How do educators anticipate new tech opportunities? Do educators think ahead, or are they still “innovating” what was new tech quite a while back? Let’s see: At Edgelings today Michael S. Malone gives us peeks at the big, cool offerings from Google and Apple due out soon. They are sketched in the excerpt from Malone quoted below about these two big things coming down the pipe:
1. “‘Webphone’, a device that uses the Internet, a la Skype, as its transmission medium and thus escaping forever the tyranny of the phone companies.” Malone does not think Google will do the Webphone in its new Nexus. If/when it does arrive, he says such a device will “stun the tech world.” When the Webphone does arrive, it will stun the education world by ending establishment control of learning content. A student with a Webphone will have individual, free access to the internet in his or her pocket. Here are some opportunities educators should be preparing for in the coming Webphone era:
- Only open educational resources (OER) will be findable online by Webphones doing searches.
- Because educational resources will move to the cloud, they become globally within reach.
- Connecting to any education resource can only happen via a single url (node) making it necessary to optimize nodes for findability (or, for sure, they will not be found)
- You may think of others . . .
2. Apple’s new “‘category-buster,’ . . . think of an oversized iPod Touch, but no doubt with much of the functionality of a personal computer (not to mention all of those iPhone apps). It will also no doubt, have one or two very cool and unexpected new features . . . .” Of course, the iPod Touch is already a wireless way to access the internet without phone company control. Webphone changes for education again come into play. Other factors educator might anticipate in mulling how to teach toward students interacting with stuff to learn through their Apple tablet that is interfacing the internet:
- Should, and how should, curricula and pedagogy in general intrude into the natural patterning of knowledge subjects in the open internet?
- Can, and should, education standards writers impose grade levels upon learning resources being directly accessed by students? Here, for example, are expertly curated learning resources online; what is education’s remaining role in standardizing them, if any?
- How else should educators anticipate the handschooling era that is fast upon us?
As this image from the Molecule of the Week reminds us, patterns of networking nodes emerge to create much of the real and virtual worlds. Educators need capture this emergent abundance from within OER. To do so education must focus on two kinds of nodes: the ones online that form OER (not the just the bundled pedagogy) and the nodes that each are a student toting 24/7 access to the internet cloud.
NEXUS ONE AND THE TABLET by Michael S. Malone
. . . But if any could stun the phone world it would be Google. It too [like Apple] is full of smart, arrogant people, the company has lots of dough, and because phones are outside its core business it can in theory take a big risk without worrying about legacy issues. For example, as many industry insiders have suggested, Google could stun the tech world – and hit Apple at its weakest point – by coming out with a “Webphone”, a device that uses the Internet, a la Skype, as its transmission medium and thus escaping forever the tyranny of the phone companies. There’s a lot of problems with that strategy, of course, but it would certainly shock the world, and put Apple on the defense.
Unfortunately, the early reports suggest that what Google will introduce next week, the Nexus One, will be a largely conventional smartphone. That’s a pity, because I suspect Google will never get this chance again.
Meanwhile, strong on momentum and flush with cash, Apple isn’t waiting around for the world to catch up with it. Two weeks from now, the company is expected to introduce yet another category-buster: this time it’s rumored to be a tablet device – think of an oversized iPod Touch, but no doubt with much of the functionality of a personal computer (not to mention all of those iPhone apps). It will also no doubt, have one or two very cool and unexpected new features that will make it a gotta-have for Apple fanatics everywhere. Once again, Apple will have a new product that challenges convention, seemingly obsoletes an entire multi-billion dollar industry (in this case, handheld computers) while overwhelming a second, newer industry (netbooks, such as the Kindle) and yet is still stunning to look at.
UPDATE: Coursesmart has a video imagining Apple’s tablet from the viewpoint of textbook publishers.
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