How do you know when you’ve reached a Tipping Point? #AprilBlogaDay

From Hot Lunch Tray

Yesterday I sat in on an eBook demonstration. The eBook had it’s own light Learning Management System, an eBook.

The salesperson was surprised when I asked if the content was available in pieces, outside the management system.  I guess because he was surprised I want content outside a LMS. I mean for an eBook they built a pretty nice light LMS around it.

*Sigh,* but we already pay for a LMS, and we still want your content. Get used to saying that as a school system because if I understand my dog right, even he is offering me a LMS in the near future.

RIght now in education the tipping point has occurred in Learning Management Systems. Vendors bundled services or goods in a LMS we now need to unbundle. I suspect the capacity of their developers, or a new technology recently available has made this possible. However, teachers (should) only use one LMS at a time and vendors still sell a great variety of subscription to the school districts. The fact that many vendors now offer LMS-like features tells me that something has happened in the industry to make wrapping a LMS around your product appealing and/or easy.

We first witnessed this back in 2012-13 when Renzulli was bought out by Compass Learning who had their own LMS, Odyssey. We want their profiler (ironically to integrate into our LMS), but they only made it available in their LMS. THanks guys. We still pay a subscription fee to use the Renzulli profiler. The best we were able to do for our teachers was have a single sign on (SSO). But you can predict what will happen to usage as more services become available within our LMS, we predict usage will drop.

Or will it?

We recently completed an integration with Edgenuity where they allow our teachers to pick apart their content to add to their course in the LMS. A teacher can add just the lectures, practice, or whatever is available for that lesson to the course she is developing the LMS. We predict usage will increase.

Or will it?

Google spoke to us earlier in the week about opening up their API for Google Classroom. We heard about how they view Classroom as ‘the glue which holds together their suite of tools.’ I was sceptical intially. Why do we need into Google Classroom, we already have a LMS. While it is true we have integrations with many of our district subscriptions is it also true that all teachers want those subscriptions? And how many resources did we put behind attaining those integrations? Integrations which are not wanted are not valuable. And isn’t that the opposite of what we want teachers to do – – – to pick the tool before the task?

We know that edtech vendors have reached a Tipping Point, everyone can and often is adding an LMS to their product. We can pick the LMS add-on we like best and then pay the rest of the vendors to unbundle their content, maybe pay for an integration too while we are at it.

When will we as educators reach that tipping point? When will we make the choice not to spent a lot of district money on proprietary contracts, subscriptions, and products? Do we need to wait for a new generation of thinkers in K12? Could we do it now, or soon? Can you see a time where educators are adding-on to the digital solution your district is offering because of the ease of adding each teacher’s content with such ease that every teacher can accomplish this on his/her own?

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