From the January/February 2013 issue of The American Interest:

 

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Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

The most important part of the college bubble story—the one we will soon be hearing much more about—concerns the impending financial collapse of numerous private colleges and universities and the likely shrinkage of many public ones. And when that bubble bursts, it will end a system of higher education that, for all of its history, has been steeped in a culture of exclusivity*. Then we’ll see the birth of something entirely new as we accept one central and unavoidable fact: The college classroom is about to go virtual.

Because recent history shows us that the internet is a great destroyer of any traditional business that relies on the sale of information. The internet destroyed the livelihoods of traditional stock brokers and bonds salesmen by throwing open to everyone access to the proprietary information they used to sell. The same technology enabled bankers and financiers to develop new products and methods, but, as it turned out, the experience necessary to manage it all did not keep up. Prior to the Wall Street meltdown, it seemed absurd to think that storied financial institutions like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers could disappear seemingly overnight. Until it happened, almost no one believed such a thing was possible. Well, get ready to see the same thing happen to a university near you, and not for entirely dissimilar reasons.

The higher-ed business is in for a lot of pain as a new era of creative destruction produces a merciless shakeout of those institutions that adapt and prosper from those that stall and die.

But what happens when a limited supply of a sought-after commodity suddenly becomes unlimited? Prices fall. Yet here, on the cusp of a new era of online education, that is a financial reality that few American universities are prepared to face.

Anyone who can access the internet—at a public library, for instance—no matter how poor or disadvantaged or isolated or uneducated he or she may be, can access the teachings of some of the greatest scholars of our time through open course portals. Technology is a great equalizer.

Big changes are coming, and old attitudes and business models are set to collapse as new ones rise. Few who will be affected by the changes ahead are aware of what’s coming. Severe financial contraction in the higher-ed industry is on the way, and for many this will spell hard times both financially and personally. But if our goal is educating as many students as possible, as well as possible, as affordably as possible, then the end of the university as we know it is nothing to fear. Indeed, it’s something to celebrate.

 

 


* The old way:

Colleges rise as they reject — from online.wsj.com
Schools invite more applications, then use denials to boost coveted rankings


 

 

Daniel S. Christian - Think Virtual -- April 2012

 

Also relevant/see:

Apple TV and the transformation of web apps into tablet and TV dual screen apps — from brightcove.com by Jeremy Allaire

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Excerpts:

Importantly, designers and developers need to shed the concept that “TVs” are for rendering video, and instead think about “TVs” as large monitors on which they can render applications, content and interactivity that is supported by a touch-based tablet application.

The key concept here is that this pervasive adoption of TV monitors is the tip of the spear in creating a social computing surface in the real world.

Specifically, Apple has provided the backbone for dual screen apps, enabling:

  • Any iOS device (and OSX Mountain Lion-enabled PCs) to broadcast its screen onto a TV. Think of this as essentially a wireless HDMI output to a TV. If you haven’t played with AirPlay mirroring features in iOS and Apple TV, give it a spin, it’s a really exciting development.
  • A set of APIs and an event model for enabling applications to become “dual screen aware” (e.g. to know when a device has a TV screen it can connect to, and to handle rendering information, data and content onto both the touch screen and the TV screen).


[Jeremy listed several applications for these concepts:  Buying a house, buying a car, doctor’s office, kids edutainment, the classroom, retail electronics store, consuming news, consuming video, sales reporting, board games.]

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Also see:

 
From DSC:
Graphically speaking — and approaching this from an educational/learning ecosystems standpoint — I call this, “Learning from the Living [Class] Room.

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The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 

 

Learning from the living room -- a component of our future learning ecosystems -- by Daniel S. Christian, June 2012

 

 

Related item:

Beyond Siri - A report regarding the future of Virtual Assistants -- from VisionMobile -- June 2012

 

Contents

  • Virtual assistants: four generations in 20 years
  • The evolving VA technology landscape
  • The VA Competitive landscape
  • VA business models: Revenue share rather than paid app downloads
  • Leaders and challengers in the VA value chain
  • Beyond Siri: What’s in store in the VA market

Behind this report

  • Lead researcher: Marlène Sellebråten
  • Project lead: Michael Vakulenko
  • Marketing lead: Matos Kapetanakis
  • Editorial: Andreas Constantinou

 

The 10 most impressive virtual high schools in the U.S. — from bestcollegesonline.com

Excerpt:

To us, virtual high schools sound like something from The Jetsons, but instead of existing in a world with robot maids and flying cars, they’re here today, and they are really cool. These online schools offer incredible opportunities to homeschoolers, dropouts returning to high school, students with busy schedules, and others who just enjoy the freedom, flexibility, and opportunity provided by virtual learning. We’ve discovered 10 really impressive virtual high schools, including tuition-free and even 3D virtual world schools, that we hope you’ll check out.

