Top 10 Edtech stories of 2009

10 – YAWN
Our “haven’t you heard abouts” got rusty this year. We woke up with a cat stretch after new years hangovers, looking forward to the next great thing that would force us to remember just one new password. Just one more “is this the new twitter”? And what did we get? Nothing. No super tool shared. No chance to smile knowingly over other people who found out about it 2 weeks later. It seems we are expected to be able to do something useful with our technology now… no sir. I don’t like it.

And please… don’t give me the ‘what about googlewave. It has teh awesome.’ It doesn’t qualify for this list because it doesn’t do anything. “it’s the new email” “people just don’t understand how cool it is yet”. It’s a platform… I get it. There’s one thing it can’t do for me… and that’s make my day any longer. It can’t carve out an extra hour to live collaborate on the next great american novel with fifty of my bestest chums and 20 people who walked in barely invited. Do that for me. Then i’ll be impressed.

Google hates your job. If it’s not near perfect translations, it’s automatic captioning, and I’ve heard rumour that ‘they’ the actual ‘omnipotent they’ have just stopped hosting their own email and have said that “google docs is just a nice bonus”. If you are in the business of doing anything, ever, forget it. Google is just about to do it better. Barak Obama, they say, is already switching over his blog to googlesites… the UN can’t be far behind.

It wouldn’t be a top ten list if i didn’t make some reference to the OLPC project. Here is the tablet of the future… 2012. It’s only going to cost $100 and will save the world… oh wait, sorry. Flashback. All this year, we’ve been droided, and iphoned and i can’t stop saying it itableted to death. The future of learning is MOBILE… or so I’m told. Um… my brain is mobile. I’ve been moving around with it for years. Someday, someday we’re going to get post-digital and stop thinking about the technology as the locus for learning. Just not today. I’m the future!

The internet is growing up, it helped win an election… and reality is seeping in. This year we started to notice that things like people dying is going to create a few issues for our favourite social networking sites. If the population of facebook is 8 cagillion, and the fastest growing segment is middle aged… well… what are we going to do about people’s identity when they aren’t able to sustain it themselves? One more thing to worry about. Come on google… solve our problem.

Don’t leave enough comments on my blog? Don’t RT me enough? Don’t return my tweets? No more friend for you. The venerated oxford university press has chosen ‘unfriend’ as it’s word of the year. It’s hard to imagine a more depressing commentary on our times. Maybe we’re just looking at this wrong… maybe we should be seeing unfriend like unconference. Kind of a post-friendship worldview. Yeah… that’s it.

“There are really just too many live events.” This is my favourite complaint of 2009. The poor educationalist forced to not be able to claim to have shown up to every single presentation. But but what if i missed the CDAFGDSAG conference? Or the social media in learning in future in what about the children seminar. Oh the huge manatee.
Imagine, the pain of too much choice.

3 – OK. MAYBE ONE NEW TOOL Here’s my shot in the dark for this year. A an open source webconferencing system… 15 min install. Asterix. Red5. Flex/flash. I’ve been hoping for it for years, and these dudes might just have the moxie to do it. I really, really, like the look of this project. They claim they are working on recording… which is kinda necessary, and are looking for feedback. Follow along, get involved. Open source matters.

Alan Levine, who both killed and unkilled blogs last year, curmudgeon of awards , requester of snark, barker, and storyteller extraordinaire gives us a reason to believe in the ‘open’. And, as a result, wins the award. One biscuit to you. “What do you mean by open?” has become the theme of the open movement, sign of maturity or impending senility. Or, as my son would say, maybe both. Cast all thoughts of definition from your mind, openness is a state of mind… a state of YOUR mind. Be open. ’nuff said.

Harbinger of the end of civilization or righteous crowd demanding its due from someone who should know better… interpretations on this one span the gamut from moral to epistemic. A web 2.0 speaker trashed on a live twitter stream during her presentation. Should she? should they? Nevermind. In it is distilled the most important conversation of this year and probably the next five. What rights does the entertainer have before the crowd? Do we want to restrict knowledge in a presentation to that that can be ‘shared’ by a presenter (or teacher)? Should presenters (or teachers) be accorded any more respect than a comedian (who would have gotten the same treatment or worse in the same spot?) What are our classrooms going to look like with live twitter streams flipping through them? My friends, we have the tower of babel a million times over… We have 20 students in a classroom, 200 in a conference or 20,000 in a field all building their tower of knowledge… growing, maybe, passed the teacher, the presenter or the expert. Will you knock the tower down? The people are going to be heard… speakers corner has come to the back of the room… are we ready? I doubt it.

Author: dave

I run this site... among other things.

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