Feb 21, 2007

Top 10 innovative educational technology services

While developing own our app, we've come across dozens of other services that sit at the intersection of education and advanced Internet technologies.

Here is a list of the most interesting ones out there, based on those that I think are advancing, or attempting to advance, the use of technology and the Internet in particular in the evolution of next-generation learning models. And, while my partner Jonathan Edson and I clearly think that Carmun is among the most interesting of these, in that it provides a suite of tools and applications for conducting research, as well as community layered on top of it for collaboration, kind of an application layer for other services, I did not list it here.

Plus this is not necessarily in order if importance, it's just a simple list. So here goes:

10. Librivox: free public domain audio books, innovative not just for distribution of non-textual material but because the volunteer nature of the service is the definition of doing something for the good of the community.

9. Curriki: while I am generally skeptical about grandiose business/idea claims without seeing the tactical implementation of those schemes, the idea of open and shared curricula is consistent with the most innovative online ventures, so this one is too big to ignore, at least for now.

8. Zotero: relatively new, but great integration with Firefox and some of the cleanest automatic citation capture available. As a project living out of George Mason University, it will be interesting to see how this grows and evolves.

7. Anystream: their "Apreso" product line allows for the capture of university-specific rich media content, and then making that content digital. A complicated task, but their vision of taking what's analog and providing for its delivery and manipulation in digital form is an interesting and large one.

6. Connotea: reference management and bookmarking tools, sets the standard for meta-data on top on research with a heavy scientific bent.

5. WorldCat: the library of libraries, the most comprehensive source catalog in the world, maybe? While I do wish for an open API that I could use for things like search and their tool set (such as ISBNdb), there is interesting stuff sneaking out of their labs such as FictionFinder, Identities, and Lorcan Dempsey's blog, suggesting that there is way more to this than a large database and, indeed, the fruits of real data analysis, manipulation and collaboration may not be far behind.

4. Google Scholar: amazingly rich database of scholarly materials, with a unique ranking/relevancy system. Returns in-books results from Google Book Search, very interesting on that front, but in any event deep, great UI and easy to use. We're seeing alot of citations being bookmarked from this over the past few weeks.

3. Stanford Wiki: while I believe that most educational and academic collaboration change has to come from the outside in ("To educate such students, we don't so much need a faculty as we need an intellectual network," Henry Jenkins), this is a great example of how to do it the other way, form inside the ivory towers but using students as the change agents. Very exciting. See also PennTags.

2. Facebook, for demonstrating how to create a rich community by, for and among students.

1. Internet Archive: a digital library of web sites and other "cultural artifacts," a wonderful amazing ongoing project, is there any doubt that the importance of this increases exponentially over time?


rajamaheswarg said...
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Bobbi Kurshan said...
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Bobbi Kurshan said...

Just a heads up to folks about what's happening over at Curriki. The site has been adding content and updating tools so that members can develop, publish, and access open source curricula. The new Curriki.org includes something called the Currikulum Builder - it's an editing tool that allows members to develop curriculum materials through a collaborative, wiki-based platform. Here's an interesting lesson that one educator created using the Currikulum Builder:


There's lots of great stuff and the more the community uses it, the
better it will be. If you haven't already, check it out.