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Thursday, January 1, 2015

My New Year's Wish List for Ed Tech

It's been another fast-paced year in educational technology, with nothing more certain than change.
Yet as much as there is innovation and exciting new products and ideas, there is a lot that I keep hoping will change, ideally at a rate faster than the speed of smell. So here is my Ed-Tech New Year wish list in no particular order of urgency:

  • Transparent pricing: We are in education and cost IS important; if we have to use Chinese water torture to get a price for your product or service or to figure some outlandish set of options and upgrades, we may shop somewhere else.
  • Fair contracts: Contracts need to take into account that we get funded by fickle entities. Stop writing auto-renewing contracts with no outs, or worse yet, multi-year auto renewals.
  • Learning content standards: Digital content is exploding everywhere, yet much of it is locked in proprietary content prison cells, inaccessible from our learning management systems. Let's all get behind a common standard, like "Learning Tools Interoperability" or LTI for short.
  • Easy log in: If your company cannot support LTI, at least bless us with some sort of common authentication or single sign-on. We can't bear to have teachers or administrators waste one more second administering accounts or wasting time logging in to a web site.
  • Old web technology: It's far past the time to layout web pages in tables, run Flash animations, and use Java to validate forms. Join this century and leverage HTML 5 and responsive web design, so all of our devices can access your 1999 web site.
  • A common wireless video standard that actually works: Students and teachers all have different devices and all have great things to share with the class, but in most cases, most of their devices cannot share their content to a TV or projector over the same standard. There is money to be made by someone solving this!
Ed Tech - change is for certain