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Google, Motorola, and Education
August 15, 2011 - 9:15pm

So Google is going to spend $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola Mobility. If you read Larry Page's post, one of the reasons that Google chose Motorola is that they have a longstanding commitment to Android:

"In 2008, Motorola bet big on Android as the sole operating system across all of its smartphone devices... Motorola’s total commitment to Android in mobile devices is one of many reasons that there is a natural fit between our two companies."

Google, if you are going to spend $12.5 billion to become a serious player in the mobile device market, and therefore compete with Apple (and perhaps Microsoft/Nokia) - please at least recognize the opportunity in education.

Education has been mostly an afterthought in mobile OS and handset design. Mobile learning is hampered by software and devices that are not purposely designed for education.

5 Education Steps for Google / Motorola:

1. Create a Dedicated Team: Form a dedicated team to develop a mobile device for education. This dedicated team should have strong relationships with the Android OS and Motorola handset team, but should be autonomous and independent. The team can be small, as few as 10 people, but they should all be people who are convinced that the next revolution in learning will take place on the mobile device.

2. Set Big Goals: Give the dedicated team a big goal, a tight timeline, and access to adequate resources. The big goal should be to commit to utilize the smart phone to disrupt education, to diffuse education to people currently shut-out of the learning economy, and to improve the quality of learning for current students.

3. Decide on Priorities: Should the first priority be a more expensive mobile device and tweaked OS aimed at students in the rich world? What would a learning management system, or teaching content creation tool, or shared classroom space look like if it was designed from the ground-up for the mobile form factor? Or should the priority be using the mobile platform to leapfrog traditional campus based educational delivery models, giving the people of emerging economies a tool that can be used to rapidly diffuse education?

4. Focus on a Sustainable Revenue Model: Can Google leverage its online keyword advertising business to fund mobile based education? Will tying the world's learners into the Google ecosystem (from search to Android) offer a large enough payoff to justify the investment? Is mindshare of students and teachers a valuable commodity?

5. Partner with the Educational Community: Charge the dedicated team to work closely with the educational communities that the product is designed to eventually serve. Be transparent in the development process. Run lots of experiments. Learn and adapt quickly.

Is this Motorola Mobile acquisition an opportunity for a new conversation with Google?

 

 

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