One of the more exciting memes to come out of last month’s SXSWedu conference is that the next revolution in edtech will not be “top down,” a.k.a. multimillion dollar contracts between mammoth curriculum and testing companies and school district superintendents. Instead, the innovation, and ultimately change, will come from the “bottom up,” a.k.a. actual educators in classrooms and principals’ offices, who identify new techniques and purchase new services ad hoc.
I know we’ve heard this all before, but I’m here to say that this time it’s for real! Contributing writer David Kapuler’s feature, Cloud Collaboration Tools: Now or Later? (p 30) is my latest proof. Thanks to “The Cloud”—what we old-timers from the 1990s used to call “The Information Superhighway” (really, look it up)—it is now easier than ever for students to work with each other, or for faculty to work with students, or both.
What’s even better? They don’t need a three-day workshop, or a corporate seat license approval code, to make it happen. Just download an app or sign up for a trial subscription. Don’t like it? Try another one tomorrow. What’s more, Kapuler has divided the types of ways they can collaborate, either in real time or over time.
The edupreneurs and investors at SXSWedu are banking on the idea that a teacher-driven dynamic will truly spark the adoption of technology in the classroom. I hope they are right. Otherwise, our schools will continue to stagnate with shelfware.
— Kevin Hogan