Education is going through a transition these days. There are two broad themes to this technology driven transition.
One is MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses. You know it’s arrived when Time magazine starts writing about it. Based on the principal that education for those that want it should be accessible and cost-effective, they are growing their user base and their courses. There are free online courses for colleges (coursera, udacity, edx) or for school kids (khan academy). Teachers, often, are against them. For a few teachers, MOOCs are a way to expand and grow. But, for many teachers, they are a threat. Will more and more students take online courses. Will open win? I don’t know. But, it has already provided teachers a way to compare and better ourselves. We know we have to be more engaging than the online course to stay relevant. And, we can learn from the methods the MOOCs use to engage their students. By making education better for everyone, Open is already winning.
The second is touch devices – iPads (closed) or Android (open). So far, iPads are the most used in education. Developers, reviewers and teachers mostly seem to be interested in iPads. I am one of the few who is more interested in Android. Sure, Google is not doing much to highlight or support the education market. But, Amazon is. They are building some awesome parental control and mass deployment features. Isn’t that the power of open? I don’t have to depend on one, when I can depend on many. Android is the biggest check on the cost of iPads. If it wasn’t for kindle and android, there wouldn’t even be the rumor of a budget iPad mini. By making touch devices more affordable for everyone, Open is winning.
We all win when Open wins. Open always wins.