The future started 40 years ago.

pencil0This is an image I drew in a short talk at the University of Canberra this week. I was making an argument that education has focused almost entirely on ‘the Internet’ in regard to technology based learning and ignores (somewhat on purpose) the significance of proprietary media networks such as Xbox Live and other models.

Many teachers are using technologies. They often do this with no empirical evidence at all and use it in ways that are not required in the syllabus at all. At times I listen to people and strongly suspect they are talking about things that they have little or no actual experience outside popular social culture. This is one of the essential problems with attempts to connect popular media to effective media channels for education.

While the Internet has disrupted whom we pay attention to (it’s easier to read a Tweet than a journal article) it is also self-serving. There’s a gap in research and investment towards the idea of developing proprietary media-channels that can be disruptive to the Internet itself. What I’m interested in are media networks which predominantly see the Internet as a transport layer and recognising that of itself, the Internet holds no information. It’s all held in proprietary servers almost exclusively.

My scenario was that where Universities begin to deliver (on demand) courses using Smart Television and Media Networks which perhaps use reputation systems such as XBox’s gamerscore. If you like what happens when you can study in the home – not in the study or bedroom, but in the lounge using human-interface devices (internet of things). It’s not too out-there, Open Edu continues in it’s 40th year of disrupting how, when and where people can study. With the arrival of a new Xbox perhaps (the current one is 10 years old) – these multi-core machines will extend their media-carrying ability. They already have SBS and ABC’s iView on demand.

But let’s not rush in, first we need to know a lot more about social-conceptions of this kind of media network – as clearly Xbox is seen as something set apart from the Internet. Will the drive of consumer culture (where most people spend most time with a few BIG brands such as iTunes, Google and Facebook) be shifted from the computer and tablet to the big-screen.

In short, if you’re thinking about the Internet and websites as being the future of educational technology. I don’t agree. Smart TVs and Games Based Media Networks (GBMN) can achieve a scale that simply won’t be achieved in web-based MOOCS in variations of the LMS.

I could be wrong, carry on.

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2 thoughts on “The future started 40 years ago.

  1. Agree with your sentiments here and I’m wondering if the ecosystems created by game networks and apps are perhaps the first glimmers of this change going mainstream? The past always relied on heavy and expensive investments – but now a raspberry pie or mobile computer around $100 and a pipe via the NBN could be all it takes to create the box that can change the face of education.

  2. What’s the difference between an LMS and Xbox Live? In one you have a group of people paying to be challenged and ranked according to their ability, and … who am I kidding, that’s both of them. The difference is trust, you trust the ability of a faculty member to assess a students ability. You don’t trust the assessment of a game. This is an issue of trust. That doesn’t change rapidly.

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