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The Missing Edu App
May 24, 2012 - 9:00pm

Imagine for a moment that you are the Educator Queen (or King) of the World. You have the power to make a Royal Decree about the education app that will be created next. Everything you survey is yours, and your will we be done. What are your orders?

Upon coronation, my request to the Royal Developers would be for:

  • An app that aggregates all course content, including text (articles and chapters), videos, lecture recordings, discussion/blog posts, announcements, and the most up-to-date posts and file upload in the learning management system (LMS).
  • An app that behaves like the NYTimes app in that I can read content while offline, but that syncs automatically and updates files whenever connected.
  • An app that updates content across platforms but is viewable on any screen, such as the Kindle suite of apps.
  • An app that integrates and consolidates all the content from the various disparate platforms that we use now: from the LMS, to lecture/presentation capture, to digital courspacks, to course media.

The ecosystem for e-learning platforms is fragmented.  What we want is a learning solution, what we get is the need to piece together lots of platforms. Small pieces loosely joined is a beautiful idea, but in practice our students end up doing the stitching.  

Maybe tech savvy learners don't mind the need to go to one app for LMS content, another app for coursepack materials, and a 3rd app to view presentations.  Perhaps the modern student is always within range of a wifi signal or a cell tower, and never needs to consume class materials while offline. And maybe this same student does not expect her education apps to be as easy to use and powerful as her mobile games, news and communication apps. So maybe we have nothing to worry about, and a disconnected and fragmented mobile edu ecosystem is just fine.

What would need to happen for this sort of app to be created?

What companies and startups would need to merge, be purchased, or license their platforms for this app to appear?

What are the roadblocks to making an integrated edu app a reality?

What company in existence today is most likely to make this dream reality?

What edu app would you have your Royal Developers create?


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