Why we just can’t beat business

If you haven’t noticed it in my posts, more and more I’ve been lead away from the path of education and into the dark woods of business. I’m rather unapologetic for this and I’ll even go one step further to say that the business sector is doing eLearning better than the education sector. It is not that we don’t know what we are doing, but rather that they have more money. And when you are in a culture of change, it is much easier to change when you have money to throw at the problem. The sole implication in this statement is that we (the education sector) should not be doing development: any and all money we spend to induce change should be spent on developing technologies that are already established in the business sector (or military sector) to our own needs (assuming there is an Open Source solution available for adaption). Of course the latter is said to encourage people to post, but I’m actually half serious:

  • Why would we develop a video repository, uTube is better than anything we could create
  • Why are we building new image repositories, we should be negotiating deals with Flickr
  • Why have our own VoIP service or even asynchronous video casting software: skype is already being built upon by other applications we could never attract to our sector.
  • Why have email systems, gmail comes with word processing, spreadsheets and a dozen other tools our students are already using.
  • Why have an ePortfolio system when WordPress already works so well.
  • Why have a VLE when students would rather have their course syllabus and discussion boards on Facebook?

Ok so I’m not suggesting that all educational technologies are bad, and I’m only half-heartedly suggesting we replace Blackboard with Facebook (though Facebook’s APIs are more advanced). We still have communities built around these technologies and that is what really matters: to use technologies that are going to have the largest uptake by our students and teachers.

In conclusion, the truth of the matter is that most of the technologies we get are hand-me-downs. And instead of being the younger child who gets in a strop because they are not new technologies, we need to wear them with our own flair and creativity.

Thoughts, comments and suggestion much appreciated.


~ by dfflanders on June 22, 2007.

2 Responses to “Why we just can’t beat business”

  1. I agree with you allot. Many other sectors have embraced things like Facebook and Youtube and others. The biggest movement I have seen recently on this side of the pond is politics. Facebook even has their own application for this. You can show who you support and discuss ways to help with their campaign. Fred Thompson, John Edwards, and Barack Obama are all on Twitter as well.
    I think it would be great for education to focus its research on ways to adapt these already built technologies to their use, instead of just building their own version of the same thing.
    But what do I know, I am just a college student.

  2. If only Universities would actually listen to their students and want they want (after all you are the person paying for your education, you are the client!). I think you need to run for your student government and get the administrators at your university to listen to what you want!

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