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EDUCAUSE EdTech: 5 Observations
October 20, 2011 - 10:24pm

EDUCAUSE manages to cram in many different meeting experiences during a single conference. We go to EDUCAUSE to learn best practices from our peers, get inspired by thought leaders, discuss the latest trends in technology and learning - and oh yes - absorb the new products and roadmaps of our existing and potential ed tech vendor partners.

I wish we had some efficient way in which we could all share what we learn at EDUCAUSE. I imagine that most of us go back to our home institutions and report back our findings - which is a good thing to do - but does not let the rest of us know what captured your attention.  Please feel encouraged to use this space to share your EDUCAUSE observations.

I'll get us started.  And since EDUCAUSE is so many conference experiences rolled up into one, I'll focus on the edtech and vendor space:

1. Instructure Canvas Is For Real: Canvas is very new, the team is very young, and the competition is very experienced. Despite these obstacles, I have come away from EDUCAUSE believing that the Canvas LMS must be evaluated against Blackboard, D2L, and Moodle when it comes time to choose your enterprise LMS. The Canvas team did a good job at EDUCAUSE, striking a nice balance between showing their platform, talking about the product roadmap, and highlighting new customers (such as Brown and Maricopa). 

2. Adobe Is (Hopefully) Re-Engaging The Conversation:  Many of us believe that Adobe has some great potential to make more of an impact in higher ed, beyond the Creative Suite set of products. Adobe Connect is today, I believe, the premium platform for synchronous web teaching.  However, Adobe needs to make some serious effort to invest in Connect if the platform is going to avoid being overtaken by Microsoft (Skype / Lync) and Blackboard (Collaborate), Google Hangouts, Citrix GoToMeeting, or other players. From spending time with the Adobe Education Team at EDUCAUSE, I think that Adobe is looking to re-engage with academic learning technology leaders on product and services roadmap. I encourage you to reach out to the Adobe Education Team.

3. The StartUp Alley Star: StartUp Alley in the Exhibitor Hall was very cool. The product that stood out for me is Nuvixa SatePresence, a rapid authoring voice/video authoring and presentation tool that takes advantage of the XBox Kinect camera to create really cool learning objects.  You have to check it out at

4. Pricing Is Still Too Opaque: My biggest frustration with ed tech vendors is that they still largely refuse to follow TechSmith's lead, and make their pricing transparent. The ed tech vendor that is brave enough not to cut sweetheart deals with a few customers, and publish prices for all of us to see, will gain enormous credibility points with our whole community.

5. Look For Google to Go Beyond Apps for Education: There is a potential, if only just a potential, that Google will decide to initiate a conversation about where they can partner with the higher ed community on teaching and learning platforms beyond Apps for Education.  I'm very curious about your interactions with Google at EDUCAUSE, and if you see a potential for a different sort of dialogue around new models to create, deliver, and measure learning.

How are you synthesizing and sharing your EDUCAUSE thoughts?  

What are your big EDUCAUSE 2011 take-aways?


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