Sustainability is defined as the capacity to endure over time. Origins for the word “sustain” comes from the Latin sustenere – meaning to “hold up, support, or endure”. My presentation will focus on the selection and adoption of learning technologies and how likely they are to hold up over time. (Atlas)
Resources are limited whether in regard to physical space, time, human and financial resources. Regardless of whether we are talking about the environment or technology for teaching and learning, we need to consider the consumption and conservation of these finite resources.
Every day new technologies are being developed and marketed to educators at an ever-increasing rate. As exciting as many of these innovations can be, we cannot possibly adopt and support them all. Quite frankly the number of choices can be overwhelming.
So which emerging technologies should we invest in? How do we know which technologies will still be around in another year or two, or three? Read the latest journals and blogs, look at what other institutions are doing, ask our most trusted vendors?
This morning I am going to offer for your consideration a framework that looks at five characteristics of learning technologies which I hope will prove useful in evaluating the degree of sustainability – that is, how well en emerging technology will hold up.
The first thing we need to recognize is that adoption of emerging technology is being driven by flexibility - flexibility in regards to time and place. Online enrollments are displacing traditional face-to-face enrollments - not only for distance learning, but on-campus as well.
Sometimes sustainability is a matter of balancing time and place, Blended learning is more flexible in terms of time - by reducing seat time and shifting at least some of the interactions to asynchronous online delivery. In this respect, blended learning is more sustainable than traditional face-to-face.
Web-conferencing is an example of a technology that provides more flexibility in regards to place, although the synchronous nature of web-conferencing requires scheduling of a specific class time, it is more sustainable than having to meet at a designated location.
Technologies that are standards-based, provide for greater interoperability with other solutions, including browsers, operating systems and file formats, making them more sustainable than proprietary solutions. Interoperability offers learners greater access to less restrictive learning environments.
Not long ago proprietary technology was the rule: serial ports, parallel ports, and zip drives, etc. worked only on specific technology. Along came the USB port - a standard solution for managing storage, connecting to a monitor, printer, video camera, and backing-up either my PC or Macbook.
To what degree does a given technology support opportunities for learning interactions - student to student, student to instructor, and student to content. Being able to view and to carry around the content is one thing, but does the technology allow you to edit, publish, and share it with others?
When we share media under open licensing options, such as creative commons, we may make our creative works available to be recycled and repurposed. My images can become videos, music, photos, data, research, animation and adopted across the academy.
We are seeing more and more technology offered as a web-service. Cloud-based solutions are more accessible when we log into them from anywhere and at anytime using a variety of appliances. Oftentimes they allow for others to collaborate from other places and times using various platforms.
Example of cloud-based computing – where we have not just places to store our artifacts, but to adopt applications that allow us to interact with, modify, and share content: Google Docs, Skype, Flickr, Youtube, WordPress, Slideshare, and others.
The costs of delivering technology can greatly impact it sustainability but it is equally important to consider consumer trends. Take for example the publishing industry - how has digital media and the ability to distribute via the Internet impacted the sale and distribution of music, video, art, books?
The digital or e-Textbook will likely replace the traditional hardbound print text. Not only is it more portable and less expensive, but annotations, navigation, and rich media can be easily and readily integrated. E-textbooks can be shared in whole or in part – or mashed up to create custom solutions.
The iPad 2 and Xoom tablets with their user-facing cameras and thousands of apps allow learners and instructors to connect synchronously and asynchronously. The 3g and Wi-Fi networks mean the portable lightweight appliances can be used to connect from anywhere and at anytime.
The mobility of handheld devices, open standards, consumers ability to create and share apps – especially those that allow us to interact with our environment virtually at anytime from anywhere will change the way we learn going forward.
The degree to which all of these things come together: Flexibility in regards to time and place, Standards-based, Cloud-based, Open Licensed, Accessibility, and Connectedness, all help provide insight into a given learning technology’s sustainability. That and the degree to which a given sustainable solution actually converges with other sustainable solutions.
All images Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA<br />The World Rests on Your Shoulders by Dr. RawheaD<br />San Francisco Bart Station - Recycle by envisionGood<br />Too many Chips!!/choices by t.shirbert<br />Will I ever be a good Photographer? by f2g2<br />Envisioning the Near Future of Technology by Michell Zappa<br />Ekapadakapotasana variation by Kelly Loves Whales<br />Scale by fortinbras<br />Skype Brothers by Andrew Scott<br />Standard Sign by NedraI<br />Macbook Air and SandiskCruzer by NoWin<br />Twitter on the Rocks… by Espacio CAMON<br />Open by mag3737<br />Cloud_Queen by lennysan<br />Layers by Incase.<br />Legacy by Bill Knapp<br />Finals by Jason B.<br />What’s the Story ebook on iPad… by shiftstigma<br />Augmented reality game… by nilsmengedoht<br />San Francisco – Golden Gate Bridge by Olivander<br />