Posted by: crudbasher | August 12, 2011

The (Education) Revolution Will Not Be Televised

There have been several innovations that have been promised to us during my life time. I always loved the idea of flying cars. This video is classic:

Another one is the video phone.

Video Phone Idea Circa 1910

The idea for a video phone has been around since the phone was invented I imagine. The technology for it has been around since the 1970s so why hasn’t some company sold one? Well they have tried but they never really took off. Or did they?

Turns out millions of people have video phones right now. It’s called Skype or Facetime. Of course the iPhone wasn’t invented to be a video phone. It just sort of happened as a side effect. It was the Internet that really made it practical to do it. It wasn’t the phone company at all.

This sort of innovation just kind of creeps up on you when you aren’t looking for it. It can come from unlikely places and many times is just a byproduct of trying to do something else. Coca Cola and Pepsi were originally sold as medicines. Plastic was invented by spilling a chemical. (see 17 products that were invented by accident)

So when we look at how Education will look like in 10 years time it’s impossible to look at one product or innovation and say “that’s the one”. True disruptive innovation will probably start quietly. It will be people using certain tools in certain ways and then spreading the word.

For example. Google+ has been out for about 2 months. I just read about a person using it to teach people how to cook. No school sponsored that. It just happened.

This is massively disruptive to the education system because it can’t be planned for. You can’t control it. Most technologies that have been accepted into schools , such as Interactive White Boards, don’t disrupt the basic model. Once your students start showing up with their own devices though, it changes things.

To learn you just need two things: A learner and information. In many cases (but not all) it also can be of great help to have a teacher to answer questions. You don’t need a bookstore, a classroom, a lectern, a powerpoint presentation, a textbook, an administrator, a dean, a dorm, a football team, a campus, etc…

Connecting the learner with information and a teacher is what the Internet does best. You can even use a video phone. 🙂



  1. […] looking for something else (I can’t remember what now), I happened upon Andrew Barras’s blog post about the same idea. I really love what he has to say here: “when we look at how Education […]

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