We are in a high point of investment and interest in the application of technology to innovate education, and a lot of attention has been paid to the new class of learning platforms that have social tools at the center of the platform design – think Instructure, Coursekit, OpenClass, etc. I have written about several new solutions and how they could disrupt our traditional LMS markets. However, the discussions about the potential of different learning platforms too often ignore some key differences in the models of education that are the targets for educational technology. One result is that some systems are often dismissed out of hand for not having any real social or collaboration tools – think the new iTunesU app or Khan Academy.

There is a big divide, in my opinion, between the application of technology to support and improve traditional models of education and the application of technology to create or enable new models of education. Whether social and collaboration features are critical depends on the educational model, not on the technology available.


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