NYC tech takes on the classroom | Crain’s New York Business

New boost for interactive content:

Partly spurred by its concentration of intellectual talent, New York is also becoming a hotbed of innovation in educational technology. Venture capital investment in education-related startups in the metro area totaled $95 million in 2011—an 84% spike over the prior year, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers/National Venture Capital Association. The number of startups receiving investment money rose to 14, up from eight in 2010.In the long run, newfangled interactive textbooks like the ones Apple and its publishing partners previewed last Thursday are likely to be a minor aspect of education’s digital revolution. But Apple’s entry is certainly helping the revolution along.

All doesn’t seem to be well, however:

In the fourth quarter, VC financing in the New York area plunged 40%, compared with the prior quarter, to $545.1 million.

But experts say the tech-education industry is just getting started. The U.S. business for e-learning products and services in the pre-K to 12-and-higher education markets will grow to $11 billion in 2015, from $7.6 billion in 2011, according to research firm Ambient Insight.

(Via NYC tech takes on the classroom | Crain’s New York Business)

Hat Tip: Samudra Sen

Free Content’s Responsibility

The tag line reads, “education can be…affordable”.

Using a collaborative and web-based compilation model that can manifest open resource content as an adaptive textbook, termed the “FlexBook”, CK-12 intends to pioneer the generation and distribution of high quality, locally and temporally relevant, educational web texts.

Enter flexbooks from cK-12.org. Enter, potentially, the ultimate in prosumer content creation for education. And it is licensed under Creative Commons, which gives it the edge; most academics support free content.

A few articles on the site talk of how various states across the United States are adopting online resources — the advantages are many: affordability, children do not have to carry heavy textbooks, dependency on publishers, content currency, choice of providers, and not in the least, a green classroom.

Content is still King, however, the King is now more accessible to its subjects. There is just that added responsibility that the King has — educate the users how best to make good use of this content. And while the obvious benefits of online (and free) content are many, the advantage of free content for teaching and learning needs to be harnessed well.

Traditional content came with traditional ideas on how to employ content for teaching and learning. It may not work very well, if the content is online, structured very differently from the standard-print, and the users employ online content for teaching and learning in the same way as standard-print. Users need to have resources to help them understand how best they can use online content to ensure teaching and learning. New method has to meet new medium.

PS: Twenty minutes since this post was published, I stumble upon the “Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning” by Peter Tittenberger and George Siemens. Talk of instant gratification!