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Daniel S. Christian - Think Virtual -- April 2012

 

From DSC:

  • We not only need to think about things that are physical — new buildings, classroom renovations, learning spaces, books, etc. — but we also need to think in terms of the virtual — creation of high-end, interactive, multimedia-based content; electronic communications; web-based collaboration; cloud-based storage/content systems, etc.
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  • Towards that end, I’d like to recommend the above graphic to the development offices at each university and college out there.

Geo Sim Philly -- where the virtual meets the real
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My thanks to Mr. Steven Chevalia for this resource

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Pearson acquires Connections Education
Gains leading position in fast-growing market for virtual schools

Excerpt:

(PRWEB) September 15, 2011
Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, [announced on 9/15/11] the acquisition of Connections Education from an investor group led by Apollo Management, L.P.

Through its Connections Academy business, the company operates online or ‘virtual’ public schools in 21 states in the US—serving more than 40,000 students in the current school year. These virtual charter schools are accredited and funded by the relevant state and are free to parents and students who choose a virtual school in place of a traditional public institution or other schooling options.

Virtual schools serve a diverse population of students including those who may be gifted, struggling, pursuing careers in sports or the arts, in need of scheduling flexibility, or who have chosen home schooling. It is a large and rapidly-growing segment in US K-12 education: in 2010, 48 states and Washington, D.C. had virtual school programs and 27 states allowed virtual charter schools. Approximately 200,000 students attended full-time online courses and an estimated 1.5 million students took one or more courses online. (Source: Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning, 2010, Evergreen Education Group).

Intel predicts Smart TV is the device of the future — from nyxiotechnologies.com’s blog
Chipmaker Intel believes that the Smart TV is the electronic device of the future, in the living room anyway.

Excerpt:

The Smart TV is already upon us, in its various forms from various manufacturers. It has arrived with 3D capabilities, web browsing and social networking and applications. Currently Samsung and LG seem to be two of the big players pushing the Smart TV to consumers.

Also see:

 

From DSC: It would be sharp (and somewhat James Bond-ish) if you could take the concepts within the iTable from Kyle Buckner Designs.com(esp. motorized parts and a customizable design)

 

Kyle Buckner Designs -- i table

 

…and combine those concepts with concepts found within a Microsoft Surface type of table: (esp. multi-touch capabilities for a group of people to work collaboratively on)

 

Microsoft Surface

 

…and combine those concepts with concepts found within Steelcase’s Media:Scape product (esp. the ability to bring your own device and instantly “connect” it and press a puck-like device to begin displaying it on the screen/table)

 

Steelcase's MediaScape

media:scape illustration

 

…kinda gives us a flavor for what may very well be part of the integration and continued convergence of devices…and it may be a device in your living room or study.

K12Online and South Carolina Virtual Charter School leave children with special needs behind — by Gretchen Herrera, parent of a child being left behind

…as accessed via The Innovative Educator blog

Excerpt:

I have been working for years to advocate for the needs of my son. Recently when I requested to opt-out of our state’s standardized test, I was met with not only resistance, but threats. Threats that my son would be removed from South Carolina Virtual Charter school powered by K12 Online and returned to the hostile environment he escaped from should we not comply.

