HigherEdTech, the edtech summit embedded in CES, kicked off this week with an incredible set of speakers and discussions.
This is a conference that is top on my list to attend (impossible this year do to a local commitment), and I'm interested to hear the news and insights that come out of these discussions.
One reason that I want to go to HigherEdTech is that it is embedded in the larger CES conference. Expectations for technology enabled education experiences will be level set by the interactions that our faculty and students have with consumer technologies. Consumer technologies can open up our eyes to new possibilities in education technology.
CES presenters and attendees may not be as excited about the education sector as we would wish, but we still need to pay attention to what happens each year in Vegas.
Can the consumer technologies and platforms on display at CES make the leap to our world of education?
Is it possible to see the absence of Apple or Microsoft or Amazon or Google from CES be transformed into a positive for edtech - in that we can pay attention to companies and products that we normally would not take the time to consider?
Is anyone chatting up the technology executives at CES about higher education?
I have my eyes open for edtech intelligence from CES on 3 trends:
1. Non-Keyboard Authoring Tools: We all have been excited about the potential for mobile learning for a bunch of years. So far, mobile learning is more potential than reality. The limitation of mobile is not screen size, as a 5 inch screen works great. The rate limiting step for mobile learning is authoring. We need our laptops for mobile learning because we need our keyboards. The MacBook Air is the best mobile learning platform that I've found. I have high hopes for the potential of the Chromebook. Some people like the tablet form factor with an external case/keyboard - but I've always thought that hooking up a bluetooth keyboard to an iPad results in a poor experience. Maybe the solution for bringing the laptop learning experience, with authoring, to the mobile form factor is really powerful voice-to-text. A system that makes it easy to write, edit, change, and revise by voice. Voice-to-text as smart as Siri.
2. Bandwidth and Network Connectivity: Online education depends on an internet connection. Robust, universal, affordable, and resilient bandwidth is amongst the most important enablers of opening up new opportunities for online learning. Those living in big cities may be blind to just how dicey a reliable and fast web connection is to much of the country. Past CES conferences have highlighted advanced in bandwidth, from WiMax to new WiFi standards. So far I have not heard much from CES about advances connectivity. Do you have any bandwidth innovations to report?
3. Digital Collaboration and Conferencing Tools: Web conferencing is a hot sector. The growth of smart phones and tablets has re-energized this sector, opening up new possibilities beyond the browser. A major area that we need to improve our online courses is in the area of synchronous learning. Digital conferencing learning tools may start in the consumer and corporate sector, but they will filter out to education.
What edtech nuggets are on your radar from CES?