This is a screenshot of the online applications that are being offered to students at University. The old criticism of school’s approach to computing was that it focused on stand-alone office automation (Word and Excel). Now we see a range of applications that to many (including me) are ‘new’. One reason for this has been my own resistance to getting onboard with brandification in schools, and the demise of the open-source ethic long associated with educational technology.
The question of the day is what do we gain or lose by investing time and attention in these applications vs attempting to create workflows with other, perhaps more longstanding applications which emerged from Web2.0. In school, this graphic is a clear symbol of what students are going to need to know about in tertiary education. I suspect the Word essay will remain common in assessment (it’s easier and cheaper to mark) and for the most part, other applications will be work-flow for the more media savvy. So on that basis, this isn’t a ‘panic’ as 90% of these applications are not going to apply to undergraduate life.
However, the image itself is a powerful reminder of ongoing influence brands now have on how what and how people learn – under the illusory notion of that students have a choice. From a student perspective, being able to get all this ‘for free’ is a bonus. For universities, if further extends the notion of the virtual campus, where, like shopping centres, a corporal campus is a place of entertainment and leisure, not retail or learning primarily as a social function of the transmedia experience which is a necessity if students want to attain a degree. I wonder if the debate about the death of lectures should continue … given the clear move to virtualise the campus for learning, and use it as a social-hub with a selection of high-end labs and other spaces which allow production beyond the essay.
So I’m onboard, a new suite of software for my PhD, new email address and 8gig less space on my hard drive. Welcome to 2017 …