Deeply concerned about my son’s well-being, I reached out in writing twice to the director of South Carolina Virtual Charter school who ignored my outreach.  I also called and spoke with  the counsel for the South Carolina Department of Education and was told, begrudgingly, there isn’t a state law that says my son has to test. However, I received threats from the Department.  She said if I didn’t produce my son on the day of testing and he didn’t participate, he would suffer consequences. His absences could trigger truancy through my “unlawful actions”…even though there was no law against me following his doctors orders and my instinct about what was best for my child. She explained I could NOT “opt-out” for pieces of a child’s education and how every district can instill their own penalties. Of course, I was not opting out of the education.  I was opting out of the assessments which my son, my doctors, and my instincts tell me are wrong for my child.  I was told the penalty for my doing what was best for my child was that I would no longer be allowed to have my child attend the only school he was ever safe in. She also informed me that if I didn’t make my child available for their testing, there would be a compulsory attendance issue and that I could then be held liable and may face charges…even though I assured them he would be engaging in real learning activities in alignment with his passions, talents, and interests.

Why must I be forced to do what my doctors, my son, and I know will harm him? I want my son to have access to the joyful, useful, relevant, real, and interesting learning experience that our tax dollars pay for?  I’d happily take my tax dollars elsewhere, but unfortunately, our compulsory system of compliance doesn’t afford parents such options. I am forced to subject my son to that which will make him physically and emotionally ill if he is to get the education he he deserves. The system has failed and my child is being left behind.

 

From DSC:
In hopes of building pressure for change here — I re-post this here at the Learning Ecosystems blog; sounds like the system needs additional methods of assessment.

 

 

From DSC:
I realize that many in education don’t view Bill and Melinda Gates with a great deal of admiration or respect. However, they and their foundation are about to make a hugely positive difference in — and contribution to — education. I’m sure that these grants will help create solutions that will feature professionally-done, highly-engaging, interactive, multimedia-based, team-created educational content. I hope that many of the solutions will feature sophisticated back-end engines that will allow for highly personalized/customized learning.

This is huge because such solutions are highly scalable. Plus look at who is involved at this point:

  • Pearson
  • Educurious Partners
  • Florida Virtual School
  • Institute of Play
  • Reasoning Mind
  • Quest Atlantis
  • Digital Youth Network
  • EDUCAUSE

Also see:

Also see:

 

 

Intro to teaching online -- 7 week series from SimpleK12 and Florida Virtual School - begins May 2011

 

 

Not sure if there is a more recent edition here…but also see:

 

A hugely powerful vision: A potent addition to our learning ecosystems of the future

 

Daniel Christian:
A Vision of Our Future Learning Ecosystems


In the near future, as the computer, the television, the telephone (and more) continues to converge, we will most likely enjoy even more powerful capabilities to conveniently create and share our content as well as participate in a global learning ecosystem — whether that be from within our homes and/or from within our schools, colleges, universities and businesses throughout the world.

We will be teachers and students at the same time — even within the same hour — with online-based learning exchanges taking place all over the virtual and physical world.  Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) — in the form of online-based tutors, instructors, teachers, and professors — will be available on demand. Even more powerful/accurate/helpful learning engines will be involved behind the scenes in delivering up personalized, customized learning — available 24x7x365.  Cloud-based learner profiles may enter the equation as well.

The chances for creativity,  innovation, and entrepreneurship that are coming will be mind-blowing! What employers will be looking for — and where they can look for it — may change as well.

What we know today as the “television” will most likely play a significant role in this learning ecosystem of the future. But it won’t be like the TV we’ve come to know. It will be much more interactive and will be aware of who is using it — and what that person is interested in learning about. Technologies/applications like Apple’s AirPlay will become more standard, allowing a person to move from device to device without missing a  beat. Transmedia storytellers will thrive in this environment!

Much of the professionally done content will be created by teams of specialists, including the publishers of educational content, and the in-house teams of specialists within colleges, universities, and corporations around the globe. Perhaps consortiums of colleges/universities will each contribute some of the content — more readily accepting previous coursework that was delivered via their consortium’s membership.

An additional thought regarding higher education and K-12 and their Smart Classrooms/Spaces:
For input devices…
The “chalkboards” of the future may be transparent, or they may be on top of a drawing board-sized table or they may be tablet-based. But whatever form they take and whatever is displayed upon them, the ability to annotate will be there; with the resulting graphics saved and instantly distributed. (Eventually, we may get to voice-controlled Smart Classrooms, but we have a ways to go in that area…)

Below are some of the graphics that capture a bit of what I’m seeing in my mind…and in our futures.

Alternatively available as a PowerPoint Presentation (audio forthcoming in a future version)

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

— from Daniel S. Christian | April 2011

See also:

Addendum on 4-14-11:

 

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