Open-source knowledge.

The other day I listened to CBC Radio One show “Re-civilization” with episode curiously titled ‘Open-source knowledge’. Their feature guest, among others was John Seely Brown, a very famous scholar, and while listening I found it almost as if hearing myself. Take a moment and listened to the first 15 minutes of the podcast (HERE), I’m sure you’ll share my excitement.

John talked about ‘entrepreneurial learner’ as a concept that will disrupt the whole educational space by putting the learner at the center, thereby driving the personalization as a game changer in education. He, too, thinks that content should be free and not coming from prescribed places, that “classroom is just a transmission media” and that content instead should be ‘creatively picked up on the fly’ while collaborating with fellow learners.

The show then continues with MIT Open CourseWare which, too, is claiming that open-source knowledge should be free, and now offers their MIT course for free (see HERE).

I continue to find it very interesting how we are at the stage where most people agree that the barriers of traditional classroom should be changed, if not broken, and to believe that the driving force behind this change is going to be the very learner, the students of all ages. They have nothing to lose, while all other constituents of education (publishers, platforms, schools, etc.) do. That is exactly why they call that approach DISRUPTIVE, because it works against their current deep-ingrained notion of how the things should be done.

Even on the venture capital side, I am starting to see a recognition of this dissatisfaction with defending the status-quo while shouting over each other.  In his blog HERE, Rob Go says- “… the biggest challenge for companies targeting K12 is excessive friction in winning customer …”  and that “…  investors get excited about opportunities that bypass traditional sales channels in favor of a more direct-to-consumer approach  …” . In saying this, Rob actually points at the end user, the student, who should be the only vote we should be fighting for.

What most companies have not figured out yet is how to monetize on those ideas and how this “build it, and they will come” solution will attract investors, given its hugely disruptive approach.

Here, at Knowillage, we believe that we have a very good idea how to do that. Like I said earlier, much more than just an idea.

We are building a publicly accessible web site where you will be able to see some of those ideas in practice. Subscribe to our blog, this is where we’ll make an early announcement.

Bill.

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we are in the news …

It is humbling to see that our innovative ideas are already sparking some attention. In his blog, Tom van der Ark shares his views on ‘educational intelligence’ and believes that “… with the right education partners…” Knowillage could be in the forefront of this trend. Read more in his blog HERE .

Aside from obviously appreciating the recognition, it is interesting to see how Learning Analytics (‘educational intelligence’ as Tom calls it) is gaining more and more momentum. We hope to present some of our work at the next Learning Analytics conference here in Vancouver in May 2012.

But, if I may, Knowillage wants to go far beyond much needed Customer (read: learner) relationship management and understanding learner’s behavior and cater the education more appropriately. We see the opportunity of Google-level proportions where the boundaries of a customer (again read: learner/student), should be identical to those of an internet user. We don’t learn in the classrom only, using publisher approved materials. We learn all day using the *whole* internet. Shouldn’t that call for CRM / educational intelligince that goes beyond the boundaries of online education delivered through LMS?

The big question is – how to do it?

Here, at Knowillage,  we think we have an idea. A very good idea. Well.. more than an idea.

What do you think?

PS. Thanks, Tom. This means a lot to us.

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Content is the King (no more).

Just read the latest e-Literate blog at http://mfeldstein.com/four-key-questions-for-the-apple-education-announcement/.

The blog speculates about Apple’s planned media event where they will make an educational announcement. But, pls read it, I’d like to offer you some of my thoughts:

I actually believe that Content is the King, but it will absolutely no longer be crowned by large publishers, who still live in Guttenberg’s time (over 80% of their revenues are still coming from printed materials and books).

Is it going to be Apple (again) who will make this happen, or it will be some new innovative company who will find a way of finding and offering *every* content to the students, not only the once sacred wise men and women from publishing companies?

It doesn’t matter how is online content sold (iTunesU, Pearson.com, etc.). What matters is that one day, soon enough, we’ll ask ourselves – who is to say that the subject matter expert (chosen by publishers through the selection process they drive exclusively) is actually *the* one that is the best, or most suitable for our individual learning styles, formats, objectives? Shouldn’t it be the students who, by way of selection/voting (like for everything else in online world – music, politics) actually chose those authors that are producing best results for their own individual needs and circustmances.

Don’t you think that this sound like an opportunity for many, many talented content authors who can’t break these corporate barriers? Doesn’t this sound that these authors will offer their content free-of-charge, in order to break those barriers, and look for their financial rewards through other channels (recognition, engagements, advertising, etc.)?

And that is where the revolution is coming – content will soon enough become free, or next to free.

And where is this going to leave those ignorant publishing companies? What if learners worldwide vote them out?

Like Steve Jobs was quoted saying in this blog – “… This $8 billion a year industry is ripe for digital destruction … “.

What do you think?

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Jerry Seinfeld explained the success of Facebook in 1992?!

Take a look at this – Seinfeld and his voice machine

In my opinion, Seinfeld merely (and so eloquently) expressed our common daily frustrations, and it is a quite a leap to conclude that he recognized those frustrations as leading to Facebook.

Isn’t it the other way around – in this day and age of so-called technology-enabled *social* networking, we are increasingly becoming ANTI-social, with telephone machine just being the early sign of those times coming. Aren’t we, under the pretense of our own convenience, just avoiding to talk to people and instead doing it only when we chose to, or when we had enough time to carefully craft and chose what/how to say it (well, most of the time, anyways), without having to exercise our body language, let alone its appearance.

Well… enough on that. My point was actually about what is that social(!?) trend going to mean to education and the classroom as its most recognizable and chief denomination? Isn’t the ‘social networking’ technology going to destroy that last bastion of our TRUE socializing? Is that ethical? And what is the name of the company which will do that?

And… is someone, 10 years from today, going to publish the same blog post and give us the credit for explaining the success of Knowillage?! Get it?

What do you think?

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MIT launches online learning initiative

See this article – ‘MITx’ will offer courses online and make online learning tools freely available

I read it over the weekend and liked the idea. There seem to be a recognition (and almost a race) in the market to offer free content. And, of course, there’s a good reason for doing so. Those who come will get a share (or at least an offer) of things other than they bargained for.

However, in my opinion, this reflects more on my point of ‘anyone can teach’ (free course content) as *by-product* of my proposal, rather than its core intention. One of the DISRUPTIVE premises of my idea is that it dismisses traditional publishers’ mindset where they charge for use of their content and instead it allows the discovery and the use of *any* content which results in positive feedback on the use of that content (good results on the test). It is only logical to conclude that learners will tend to use free content, or at least substantially more than they did before. I honestly foresee a demise of traditional publishing, if they don’t capture their customer base through other offerings (targeted advertising, supplemental premium content, learner direct, etc.).  Doesn’t the rhetoric “there’s nothing like a real book” sound like “there’s no music like a vynil record”, it just takes time to get there.

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Welcome to Knowillage!

Welcome to Knowillage, company founded by HyperCube Technologies Corp. and a group of e-learning experts and engineers from WebCT, Blackboard and Pearson Education.

Knowillage is currently developing a new application/service, protected by US-patent, and will soon start looking for partners to work jointly on further research, as well as running field tests, prior to rolling the product out in the Summer 2012.

Please visit our site at http://www.knowillage.com and subscribe to our newsletter, so that you stay up to date on the results of our reserach and development.

Thank you for your interest!

Knowillage Inc. – January 2012.

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