A recent article in the Sun Sentinel discusses a new interactive teaching technology that is currently being used in Broward county elementary schools in Florida. The technology consists of a touch-screen whiteboard as well as microphones and speakers that capture the conversation between multiple classrooms to provide students with a fun and interactive way to learn with other students in their county and potentially across the world. Additionally, the new learning method gives teachers the opportunity to learn different techniques and teaching styles to incorporate into their own classroom. James Notter, Superintendent of Broward schools explained that the district plans to convert all of the public schools to digital classrooms in three to five years time. He noted, "It's their world, we are absolutely modifying learning to our students' world of today...We're not sitting in rows and columns, handing out a textbook and a workbook."
This example of learning technology re-iterates a common theme in today's successful e-business environment: collaboration and participation are key. The K-12 environment is no different, so why should we expect higher education learning models to be any different? Or, along the same lines, why should we expect course materials not to follow this pattern? Which reminds me, if you have not read the article by John Seeley Brown and Richard Adler from yet -- you should do so. It was the most read article in EDUCAUSE Review last year -- and for good reason. It addresses this idea of education as participation and has implications for the course material market. For stores, one takeaway question should be, "how do we contribute to or provide a collaborative or participatory experience for our student customers when participation is increasingly the norm?" A related book on this topic is Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams. Anthony will be a featured mega-session speaker at CAMEX this year.