosting charges and to provide sensible saleries for any people who might need to be employed to manage the content of the site, though there is also the option of paying them in points so that they can be paid royalties instead, meaning they could make more money in the long run and be treated in exactly the same way as content providers just supposing a big injection of money should occur. There will certainly be no Mr. Big ripping money out to line his own pockets just for owning the site - any money I make from it will be directly related to the contribution I have made to the site's content, and if you put in the same amount of work generating content, you could end up with as many points as me. Magic Schoolbook is in effect a non-profit-making publisher designed to maximise earnings for the self-employed writers and programmers who create the site content. No one's expressed any interest in sponsoring the site so far, so other routes to rewarding content providers may need to be considered, such as asking for donations from users.
indentClearly the total number of points will go up every day as more pages are added, but the sponsorship if there ever is any should rise to match. Translated versions of your pages will also add points to your total as well as adding some to that of the translator. The number of points available for translated pages will depend on how many users of the site choose to read it in the language used, so a page in an obscure language is likely to earn next to nothing, unless an organisation puts money in on the understanding that it is only for pages written in a specific language, thereby amplifying the points of the translator. Translators can expect to earn a tenth of the amount the writer makes from a page, not taking into account any extra value which a page may have.
indentShould the site bring in a ridiculous amount of money from sponsors at any point, I reserve the right to redirect any percentage I like to charity to prevent myself and other content providers from making an obscene amount of money out of this - the aim is that we should be able to make a sensible amount from it in return for the work we've put in, just as any other writers are paid for their work, but because so many billions are spent on ecucation and this site could lead to astronomical savings, it isn't beyond possibility that it could lead to astronomical income far beyond what is morally appropriate.
indentWriters and translators will be expected to maintain their pages if we get to the stage where money is involved, making corrections and keeping them up to date. If they cannot do this then they may gradually lose some of their points to the other people who step in to take their place. At some stage we may need to introduce a democratic system for determining whose pages are worth exactly how much, but to begin with it will be entirely up to me: I will try to undervalue my own work so that you benefit, and I promise that I will judge your work as fairly as I can. If your work improves or replaces existing pages rather than creating them from scratch, the writer of the original pages will keep the points for their work, even if the new pages are one hundred percent different. You will only earn points for the extra quality you bring with your replacement pages. Where the origin of an ingenius idea can be traced to an individual who is not directly involved in creating content for this site, points may also be awarded to that person in recognition of their unintended contribution. In some cases there will be alternative routes through a subject with different people providing those different routes: this will allow people with different learning styles to choose the route that works best for them (a lot of the stuff about different learning styles is just hype, but there is some truth in it). With languages in particular, there will be different sets of texts designed to appeal to people with different interests, but all going through the same essential vocabulary and phase structures: the success of a set of texts provided by a particular writer will be measured by the number of hits on those pages, and that will have a major role in determining how much income they generate. In such cases, older material which is inferior may fall off the radar and earn no payment, but the writer will always have the option to improve it to try to make it more popular. We will discuss in advance how things will work for the content you want to provide so that it is clear which system applies to it, but my aim is to reward everyone as fairly as possible as I want to attract the best talent out there and I genuinely want that talent to be properly rewarded.

The work that most urgently needs to be done is listed in the to-do list. You would do well to read up on my ideas for each area of the Web site that you might wish to work on.

