Who are you?
My name is Eric Burnett and I'm entering my 24th year of teaching. First in California and then overseas, I've taught every grade from 3rd to 12th (except for 4th), but have spent my last 4 years at the middle school level, currently teaching an 8th grade course with thematic units that deal with 1) Identity, 2) Discrimination, 3) Ethical Consumerism and 4) Conflicts and Resolutions. I get restless rather easily, so instead of shifting careers, I like to dabble in different subjects. I've been spoiled for course offerings and so far I've taught World History, AP World History, AP US History, US History, American Studies, World Studies, Western Civilization, American Literature, Psychology, Economics, Game Theory, History of War, America in the 1960s and History through Film.
But that doesn't really answer your question of who I am...that just gives me some credibility that I've spent some time in a classroom. Who I am is a father of two (with eldest daughter in college), a husband to a patient wife (who treasures her last name on the front of her classroom door more than even me) and a perennially cynical optimist who loves the time I spend in front of kids, but am oftentimes flabbergasted by the problems we adults manufacture for ourselves.
Why are you doing this?
Fourteen years ago I was charged with teaching a world history class. Problem. I was a history major in college, but my impressive degree at the time never really challenged me to study outside the Western world so I had some huge content gaps. I spent the next year (and the ensuing yearS) picking up every book I could find to fill in the missing pieces. But I found two problems. My memory is horrible and there was no singular book that I could go to for all my prep work, so I found myself returning to my bookshelves time and time again. Not the best usage of prep time. Simultaneously, I found that I was constantly scouring my DVD collection looking for relevant film clips, searching the Internet for contemporary connections to make the history relevant and then updating any PowerPoint presentations to reflect all the new information. Seven years ago I decided enough was enough. I was going to create one social studies vault that would house the dynamism of Web resources, while also writing a book that would both tell how we got to here, but also explore what is the "here" - what our world is like today. And the beast of an idea became Our World's Story.
How is Spinning World History different than Our World's Story?
First, the "Regional Challenges of Today" section is completely updated to better reflect the state of our world and where we need to go from here. Aside from ensuring all supporting evidence (facts, figures, statistics) reflects the reality of 2017, this section also includes new analysis of topics such as Brexit, the Rise of ISIS, claims to the South China Sea, the mounting refugee crisis and the controversial presidency of Donald Trump. Second, the "Tales, Traditions and Turning Points of World History" section has been adjusted to better take into account new findings by historians, while making cultural connections more familiar to the reader. But as you can see, the content still comes back to the same root website.
What if I'm interested in your book for my class, but I just don't have the financial resources?
I found a way for teachers to readily share the book's content with their students by purchasing a Teacher License for all of their classes. For $90 (less than a buck per student for most of us), you can access the gumroad.com link, and you'll immediately have in your possession a copy of the book that you can then share with your students via email or on Blackboard. Each PDF of the book will have an engraved watermark of your name, school's name and your email address (to help dissuade the less scrupulous from sharing the document on the Web). If even the $90 investment is beyond you/your school's means, please contact me directly and we can work out a special arrangement.
Why didn't you include a Works Cited or Bibliography section in your book?
I chose to not include a more formalized bibliography as I truly wanted this book to read as a story. However, the core texts I accessed to verify the history can be found in the attached document.
This company is the most user-friendly service for moving digital media online. It cuts out the middle-man of Paypal and Amazon (keeps costs low), uses the highest level security to protect credit card data and can process orders with the least amount of steps. However, I understand the hesitancy to purchase online using this service, so I encourage you to research the company. Here is a third party article that discuss the company - http://thinktraffic.net/gumroad. Artists like Bon Jovi and Eminem are already using the technology, and I am very confident this is where digital commerce is heading. By mid-September, artist Keith Urban became the #1 artist on the Billboard Charts...thanks in part to sales on Gumroad.
Are you charging for usage of your other content? Videos, PowerPoints and Lesson Plans?
Nope. My students access this content for my current courses and you can too. Enjoy.
How often will you be updating the book?
One of the unique features of the publishing company I chose is that I can make alterations at any point and this new version of the book then becomes the default text for all future purchases. If ever I was to find a content or mechanical error, I would make an alteration immediately. But as for substantive content changes, I plan on writing a new edition every five years. My initial plan to update annually didn't allow me to thoughtfully analyze changing regional and global trends (that, and my kids and wife wanted to see me on the weekends).
How did you get my email address?
Ahh...that was the not-so-fun part of this whole process. I'd like to say you're all on some teacher database that I purchased from some not-so-ethical marketing company, but the truth is, I went to the Wikipedia listing for each state (ie http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_high_schools_in_California), and then just started accessing each school's website. 78,000 email addresses later, I finished. Now, don't worry, I won't be sending your email addresses to any company (I equally treasure unsolicited email messages) and after my next round of introducing the available content, I'll be out of your Inbox until 2022.
When will you be done? Any audio book on the horizon?
Done? Umm...never. I plan on retiring after my 50th year in this gig, and until that day, I'll be adding content resources to my students' lives. I'll continue to add video lessons as my own courses progress and as more content becomes available. I'm also working on creating audios versions of each chapter with corresponding background videos to support the content. This is taking a lot
When's your next book coming out?
After publishing 50 Questions Every Graduate Must Answer in 2014, I've taken a break from writing books people actually want to read and have started writing content only a handful of academics would be interested in perusing. I'm working on my PhD and hope to be done in 2020. After that, I'll probably return back to writing historical fiction children's books, potentially a sequel to Trapped in Tenochtitlan, the story of a sarcastic young chap who enters a portal in his pool and ends up in the Aztec empire (wherever did I get the inspiration for such a lad).
Can we trust you're actually a teacher?
Below are a few commencement speeches I gave once upon a time, with appropriate student props in the background to give the moment an air of authenticity.
How can I reach you if I have further questions/comments?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org