I started blogging in 2000. Since that time, I’ve tracked significant trends in education, technology, and society. I’ve focused heavily on openness and on change in teaching/training/learning. Innovation comes from random idea collision, which raises the need for diversity of ideas and concepts. I’ve tried to balance my involvement in formal education and corporate learning and training. This focus has resulted in large open online courses (with Dave Cormier, Stephen Downes, Rita Kop) and the LearnTrends conferences (with Jay Cross and Tony Karrer). Change is rarely easy. If one is advocating for change and innovation, one needs to select levers that hold the promise of impact. From what I’ve seen in corporate learning and K-12 and higher education, innovation within the system is not producing the impact it should. Yes, there are pockets of innovation, but existing organizational structures are generally too inhibiting to permit broad scaling. Change must come from the outside.
During one of our last sessions in the open course Personal Learning Environments and Networks, I stated that my focus was increasingly turning to entrepreneurship as the primary lever for change. The comment wasn’t well received. Education has an uneasy relationship with businesses. I tried, unsuccessfully, to communicate that I viewed entrepreneurs as risk takers who take ownership of an idea or concept and strive to produce systemic impact. Certainly there is a financial component to the process, but I’m more interested in people generating and testing out new ideas. With full recognition that entrepreneurial activity and education do not share the same ideals and values, I find the need for innovation in education to outweigh this conflict. And I don’t see suitable or viable models for new idea generation and broad implementation outside of entrepreneurship.
As a result, we’ve decided (a few kindred souls and I) to kick off a website that tracks innovation in education through startups and entrepreneurship. More on that site next week. For now, I’m looking to connect with people that may want to be involved in writing about and tracking trends and startups in the learning technology field (corporate, K-12, higher education). I imagine it will (could) be somewhat of a blend between slashdot and techcrunch. Ideally, we’d have broad representation from around the world so we don’t get locked into tracking only startups and innovations that are occurring within a particular region or country. If you’re interested in contributing, feel free to join this Google Group.