If you have come up with an exceptionally innovative idea for this Web site and you are worried that I might steal the idea and use it without awarding you any points (I won't, but you don't necessarily know that), you can protect your idea first by finding some way to prove that you had the idea before I agreed to see it: you should not show it to me until I have first made sure that anything I have in the pipeline which might happen to be the same or similar to your idea is also protected such that I can prove I already had it before seeing your idea - I have put a lot of work into a lot of things which are haven't yet been uploaded to the site and I don't want to lose out just because someone comes up with the same idea and states what it is before I do when they've actually done far less work on it than me. You should therefore not make any innovative idea available to me until I have openly asked you to do so right here on this Web page, so you need to start by informing me that you have an idea and give me a reasonable indication of which subject area it relates to (without giving away what your idea is). I will then protect my own ideas in that area by stating what they are before asking to see yours (though I may state them in encrypted form so that I only actually need to reveal what they are if they turn out to be the same as yours - dated content will be included to prove that it wasn't written after the event and encrypted in such a way as to generate an original published random string). Once you have been asked to reveal your idea, you will do so by putting it up on your own Web site), so all you will send to me is the address of that Web site, using as the subject of your e-mail the coding given in my request to see your idea. I will then put the address of your Web site up on this page for two weeks, and anyone who wants to see it will be able to have a look, but you should not actually write the content into your Web site until seven days after I have begun to list its correct address here (because I don't want to be accused of stealing ideas from your real site while displaying the address of some other site here instead). If your idea has no connection with the area you told me it relates to, you will not have a valid claim if it transpires that your idea is the same as one of mine: my request to see it will include all the details you sent to me, so you need to be completely honest about which area it relates to. I have every desire never to steal any idea from anyone because I like to see innovators pick up the rewards for their hard work, and I don't care if their idea is already out there and can't be legally protected from copying: if I can find out whose original idea it was, I will always award them points if it is used here (so long as it is genuinely a innovative idea which would not automatically have been thought up independently with ease by other bright people working in the same field). If your idea does turn out to be the same as mine and you've done as much work as I have on it, I will actually be happy to split the points 50:50 between us even if I had the idea first, though that will probably only apply if my idea wasn't already up on my site at the outset. If you've done half as much work on it, we'll split the points 1:2.

If you want to help add content to this website (or modify or translate existing content), e-mail me (in English if you can) at: ideas at magicschoolbook dot com (this should be your first point of approach whether you have a completely new idea or just want to provide standard teaching in an attractive package to fill a gap on the site). There may be a fault with the e-mail system resulting in some messages falling into a black hole, so if you don't get a reply I've set up an alternative pathway for you which should get round the problem: djvyd at yahoo dot co dot uk - please try it if I haven't replied within a week.

Do not expect a rapid response to your e-mail though: it may be some time before I can afford to get enough people in place to handle what may suddenly become a deluge. It would help if you put as the subject of your e-mail the name of the subject area which you want to work on, because that will help me direct it to the most suitable person to handle it. Your best chance of getting my attention is likely to be to direct me to a Web site showing work you have already done, so just include the word "demo" in the subject of your e-mail and then point me towards the site: that will let me judge your teaching, programming, communication and/or organisation skills far more efficiently than by reading through a dead list of qualifications, and if you're obviously top quality, there's a good chance you'll be in. You will need to show that it really is your work that you're pointing me towards, so make sure you include a note in the top of its source code to prove it, giving the same e-mail address that you use to contact me (you can create one specially for the purpose through a free e-mail service provider if you are worried about your main e-mail address falling into the wrong hands - remember that anyone looking at the source code will be able to see it). I am also open to the idea of uniting Magic Schoolbook with other education sites provided that our aims are compatible (in particular in relation to liberating children) - the aim is to provide the best possible package of education materials for children who want to learn independently, and I also want each part of the package to be the best material in its class so that children never feel the need to hunt anywhere else to find better learning materials: you will need to be prepared to act on new ideas and make sure that you're site always remains cutting edge. For every good education site that there is out there on the Web, there are a thousand bad ones and it's very hard to find the real quality, so if you run a good one, get in touch and let's see if we can link together in some way.



Whenever I ask anyone to show me their innovative idea, I will do so below: they should wait until the address of the Web site at which their idea will be revealed has been up on this page for a full week before they load the details of their idea onto that site. It is possible that if your idea is good but is presented badly that it will be overlooked, so keep it up on your Web site in unaltered form in case the same idea is later accepted from someone else: I will then look at it again, if you complain, and see if you deserve to be awarded any points for it, because the accepted version of the idea might have come from someone who actually got the idea from you. To avoid this happening in the first place, you should try to nail it from the outset by doing a good job and setting it out clearly.

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