The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Predictions from the higher ed CIO

Inside Higher Education had a good article by Lev Gonick last week on the outlook for higher education IT in the next year. I have great respect for Lev among higher ed CIOs for his perspective and expertise on emerging technology and higher education, and some of his well-connected insights.

Among his list of trend predictions for higher ed IT in 2010 of interest to this blog are the pieces on both gaming and open content. However, most who follow this blog will probably appreciate the following trend prediction most:

(5) The E-Book Reader Grows up and Goes to Campus. 2009 marked the birth of the e-book reader in the university marketplace. The first set of entrants put the already nervous higher education (text)book market on notice. New business models, publishing models, revenue sharing strategies, and new models around intellectual property and the assigned ‘text’ for a course proliferated and served to dislodge the staid legacy economy for many universities. If buying second hand books online was not enough, the new e-book readers were perceived by some to disintermediate traditional providers of services and economic benefit in the college supply chain. In 2010 a whole new generation of e-book readers will emerge as the life cycle of innovation really takes off for this class of mobile smart pads. Dedicated, single purpose readers will be eclipsed this year by new, integrated platforms supporting new functionality, Web services, rich media, open application development environments, and a wide range of new experimental interface approaches. Publishers, bookstores, technology, and entertainment giants will all clamor to the market, marking a significant if not final shift from the traditional bound book toward fully repurposable content for learning, including traditional texts.

This is not the first quarter from which we have heard a similar prediction regarding e-readers and course materials. I would not expect a complete change in this space in 2010, but as Lev suggests, there are some powerful shifts at work here as we rapidly move from one generation, to the next, to be followed by yet another --all within a very compressed timeline. The potential for e-readers and e-textbooks in higher education has not missed the attention of college CIOs, publishers, new entrants, device manufacturers, or a myriad of other players (both new and established).

2010 could very well be the start of a new decade in more ways than one.

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