Paying for Performance — from by Steve Kolowich


Now one university is working with a major educational content company to shift some of that accountability from the institutions that enroll students in courses to the companies that supply them with educational texts and tutoring software.

From DSC:
Not that this is anything new…but the business model/strategy that FiftyThree, Inc. is following with their Paper app is very intriguing to me (and caused me to reflect, again, on the changing business models within higher ed)

  1. People can obtain the basic app for free
    To get an idea of the basic interface & functionality.
  2. Additional functionality costs $
    People can purchase additional tools from the in-app store: such as Sketch, Write, Outline, and Color.

As I was reflecting on this business model, I wondered…will this be a part of our future educational marketplaces/exchanges? (and many others as well I suppose) already does something similar to this by providing prospective students with a few modules — for free — but then requires a subscription for accessing the rest of the content/modules.

So…what if a student could bop into a “class” to get a feel for what the content was like — and perhaps the instructor/professor as well — before they ante up for additional information/learning opportunities/content?


Education 2.0 isn’t coming. It’s here. And the way you’re educated will be changed forever. — from by Dave Balter

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Sometime in late 2010, I sat down with angel investor Josh Abramowitz in NYC.  I asked him to invest in Smarterer, a business whose purpose was to validate people’s digital, social and technical skills.  What I encountered for the next hour wasn’t someone merely evaluating my specific business concept – it was an attack on the entire higher education system.

Josh argued that our higher education system was on the verge of crumbling.  Not because there weren’t marvelous educators or exceptional institutions, but because colleges and universities were charging exorbitant sums that weren’t equal to the return.  Our educators were burying our students with tremendous debt. But increasingly sophisticated learning and credentialing opportunities were emerging online, and they were free or nearly free.  And this disparity would lead to a full-fledged education revolution, he predicted.

What the Universities need to know is that what’s coming for education is something like the shift the music industry failed to see until it was too late.  Things will never be the same again.  Instead of griping about how hard it will be to tap their endowments to pay for education, they should be thinking about how to take advantage of the changes.

To save their universities, here’s the three-pronged ecosystem that every University Leader should start thinking about…

Also see: -- show what you know


How iBooks Author Stacks Up to the Competition [CHART] — from by Chelsea Stark

Author, Author! Apple, Apple! — from The Journal by Therese Mageau
Apple’s new interactive textbook authoring system might just revolutionize the way districts develop their own curriculum. 

iTunes U vs. Blackboard – A Look at Apple’s New Online System — from

Thanks to iPads and Kindles, E-Book Lending at Libraries Explodes — from by John Paul Titlow

Why textbooks of the future are not books — from by Erica Ogg

Apple Jumps Into Textbooks — from the WSJ
With More iPads in Classrooms, Education Push Would Help Fend Off Android-Device Competition

Apple’s iTunes U Morphs Into a Tool for Full Online Classes — from by Sarah Kessler

Reinventing Textbooks: A Hard Course — from the New York Times by David Streitfeld


Also see:


Donald Chan/Reuters
People flooded Foxconn Technology with résumés at a 2010 job fair in Henan Province, China.

Apple to announce tools, platform to “digitally destroy” textbook publishing– by Chris Foresman


GarageBand for e-books

At the same time, however, authoring standards-compliant e-books (despite some promises to the contrary) is not as simple as running a Word document of a manuscript through a filter. The current state of software tools continues to frustrate authors and publishers alike, with several authors telling Ars that they wish Apple or some other vendor would make a simple app that makes the process as easy as creating a song in GarageBand.

Our sources say Apple will announce such a tool on Thursday.


Some thoughts/reflections from DSC:

  • If the educational publishing industry doesn’t want to help students out by greatly lowering their prices…
    (But don’t relax people in higher ed…most likely, we are next.)
  • Another example of “the dangers of the status quo.
  • We constantly need to be actively reinventing ourselves and our businesses so that we are staying relevant.
    (And at prices running up to and over $200,000 for 4 years of college — as of January 2012 —  the assertion that higher ed is not a business just doesn’t hold any water for me anymore.)


Addendum later on 1/17/12:




The Evolving Digital Ecosystem - from Moxie's Trends for 2012

  • The Always On Web
  • Web of Things
  • Big Data
  • Next Gen Search
  • Mobile Sharing
  • Mobile Social Activism
  • Impulse Commerce
  • Brands As Partners
  • The New Living Room  <– From DSC: This is one of those key areas that I’m trying to keep a pulse check on for re: our learning ecosystems of the future 
  • Personal Data Security


Also see:


Marc Andreessen: Predictions for 2012 (and beyond)  — from by Paul Sloan


Software has chewed up music and publishing. It’s eaten away at Madison Avenue. It’s swallowed up retail outlets like Tower Records. The list goes on.

No area is safe–and that’s why Andreessen sees so much opportunity.

Fueling his optimism: ubiquitous broadband, cloud computing, and, above all, the smartphone revolution. In the 1990s, the Internet led to crazy predictions that simply weren’t yet possible. Now they are.

Blowing out the digital book as we know it– from MindShift by Tina Barseghian

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Inkling also produced the epic The Professional Chef by the Culinary Institute of America. The book in its entirety costs $50, but you can also purchase individual chapters for $3 a piece. The new model makes book buying much like buying music — choose only the pieces you like best.  MacInnis fluidly demonstrates how to float from one chapter to the next, launch videos, close in on images, tap on sidebars and recipe instructions. It’s like watching a magician performing sleight-of-hand tricks.

From DSC:
Books — and textbooks — will continue to be more cloud-based, interactive, multimedia-based, and will be able to be completely up-to-date as they move more towards becoming like apps (vs. hard copy books/textbooks). I see more experimentation in terms of the implementation of social media tools as well as in trying out different business models.  However, when all’s said and done (at least for this next phase), I hope that we can get to the iTunes-like purchasing model mentioned above. I think students, faculty, and staff at educational institutions would benefit greatly from this. 

From Daniel Christian -- November 2011 -- An important note to publishers of academic/educational materials!


From DSC:
We really need a much more granular approach — like an iTunes for academic content.


IBM sends Watson supercomputer to business school – from by Eric Smalley


IBM's Watson takes on Harvard and MIT students.


There have been four waves of technological innovation that disrupted the labor market over the last two and a half centuries starting with the Industrial Revolution, and we’re beginning the fifth, said IBM Chief Economist Martin Fleming. “We’re now beginning to enter into, in my view, a period where the economy is beginning to open up opportunities for the deployment of very significant innovation … We’re going to see many new industries get created, radical new technologies being deployed, but being deployed in the context of new business models,” he said.

“This will have significant implications from an income and income distribution point of view.”

The MIT economists generally agree that we’re at the beginning of a technology-driven shift in the economy and ultimately the labor market will adjust. But no one had any good news for workers in the middle of economy during the transition. “The future is already here in many ways, in terms of what technology can do,” Brynjolfsson said. “But right now the benefits are not very evenly distributed.”

The second economy — from McKinsey Quarterly by W. Brian Arthur
Digitization is creating a second economy that’s vast, automatic, and invisible—thereby bringing the biggest change since the Industrial Revolution.


We could look for one in the genetic technologies, or in nanotech, but their time hasn’t fully come. But I want to argue that something deep is going on with information technology, something that goes well beyond the use of computers, social media, and commerce on the Internet. Business processes that once took place among human beings are now being executed electronically. They are taking place in an unseen domain that is strictly digital. On the surface, this shift doesn’t seem particularly consequential—it’s almost something we take for granted. But I believe it is causing a revolution no less important and dramatic than that of the railroads. It is quietly creating a second economy, a digital one.

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