As many of you know, I have been trying to come up with something new. I’m not even sure what it is supposed to be. I just know I haven’t seen “it” yet. I see parts of “it” here and there, but I still just don’t know what “it” is I am looking for.
But the LMS-based mentality of online learning has got to go. Even the newest version of Blackboard still makes me feel like I am in AOL circa 1995.
I’m not necessarily talking about course design or structure. There are some great ideas out there, everything from MOOCs to information foraging are popping up all the time. The biggest hurdle for all of these great open / social / connectivistic / whatever you want to call it designs is that technology is just not there yet to make them work perfectly. You can do a lot of great things with the whole DIY mentality… but often I get the feeling there could be so much more if we could just stumble on the right technology.
I read today about Google possibly starting another “structured web programming” language called Dart. Some are thinking that it will be just a language that solves “Googlecentric” problems. In some ways, maybe this something that education needs – education-centric technology to solve educational problems.
I have previously discussed how Rockmelt made me wonder if we could make a similar browser for education… basically, make the LMS become a browser instead of a web silo. That could be interesting, but kind of leaves mobile learning a bit out of the picture in some cases.
Does the technology behind EdTech need to go the app route? Does the LMS need to leave the confines of “website” and evolve into a new form of technology? I’m not sure yet. But whatever happens, we need this new idea to meet several criteria:
- Integrated. It needs to integrate into our everyday web activities. When we have those a-ha moments on Facebook, or find a great article that would be useful for our group project, or whatever the case make be… sharing it with our class needs to be just few clicks or swipes away while we stay on the object. Not a few clicks, surf to a different site, log in, copy-and-paste, click, click, click, submit, log-out, surf back to reality.
- Open. Education is going the open route. You can’t share what is closed, and surprise… people like to share!
- Flexible. Every feature that you use on a desktop would also be available in a tablet, a smart phone, or whatever comes along next.
- Search-able and Easy To Organize. I know some would say that we could just use Facebook or Google+ for all of this. The problem with those approaches are that it is really hard to find anything older than, say, 2 hours there. With learning, you need to go back and examine what you have shared and tagged. you need to dig into it and see what else you can find. There are a hundred reasons why… but you need to be able to go back and find everything. That is tedious at best on social networking sites.
There are some interesting projects out there that I think are doing great work in many of these areas, but no one has a product (or even a DIY solution) that meets all of these criteria.