Posted by: crudbasher | September 14, 2010

The Ed Tech Journey and a Future Driven by Disruptive Change — Campus Technology

This bring a tear to my eye.  Josh Baron lays out a good case for some of the ways technology can disrupt the traditional higher education business model.  I am not sure the time frame he is thinking of but it’s really a good article.


  • Great article about disruptive change in education!

    tags: education technology disruptive nell

    • What is “disruptive change”?
    • On April 28, 2003, Apple launched the iTunes Music Store, and on April 3, 2008, less than five years later, it became the largest music retailer in the US, with 50 million customers and 4 billion songs sold. Then about two years down the road, this past February, Apple more than doubled that sales figure to 10 billion songs. This is what I consider to be disruptive change.
    • As educators, we must ask: Could there be a parallel in our own industry, or the potential for other disruptive changes ahead? What might higher education look like in a future filled with disruptive change?
    • a quick historical review of the digital revolution shows us: huge increases in data speeds and transfer rates, exponential growth in computer power, massive increase of storage capacity—again, all while the technology is getting cheaper and smaller.
    • In a 1960s lecture hall you might typically find TV monitors
    • Then if you jump 30 years into the future, to the 1990s, you find that analog technology was replaced by digital technology: projection systems that were considered very, very sophisticated at that time.
    • ask yourself: What did not change? The instructors still lectured, delivering in a broadcast/absorb model the very same way they did in the 1960s. In terms of learning, this was just a little bit of a shift. While the digital revolution disrupted so much of our society and our lives, it impacted education only in small, incremental ways. And generally, that is still true today in 2010.
    • I often make the argument that over the past 50 years, we’ve been primarily focused on automating education
    • but we haven’t really geared up to change or transform the basic way we’re teaching
    • Open Education Trends
    • At the core of the open content movement in higher education are illustrious efforts that have been going on now for almost a decade, to make high-quality university-level course materials free and openly available to the world, via the web.
    • Connexions has focused on building an environment that allows experts to collaborate on developing textbook content.
    • People have raised questions about the sustainability of open content models.
    • But what we’re starting to see now—and it is still relatively early in the unfolding story of open content—is a commercial ecosystem beginning to grow up around existing open content.
    • Impact of Open Content
    • We’re on the verge of seeing the cost of education content fall dramatically. The $150, $200 textbook model, I believe, is simply unsustainable, and we are going to see that model fall apart in the not-too-distant future.
    • I also think we may see an important movement toward best-of-breed content.
    • For example, I might put out a particular piece of educational material. Someone may take that material, modify or tweak it, and bring his own innovation to it. Over a relatively short period of time, we end up with high-quality, innovative, best-of-breed materials.
    • We’re entering an age when it’s becoming more and more ridiculous that our faculty are, every year, re-creating Econ 101 over and over again at our institutions.
    • largest population of users of MIT/OCW materials are not educators, and they’re not students. They are self-directed learners. They’re people who are coming to MIT because they have a passion to learn something.
    • Personal and Open Learning
    • Let’s move on and look at learning technology trends, especially the emergence of the personal learning environment [PLE] and the open learning network [OLN], e-portfolios, and the semantic web.
    • you’re probably aware of the “post-LMS era” that people feel we’re entering.
    • I have yet to find a standard definition of the PLE, but some of its characteristics include that it tends to be a highly customized environment, built by the learner himself.
    • Learners use web 2.0 tools to aggregate content and connections—so you can gather information from many sources, while at the same time making connections with other people around that content.
    • we see that while the LMS has been out there and in development for 10-20 years or so, it has really been built just to support status quo teaching—lecturing and very traditional forms of education—while personal learning environments like mine tend to be much more open and participatory, as well as learner-centric.
    • The question becomes: Will the LMS and the PLE diverge?
    • The idea here is to leverage some of the open standards that are emerging—the IMS Common Cartridge and Learning Tools Interoperability standards, plus standards outside of education like the open social API standards from Google—and to use these standards to allow us to mash up the LMS and personal learning environment.
    • Next, electronic portfolios: Since 2003, the use of e-portfolios on our campuses has tripled.
    • Reflection is a critical component of any really good e-portfolio implementation; it’s a great way for students to engage in learning.
    • A missing piece, I would argue, especially on the reflective side of e-porfolios, is a credentialing model. A new credentialing model will open the doors for better uses of e-portfolios, and possibly unlock the floodgates of disruption in fundamental education practices.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.



  1. We have to stop thinking in terms of status quo. That is what got us where we are now. We have to start thinking in new ways, I like the direction this article takes but I wonder if it is still thinking of education too traditionally. I’m not sure what I am expecting but I’m almost not sure if what education should be would be recognized today as education at all.

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